Article by Salma Ibrahim, CBC News
Members of the Cannabis Friendly Business Association plan to ask Toronto’s Municipal Licensing and Standards Committee Monday morning for regulation in light of the federal legalization of marijuana.
Local lounge owners argue that provincial regulation, which says marijuana can only be consumed in the privacy of a home, is “not feasible.”
“There is a huge number of renters, people living in condos and townhouses in the city. We just don’t have the luxury of not intruding on our neighbour,” Abi Roach, owner of the Roach-O-Rama and Hotbox Café, said listing the type of people who would not be able to smoke in their homes.
“You also have to think of parents with children or those living with elderly people or people with respiratory problems or tourists. Where are tourists going to smoke cannabis? In their non-smoking hotel rooms?” she asked in an interview.
The Toronto entrepreneur believes businesses like hers, which has been in operation for nearly 20 years, is the perfect alternative to the restrictive policy — not only because it allows communal recreation — but also because it will keep illegal marijuana trafficking and use of the streets, she argues.
“Having cannabis culture in spaces that are not a monopoly, that are owned by normal people who can serve the community best will keep street crime down and street consumption down. So it’s an excellent way of reducing crime and reducing public nuisance,” Roach said.
How does a cannabis lounge work?
Patrons pay $5 to get in the doors of Roach’s Hotbox Café where their ID is checked. Anyone 19 years old and over can hang out and smoke weed, which they bring themselves, she says.
Roach adds that alcohol or any other type of drugs are not allowed in her establishment. People are given the option of using a vaporizer inside or combusting their cannabis on an outdoor patio.
She says that people who come to her business near Kensington Market are from all walks of life.