Teesside Cannabis Club, is a cannabis social club in Middlesbrough and the first of its kind in the United Kingdom and is backed by local police. Users at the club can smoke weed without the fear of getting arrested or getting a criminal record. Michael Fisher tells us how it all began.
To date, the consumption and possession of cannabis is a criminal offense in the UK. What exactly goes on in your club?
We provide a safe environment for cannabis consumers, we are a private members club the offers cannabis consumption rooms. No other drug or substance is permitted and alcohol is strictly banned.
When did you first open? How many members do you have currently? And what is the cost?
The club was formed in early 2014, we operated with out door events and created the United Kingdoms first legal cannabis festival, “canna camp fest”, we opened our first indoor venue in 2016 and have since relocated twice. Due to increase in memberships, our current location is the biggest and situated across three floors whilst operating out of 4500 sq ft. The club currently only occupies 1000 sqft of this space and we are hoping to develop the other spaces into the UKs first hemp/canna complex with all shops being canna related, ie cbd therapy, hemp product retailers, CBD sweet shops, basically a canna friendly mall operating only with CBD products or hemp based products and retailers.
Surely you have encountered a few troubles since opening your doors to members?
To date we have had no issue with any event or club days we have a great relationship with many law enforcement agencies and drug charities.
What is the procedure to gain membership?
Currently you can sign up at the club if you know an existing member. Or online at www.teessidecannabisclub.co.uk supplying two forms of ID.
Any celebrity attention?
We have had visits from a few celebrities, most notably Professor Green and Jeremy Kyle. But as for celebrity members we only have two, but we can’t disclose those details.
Who else is involved?
Simon Jackson is our vice chair and webmaster, Chriss Rouse is our treasurer and head of female oriented club activities, Patrick Poppington is our Secretary, social media, club mascot, and technician, Sean Payne is our assistant club manager, Fraser Powell is head of of our street team liaison and official club rep at other events not ran by us, Steven O’Dwyer is part of our street team liaison and club assistant manager.
Is this a full time job for you?
Although running the Club is a full time job for me I am also a carer, working 36 hours a week and have two daughter’s, plus a stepson and stepdaughter to keep me busy so my personal time is limited.
What are your future plans? If this is accepted in Middlesbrough, perhaps other cities throughout the UK may welcome your project?
Our hopes are to expand into Durham and down into North Wales by the end of the year.
Are you looking for any financial backers?
Yes we are looking for club sponsors, we offer various packages for business of all types. With our huge social media reach and the amount of information available in the media about us, ensures we always have interest in our packages. We also have Franchise options available for the Durham and North Wales areas for suitable applicants.
With cannabis going legal in various parts of the world, can you see legalization for UK citizens any time soon?
Sadly not under our current government, However, I would like to see medicinal access under this government at the very least, and perhaps full decriminalisation/legalisation within 10 to15 years.