Teesside Cannabis Club, a cannabis social club in Middlesbrough and the first of its kind in the United Kingdom, is backed by local police. Users at the club can smoke weed without the fear of getting arrested or getting a criminal record.
Teesside Cannabis Club, along with its private members club called Club Exhale, was set up four years ago by Michael Fisher, and it allows guests to freely consume cannabis, a Class B drug in the UK, as they play pool, watch TV, and eat food. In the past 14 months alone, membership at the club has gone up from 60 to 180. Many of the club’s members travel from Scotland and Ireland to light up a joint.
Legitimate business protected by police
The club is located in the Durham policing district, which is one of only five forces in the UK to have stopped chasing weed users and small-scale cannabis growers actively.
Technically, using cannabis is still illegal in the UK, but Fisher said they have a relationship with the local authorities.
According to Fisher, they pay their taxes and they have reached an agreement with the police. He said that while there are other cannabis clubs in the country, Teesside Cannabis Club is unique as they are operating as a legitimate business.
Members smoke weed in the club’s consumption room and Fisher said there haven’t been any issues with disorder at their events or at the club. There have also been no criminal problems linked to them.
It seems that most of the problems with violent and anti-social behaviors are associated with alcohol, he added.
Selling and buying drugs at the club is strictly prohibited. The club also runs a no-alcohol policy.
Doing well financially
Club Exhale members cough up a £35 annual fee in order to have access to the club and its amenities. The club has three rooms: a chill room, a game room, and a TV room. It also has a canteen where members can buy food in case they get the munchies.
In fact, Fisher said that most of their earning is from refreshments. The most popular of its snack items is the chocolate and hot toasties. The club also earns money from selling tickets to special events.
And thanks to special events and refreshments, the club earned £3,000 a night over the Christmas season.
The venue also regularly holds a cannabis smoking group.
Looking to expand
Fisher said that he plans to set up more cannabis clubs across the country, with Durham and Wales being the next logical step. He said he can also see opening up Club Exhales in the South.
He also wants to see more varied demographics at the club. According to him, they have a lot of pensioners, so they are trying to attract a younger set of clients.
Thus, Club Exhale is now offering a student discount (for students over 18 years old).
Fisher added that they are also trying to get more women to become members as they make up only 8 percent of the club’s population.
What does a Club Exhale membership entail?
A membership to Club Exhale gives you a club membership card that is valid for one year. It gives you access to the club, which features a fully stocked clubhouse complete with refreshments, pool tables, and PS4. The annual membership fee also includes discounted tickets for parties and events, discounted seeds and club merchandise, as well as discounts with local retailers.
The club does not sell cannabis as it is against the law. Instead, it encourages members to grow their own cannabis as it is the safest and cheapest way for them to acquire cannabis.