MARCH 15, 2016

In 2003, in what has been dubbed the Summer of Legalization, cannabis activist, Marc Emery set out across Canada to openly smoke marijuana in front of police stations in 18 cities. 

The tour brought Emery to Windsor, where he challenged the police to arrest him as he toked up in support of ending the prohibition of pot. While in the city, Emery stopped into a local shop that had just opened its doors on Ouellette Avenue. 

Thirteen years later that shop has become a staple in the city with its instantly recognizable brand and favourable reputation amongst the counterculture. 

With recent changes however to medicinal marijuana legislation, partaking in cannabis use has started to lose some of its stigma and become a part of the daily conversation. It’s with these changes that Pete’s Pipe Shop opened a second location in December of last year and has two new locations set to open this March. 

The owner of the shop, known in the community simply as ‘Pete,’ sees opening his new locations as a way to expand his selection, while helping to further support and revitalize Windsor and the surrounding communities. 

“We have customers that have had pieces for as long as the first store has been open,” said Pete. 

Pete’s Pipes by the U will be taking over the space previously occupied by the Bookroom on Wyandotte Street West. The owner hopes the location will be accessible to his customers that aren’t able to make the trek downtown, but still want access to his selection. Many of the products he features are locally blown or sourced from across the country. 

The local franchise will also be venturing out of the city in order to tap into the growing cannabis market in Leamington, with a new location serving as their first in the county. 

“This area is one of the most receptive markets in southwestern Ontario. The climate right now is right and we want to be at the top end of the market for what our community deserves,” said Pete. 

In addition to the new locations for Pete’s Pipe Shop, Windsor has recently seen some entrepreneurs enter the market with a medical vapour lounge, located in Windsor’s downtown. 

Higher Limits is the city’s first medical marijuana lounge, offering users a safe place to hang out and enjoy cannabis without discrimination. 

Co-owner, Jon Liedtke, is looking to be a part of bringing cannabis to the forefront of the conversation. 

“There’s a constantly growing number of medical cannabis patients in Windsor and Essex County – we exist to serve their needs,” said Liedtke. “And with the Trudeau Government making clear cannabis will be legalized, we made a conscious decision to open up at Ouellette and University to help move the discourse surrounding cannabis forward, elevate the conversation, and dispel preexisting stereotypes, stigmas and negative impressions.” 

Entertainment for the lounge includes pool tables, comedy and music nights, video game terminals and board game rentals. 

Time will tell what further opportunities lie ahead for those interested in the medical marijuana market, but Windsor certainly has a jump on what’s to come. 

March 15, 2016


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