THUNDER BAY - A new business on the city’s south side is offering a unique experience for customers who are invited to come in, take a seat, have a snack, and for those who wish, step outside and smoke marijuana.
The Trixxx Lounge, the first permanent cannabis lounge not only in the city but the province, opened on Frederica Street last month to celebrate 4/20.
Manager Tori Nicholetts said the Trixxx Lounge is sort of a mix-match of various things, including a glass shop that sells cannabis paraphenalia such as pipes and bongs, a café that serves coffee, tea, milkshakes, soup, sandwiches and wraps, and a large outdoor smoking lounge.
“That is kind of our life hack to make a legal lounge,” she said. “You can’t smoke inside, but you can smoke cannabis anywhere cigarettes are allowed, so we have a really big designated smoking area in the back.”
Cannabis is not sold at the lounge and cannot be smoked or vaped indoors but people can rent large glass bongs to use outside. Nicholetts said every bong is thoroughly cleaned and sterilized after each use.
The federal government legalized cannabis last October and the Ontario government legislated that cannabis products can be smoked anywhere tabacco products are permitted. Pop-up cannabis lounges have opened at various music festivals in the province, but Nicholetts said there are no other legal, permanent lounges in operation yet.
“We really try to stay by the book as much as possible even though we know this already should have been an accepted thing,” Nicholetts said. “This is pretty awesome. I’m okay with smoking in the back and laying in the sun.”
The Trixxx Lounge has been welcomed with open arms by the Westfort Village business community. Aaron Gillingham, a committee member of the Westfort Business Association and owner of The Sal, said it is a great addition to the neighbourhood.
“I walked in last week for the first time. They offer something unique for the area,” he said. “They seem to have something carved out here in Westfort that is obviously in demand. It seems like something that is going to take off in the area and in the city and general. ”
Gillingham added that after the lounge announced it would be opening two months ago, there has been nothing but support from nearby businesses.
“There has been no pushback. We have a pretty supportive group. We have people asking questions, not in concern, more just curious,” he said. “It was happening sooner or later. We all knew it was coming. It’s nice that someone got in early and kind of taken the lead here in Westfort. They have our full support.”
The support from local businesses is not lost on Nicholetts with her staff and customers feeling welcomed into the community.
“We’ve had a lot of awesome feedback. Most businesses, I haven’t heard a bad thing,” she said. “Businesses are very welcoming and really love the idea that we are going to get a lot of foot traffic and a younger scene in this area.”