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Hazy situation 

The THC Club lives in a grey area for medicinal marijuana users

click to enlarge THC Cafe owners Sherri Reeve and Chris Enns. - HILARY BEAUMONT
  • THC Cafe owners Sherri Reeve and Chris Enns.
  • Hilary Beaumont

The THC Club is growing. The medicinal marijuana club that police raided last summer in Porters Lake has opened Halifax's only vapour lounge on Gottingen Street---but whether it's legal remains to be seen.

Lounge owners Chris Enns and Sherri Reeve, who both face drug charges as a result of last year's raid, say they're operating in a legal grey area. During an interview at the new bong shop and vapour lounge, the owners---who are licensed under Health Canada's medical marijuana program---smoked a vapourizer while their dog Tripper, who takes cannabis oil for a mound of tumours near his tail, wanders around the shop.

Along with sales of pipes and other paraphernalia, the business will allow those with medical marijuana licenses to kick back and smoke their government-approved bud on couches at the back of the shop. Similar lounges exist in Vancouver and Toronto.

Here's the part the federal government might not like: Enns, who is only licensed to grow marijuana for a maximum of two people, says he is willing to sell his weed to licensed customers. "Anyone who has a license, I'll step out on a limb and sell the excess from my production."

Enns and Reeve know they could face additional charges and jail time, but say people with fast-moving cancer and severe epilepsy have contacted the THC Club to try cannabis for their pain. In some cases, Reeve says, terminal cancer patients don't have enough time before their lives end to get a marijuana license and grow their own plants or have someone grow for them.

"When somebody calls you with pancreatic cancer, I'm in tears when I hang up the phone," Reeve says. "I feel for those people. I can't say no when they don't have anything else, the government is abandoning them. In a lot of cases we're their last comfort on their way out of life.

"I'm also the person who takes stray dogs in off the street," she adds.

Lately Canada's weed rules are hazy. Earlier this year the federal government planned to end licensed marijuana users' ability to grow pot at home, but a March federal court ruling temporarily trumped the new rules, and for now people like Enns can continue to grow.

Selling is a different matter. In March 2013, police seized $50,000 in cash, 10 pounds of cannabis, 1,000 capsules of hash oil and psilocybin mushrooms from the THC Club's Porters Lake location and Enns' home. Both Enns and Reeve face trafficking charges as a result of the raid.

Enns plans to ask for a Charter challenge to Canada's marijuana laws at his court date in August. The couple is also suing the Halifax Regional Police, alleging an officer used excessive force when arresting Reeve in May 2013. They were charged with assaulting and obstructing an officer.

"Whether or not what we do is illegal will be determined by the courts in that constitutional challenge," Enns says. "My perspective is we're not doing anything that crosses the line."

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