Cops crack down on cannabis smoking lounge in Laval

The Relaxx Social Lounge on Cure Labelle Blvd. in Laval has run afoul of Quebec's Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS), which coordinated a raid with Laval Police after discovering patrons were smoking pot in the establishment.

The lounge is part of a network of medical cannabis clinics that offer a place to smoke cannabis in a closed-off, ventilated room.

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The lounge also sells food and non-alcoholic drinks.

Last week, a comedy show was stopped due to the raid.

"They felt there was an infraction being committed," said Pharmacann & Relaxx Social Lounge CEO Hans Vargas. "This went on for a good four hours."

One patron felt the crackdown was unwarranted.

"How much taxpayer money was spent on this cannabis war brigade that came in and that for many of us who already have like PTSD from the toxic, lying war, the war on drugs, the war on cannabis, you know, enough is enough," said Loretta Clark.

The MSSS did not comment on the raid, but Laval Police said the government learned about the comedy event on Facebook and asked for assistance.

"Twelve of our police officers were assigned to assist the representatives during the Friday operation," said Laval Police spokesperson Evelyne Boudreau. "Three tickets were given out by ministry representatives and the visit lasted approximately a little bit over an hour."

Under Quebec law, restaurants and cigar and shisha lounges can allow tobacco smoking indoors in isolated, ventilated areas. The rules only mention smoking pot indoors being allowed in places such as long-term care facilities.

Relaxx owners say they have a special lounge permit similar to a cigar lounge.

"We think that this was a witchhunt and the amount of effort and money that was put into it to degrade us, to put us down, was really ridiculous," said Vargas. "I hope that this does not repeat itself because the way they came in at us was like a gang of criminals."

Vargas plans on challenging the raid in court.