A business claiming to be Canada’s largest vaping lounge quietly opened in Windsor last week.
Higher Limits, co-owned by Jon Liedtke, Alex Newman, and a third owner who requested to remain anonymous, is a place where medical cannabis patients can convene and vape.
The lounge is located in a 6,000 square foot building that was formerly the Venue Music Hall. The owners are marketing it as Windsor’s first lounge and the largest of its kind in the country.
Liedtke says that since opening last week, Higher Limits has average more than 100 visitors a day. “It was just about finding the right time and place,” he said in an interview with the The National Post.
No cannabis is dispensed or exchanged in any way at the lounge. There’s also no drugs or alcohol of any kind other than cannabis, and you need to be of at least 18 years of age to enter the lounge. They do sell cannabis paraphernalia and literature.
Liedtke says that Higher Limits is about more than just providing a place for patients to vape. It’s also about creating a safe space for users.
“We have medical users who are being discriminated against, who have stigmas lingering over them,” he said. “It’s not necessary. Quite frankly, it’s inappropriate in the year 2016 … It’s easy to joke about cannabis. But would you joke about someone who needs to use insulin?”
Legally, the lounge exists in a bit of a gray area. Although the assumption is that only medical users can use the facilities, Higher Limits isn’t allowed to ask for proof of a medical cannabis license.
“We’re in as much compliance as we can be,” Liedtke said.
“We tell people: it’s use-at-your-own-risk. Consuming cannabis in here is no different than consuming it on the street, in a park, or in your own home. If the police want to come in, the doors are open. We’re in no position to stop them.”
Police spokesman Const. Andrew Drouillard said that the force “[respects] the rights of individuals who are legally permitted to consume marijuana for medical purposes. At this point, we’re handling [Higher Limits] on a complaint basis.”
“If we receive information or complaints from the community, they will be investigated accordingly. If charges are warranted, they will be laid.”