Opening of a café “Consumption of cannabis” in Grand Bend


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A young couple laughs as their wobbly Jenga tower collapses, sending blocks flying in all directions.

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At a nearby picnic table, a group of friends in their fifties chat sipping teas and munching on pastries.

A puff of smoke from a man blowing a joint fills the sticky summer air.

Most tables are filled for Sunday brunch at this peaceful beer garden just off Main Street in Southwestern Ontario’s busiest seaside town – which is best known for its benders, bikinis and fried dishes.

But London entrepreneur Laura Bradley, 32, wanted to create a classy yet chic space in Grand Bend when she launched what is believed to be Ontario’s first cannabis consumption fair.

Behind the Bend, which is tucked behind Bradley’s marijuana retail store on Main Street, serves local fare, fresh pastries, and soft drinks.

“Instead of expanding the retail brand, I thought I was going to get ahead of the next wave,” Bradley said of his reason for opening the business. “And I think the next wave will be consumer shows.”

Some patrons are spliffing, others munching on cannabis infused foods, while many come just for the food and the atmosphere, choosing not to indulge in the world’s most widely used drug.

Each table offers a selection of vintage games, like Connect 4 and Jenga, and the essential tools for rolling joints. The outdoor area includes a fountain, fireplace and lots of greenery.

Bradley, who once frequented the unauthorized cannabis shows in Toronto’s Kensington Market, has strived to create an inclusive space that welcomes both cannabis users and non-users.

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“It’s a 50-50 split,” she said of her clients, many of whom know their names. “You don’t have to be immersed in (cannabis) culture to want to be here.”

A 70-year-old couple, who both prefer edibles to cannabis, said they came just for coffee and conversation.

“It’s lovely here,” said the woman, who stopped by Bradley’s retail store The Bend Cannabis Co. to pick up a packet of pre-rolled joints for a friend.

With the beach and Main Street smoking ban, Bradley said city officials have welcomed his idea of ​​providing a private place to smoke cannabis. “So they were very supportive right away. “

A spokesperson for the municipality did not respond to a request for comment.

The consumer cafe, which opened on July 1 and has a capacity of 50, also serves brunch Friday through Sunday – a popular draw in a city where few restaurants offer breakfast.

“It has been so well received,” Bradley said of his new business.

But strict regulations on the sale of marijuana products mean customers can’t buy their coffee pot, though Bradley eventually hopes to be able to serve cannabis-infused foods and drinks.

“I have always been passionate about food,” she says. “I always tell people that there are only two things I’m picky about: cannabis and food.

Bradley, who works full time while attending Fanshawe College, opened the first marijuana retail store in Lambton County in December, choosing the Lake Huron community because other markets were oversaturated. It also has a second store in Toronto.

Although she plans to keep the beer garden open until the fall, the rules in the Smoke-Free Ontario Act prohibit her from adding any type of cover, making it nearly impossible to stay open for a while. winter in southwestern Ontario.

Until then, she’s hosting a movie night and plans to start renting the space for private functions with the option of getting a temporary liquor license.

The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada

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