Is this Canada’s first legit lounge?

Entrepreneur Laura Bradley’s beachside cannabis consumption lounge in Grand Bend, Ontario is being called the province’s first in the London Free Press

Tucked behind Bend Cannabis Co. is Behind the Bend, an outdoor lounge where customers can smoke joints, eat edibles and brunch, and play games like Jenga and Connect 4 in a verdant atmosphere.

A retail stand-out

While it’s not the first — 420 Cannabis Court in Toronto’s Chinatown springs to mind as another similarly weed- and Covid-friendly space launched in the pandemic — it joins the ranks of a small number of retail-adjacent lounges, like Toronto’s Hot Box Cafe and cannabis store, which transitioned from the grey market to the regulated market after being acquired by Fire & Flower.

Is it compliant?

Smoking is banned on the beach and the main drag in the city of Grand Bend, so Bradley said the municipality welcomed the idea. 

But she can’t sell cannabis products directly from the cafe — that has to happen in the store out front. And under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, she will not be able to place an overhang or shelter around the lounge space. As the weather cools and the snow falls, she will likely have to close up for the season.

Brunch ‘n’ bong hits

For now, Behind the Bend is open for brunch from Friday to Sunday, and has a 50-person capacity. And Bradley hopes to start renting out the space for private functions and to start up a regular movie night — all with the hope of creating  a fun space for everyone, she said.

“You don’t have to be immersed in the (cannabis) culture to want to be here.”

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