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New cannabis business in Cheektowaga hoping to increase safety and stop stigma

The Roaring 420s Lounge has been open since April
Posted at 1:55 PM, Jul 19, 2022

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW) — The cannabis community continues to grow in WNY. With licensing on the way, it's changing the way people consume and creating new businesses.

"They will roll joints for you, they will pack bongs, they will provide you edibles, they will let you sample any item in their possession," said John Averill, CEO of the Roaring 420s Lounge on French Road.

It's a cannabis club for members, 21 and older. You check in at the kiosk and head over to your "budtender" for a sample, not a purchase.

"None of the cannabis we have here is for sale, we don't even buy it, it's donated to us free of charge, we don't allow anyone to leave with it. It's not even guaranteed with the membership," said Averill.

You can't bring your own cannabis either. Products are donated by vendors. The way the lounge makes money is through membership fees and snack sales. Their main goal is to test products.

"We removed 12 different products that were completely unsafe for human consumption from circulation. We have all actively seen people we are close with be, in one way or another, harmed by unsafe cannabis," said Averill.

They test for strain, potency and safety at local labs. The leftover product goes to members who fill out a survey, that data goes back to the vendors.

"People are surprised with how different it is than a standard bar. People assume our business model is false.That we are claiming to be a market research company, but it's really an excuse to get around consumption site licensing. The fact of the matter is that's not the case," said Averill.

7 News checked with the New York State Office of Cannabis Management, which tells us it has no comment on the business.

Volunteers at the lounge to work with the state by sharing the data they collect and helping to break the stigma.

"Cannabis, it's not for everybody, but this provides a safe space to try it, which is something I didn't have," said Korianne Bishop, Chief of Marketing for the lounge.

Membership fees

  • Bronze: $25 for a day
  • Silver: $100 for a week
  • Gold: $300 for a month
    • Includes VIP event access
    • Free t-shirt
  • Platinum: $420 for a month
    • Includes VIP event access
    • Monthly merchandise
    • 3 day passes to bring guests
    • Discounted Uber vouchers to get to and from the lounge