Weed cafe provides the equipment — just BYOC
Social club provides space to smoke cannabis
November 24, 2014, 8:07 PM AST
Last updated November 24, 2014, 8:07 PM AST
On Spring Garden Road, above Mary’s Café II and the Brass Anchor Tattoo Lounge, you will find the High Life Social Club.
Hidden behind a frosted glass door, the High Life boasts several black sectional sofas, bright orange chairs and a fully operational café. One thing that sets the High Life apart from the other cafés in Halifax are the centerpieces on most of the tables: volcano vaporizers.
These vaporizers are used as a healthier alternative for smoking cannabis – something permitted at the High Life Social Club.
“It’s a good resource for people looking for a discreet and safe and classy location that they can enjoy some coffee and cannabis, and not worry about offending other people,” says Chris Henderson, the owner of the High Life.
The High Life has a selection of vaporizers, water pipes and bongs that members can use to ingest their cannabis.
At 12 p.m. on a Monday afternoon the High Life isn’t very busy with only Henderson and a couple of waitresses in the lounge. Henderson says when they first opened he saw a lot of university students coming into the space. Now, with a little advertising, he says he has reached a slightly older demographic. Henderson estimates his clientele falls mostly in the 20 to 35 age range.
To get into the High Life, you don’t need to worry about having a medicinal marijuana permit. Henderson asks only for a government ID that states you are at least 18 years of age.
“I’m not interested in discriminating against people who don’t have an authorization or prescription,” Henderson says.
Halifax Regional Police Constable Pierre Bourdages says the High Life isn’t the first lounge like this to exist in Halifax.
Police raided the Farm Assists lounge on Gottingen Street in September. Cst. Bourdages says it “was actually taken down after there was evidence that on top of simply allowing people to use there was also evidence of trafficking.”
Speaking of the High Life, Cst. Bourdages says he is “not aware of any complaints against this specific site at this time.”
Henderson says staff and members are not permitted to sell or ask for cannabis at the High Life.
“Get your cannabis where you get your cannabis,” he says. “If you get it legally from your licensed provider or wherever. Just go to your own neighbourhood and get your stuff and you can bring it here and use it. No problem.”
Cst. Bourdages says having cannabis without a medicinal permit would be “possession of a controlled substance,” which could result in charges.
Henderson sees cannabis laws as changing.
“We’re right on the cusp of legalization,” he says. “I think it’s the right time to get into this type of business where retailing cannabis is in the future. I want to be one of the first people to be able to do that.”
According to a 2012 survey conducted by Health Canada, about 41 per cent of people over the age of 15 had tried cannabis at least once in their lifetime and about 10 per cent had used cannabis in the past year.
The High Life Social Club’s grand opening was Sept. 6 when it started charging membership fees to use the space. Before that, the High Life hosted an open house on July 26 to “get a feel for it,” Henderson says.
Henderson says he has received nothing but positive reactions since opening.
“I have not had one negative experience or interaction so far,” he says.