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Pot lounge pops up in Portage

By Aaron Wilgosh, The Graphic

Personal Preference Boutique in Portage la Prairie is currently renovating to add a smoking lounge for customers to bring their marijuana to safely and discreetly medicate. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

Personal Preference Boutique in Portage la Prairie is currently renovating to add a smoking lounge for customers to bring their marijuana to safely and discreetly medicate. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

A safe and discreet place for those in need.

That’s what is being offered at Personal Preference Boutique in Portage la Prairie. Owner Matthew Gray has been running the pipe shop for nearly seven years and, based off of feedback from customers, is opening his doors for those who are in need of a place to light up.

“Good people have to deal with police or others complaining, even though they have a prescription and the right to use it,” Gray says, of the plight medicinal marijuana users currently face. “It is required on my prescription that (people medicate in) a discreet and discretionary location, and I can tell you when I travel, I see no (such places) around to do it.”

As of now, people can stop in at the shop – located on Saskatchewan Avenue in the city's downtown core -  and sign a declaration, or show their medicinal license, then use the parking lot behind the building to smoke or vape their medicine until the new lounge area is set up inside. That way, he says, people aren’t on the street walking around smoking marijuana in front of kids or people that don’t want to be around it.

“A lot of people frequent our location and they all seem very excited about the idea,” adds Gray. “They want the lounge up now, but I still need a little while to get it up and running. This is about facilitating the patients and giving them a comfortable and legitimate place for them to take their medicine when out and about instead of ducking into corners looking like criminals.”

Under current legislation, there are no laws preventing a business owner from allowing people to smoke marijuana on their premises and similar lounge areas exist in Winnipeg and almost all major cities across the country.

Gray intends to widen his doorways for wheelchair access when the lounge is up and running with future plans to add a deck and patio in the rear of the building.

- with files from Brian Oliver



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