After a summer of preparations High Life Social Club (5982 Spring Garden Road) celebrated its grand opening last weekend, welcoming Haligonians to take a load off, grab a coffee and vapourize.
“I want to make it easier for people to enjoy and benefit from cannabis, and not continue to hinder people,” says owner of the 18+, members-only vapour lounge, Chris Henderson, who also runs The Hali Connection, an online store for cannabis apparel and novelty products. “Eventually we’d like to have the majority of our members be legal, and that’s our other thing, helping people do that.”
In the wake of last Friday’s raid of Gottingen Street’s Farm Assists cannabis resource centre, he makes it clear that High Life isn’t a compassion club, and it’s not selling weed—it's just a cannabis-friendly place to unwind with likeminded folk. “I’ve already contacted certain people with the authorities to make sure they know we’re not a dispensary and to make sure they know what we’re doing.”
Behind High Life's locked door, above Kara's Day Spa, you'll find over-stuffed leather couches to cozy up on, dimmed lights and the sleek barista's bar…where you can order from a slew of espresso-based drinks and teas. Eventually, Henderson hopes to be able to serve food. "I want to make this place as relaxing as possible, because basically that’s the whole point—to make people feel as relaxed as they can," he says. "Our whole concept with High Life is to have the highest quality products and service and the highest customers on the planet. Also, to respect their privacy."
Once you're a member (and memberships range from $5 per day to $200 per year) you can drop by for hot drinks, buy vapour bags and rent glassware to use (bongs and glass vapourizers, you can’t smoke blunts or joints here) and chill out as long as you like, seven days a week.
"A lot of people have come in and are like, 'wow, how is this possible?'," says Henderson, who says he's happy to put himself out there for cannabis. "It’s a sign of the zeitgeist, times are changing."