Amsterdam-like cafes in your hometown, it’s not impossible look to Area420™ and The Cannabis Spot flagship location and new concept in Phoenix, Arizona. While accommodating cannabis smokers by providing a sanctuary for them, business is expected to be brisk anticipating full dispensary approval in August 2012. With a self-sustaining attitude and a spiritually satisfying environment owners might have gotten this model right for Arizona patients.
A vapor lounge is the front line in our cultural revolution! It’s not important to sell the marijuana with this model, it’s all about creating an environment. A vapor lounge is where the cannabis community comes to be together, to be who they really are, in unity and enlightenment. While being the local center for the cannabis culture, you can make your dreams of commercial success and personal reward come alive, and quickly become the ‘voice’ of the cannabis community in your area. Hold NORML and other monthly meetings as well as host quarterly workshops to further educate the community and encourage acceptance. Collaborate with National brands and local smoke shops, hydroponics stores and musicians to coordinate events to support your community.
The cannabis puffing lounges not only ensures enthusiasts have a fun and amazing time, but keeps the cash register turning. To be successful, and to keep the doors open, a well-developed income stream is critical. Again, cannabis sales are strictly prohibited unless you’re opening a caregiver collective or dispensary, but this how-to is about a glorified, pays-its-own-way cannabis hang out!
Vapor lounges have become locations that police and politicians find increasingly difficult to classify and close down. Enforcement priorities or lack of manpower allow these toke-friendly places to operate in major Canadian metropolitan centers, and med-pot friendly US states, mostly unmolested. Arizona will be the first location for founder Jamie J of 420patients.com a Medical Marijuana National Networking for Patients and Caregivers organization.
Ganjapreneurs who feel their smaller or conservative communities also deserves a place where cannabis enthusiasts can peaceful imbibe the herb should anticipate plenty of body blows, and a few head shots if they choose to set up shop.
Marc Emery, referred to by his devoted fans as the Prince of Pot, states in the YouTube documentary entitled “YONGESTERDAM the movie”:
You need a community that’s typically urban to get away with this kind of overt smoking – like here I am smoking and everyone smokes here – well if you do that even in Montreal you would get shut down, but if you do that in Vancouver, you’re okay; in Toronto, you’re okay. But there is almost nowhere else in Canada where you are ‘okay’ to do that (YouTube).
Potheads in Thunder Bay, Canada or in Brisbane, Australia, or even Phoenix, USA deserve to have a liberating Vansterdam/Yongesterdam-like ganja experience. But you have to be realistic about the local ‘climate’ as you arrange your business plan.
Jamie J stated a wise capitalist can do the math and add up how much it costs to open a vapor lounge, but cautions “those that can’t weather the vapor after the first visit by the authorities, claiming “this is illegal, and we will be back sometime to arrest someone or something, somehow…”
Many people ask “how do you get away with this?” or “what loophole do you use?” But the answer is we aren’t getting away with anything. We don’t use any loophole. “Why don’t they bust you?” Well, sometimes they do…but they are no different than VFW posts and motor cycle and other private social clubs.
The simple answer to how the Area420™ vapor lounges such as the Cannabis Spot exist, is the willingness of the owner and staff to open for business every day. Jamieson learned it’s best to tell authorities upfront what you are doing and enter into an understanding if not agreement.
In the beginning, some of the first vaporizer cafes were raided and shut down, like the Herbal Tea Café, Marc Emery’s Cannabis Café and Hemp BC, Da Kine, Kindred Café, and the Up In Smoke Café. So how do these NEW Vapor Lounges stay open?
In 2003, Chris Goodwin opened Hamilton Ontario’s Up In Smoke Cafe in a working class, social democratic stronghold in a town with a population of a half-million. He counted over 200 police visits and 35 client arrests in his two years in business.
Vapor lounge owners can reduce risk and arrests dramatically with a members-only lounge concept, a lesson learned after a few broken “joint” ventures with partners Jamieson notes. Long-time cannabis activist Marc Emery first questioned the profitability of placing a few couches in a room with a vaporizer on a coffee table, as stoners may hang out all day, limiting sales. But owners saw too many of the regulars get popped when police would come in. Punishment for first-timers is usually a fine and a criminal record, but repeated arrests make a place a heat score, not a chill-out space.
Still, Up In Smoke Cafe was the hottest, most happening, and busiest lounge in Ontario, combining radical retail with in-your-face cannabis activism. Jamieson has experienced his own legal issues, raided a few times, but always determined to challenge the charges and defend themselves with good legal information and consultation.
Sales were brisk, and the Up In Smoke Cafe saga started a buzz that couldn’t be stopped even after three raids by police, though the location closed in 2006 with Goodwin spending six months in jail. Up In Smoke was a wonderful two year experiment in aggressive retail activism. With Jamieson’s 420patients.com, Area420 & Cannabis Spot Vapor Lounges, Goodwin and his Hashmob they have provided the rest of us with some excellent lessons on what can work and what tactic has drawbacks.
Goodwin also helped Peter Melanson open Melanheadz Vapor Lounge on Hamilton mountain, and the BCMP Vapor Lounge opened for business around the same time. The benefit of the membership-based lounge was clearly safer, combined with a patient data base similar to 420patients or Red Rocks Collective any new operation will be packed with loyal clients.
The Vapor Lounge did not just arrive out of nowhere; it was a result of a series of charismatic events that have normalized their activities. Their legitimacy revolves around the idea of cannabis as a philosophy, in which Marc Emery states “Pot is the only multiracial, completely tolerant philosophy in the world; most people don’t understand the benefit” (YouTube).
There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come, said Victor Hugo, and Goodwin, with the help of Dom Cramer, re-opened Up In Smoke Cafe as Vapor Central in Toronto’s Yongesterdam district. Goodwin and his crew continue to be some of the most visible and uncompromising cannabis legalization activists in Ontario.
Wait a minute. Isn’t pot illegal? Ask Jamieson and he will say “spark one up and find out”
Yes, but cannabis is Goodwin’s life. It’s his passion. It’s his reason for being on this earth. It’s his calling. As a protégé of Libertarian activist, Marc Emery, Goodwin was mentored for 10 years to use the direct action tactics of peaceful open civil disobedience to repeal what he calls “unjust cannabis laws” and the vapor lounge is on the front lines. The Area420™ Vapor Lounges exist thanks to unrelenting activists like Goodwin, Emery, Rosenfeld, Jamieson and many others willing to risk everything for cannabis rights.
Support your local Area420 Vapor Lounges….