Reverend Kelly Addison wants to spread the love and knowledge of all things cannabis. She’s so passionate about it that she left her job as a teacher, cashed in her RRSPs, took all of her savings and opened a cannabis lounge.
As someone who suffers from complex post-traumatic stress disorder, Addison says cannabis saved her life. “I’m hoping, moving forward, that I will be able to teach people how to save their lives,” she says. After recognizing its medicinal and therapeutic properties, she wanted to learn more about cannabis and completed a wide variety of courses, including earning a Science of Cannabis diploma from Hamilton, Ont.’s McMaster University. The launch of the KGL brand began with pop-ups and developing her online presence. Before long, events were being sold out, her cannabis community grew and she knew it was time to open her own place.
Located on Main Street in Orono, Ont., Kelly’s Green Lounge was brimming with patrons prior to COVID-19. The cannabis-friendly establishment always had something on, whether it was a comedy, crafts, karaoke, poetry, music, bingo, or their Homeostasis Hippie course. The separate nonprofit Cannabis Church of KGL, which runs in partnership with the lounge, has deep roots in the metaphysical, and regular offerings include crystals, Reiki healing, and taro and tea leaf readings.
Religion may not have been in the cards, and Addison never imagined becoming a minister, but after opening the lounge, she says the community showed up. “They sort of just came and the lounge built itself around what seemed like a church.” Kelly became ordained, developed the religion, and applied to Vital Statistics Canada. She is hopeful they will soon be recognized as the only cannabis church in Canada.
As with many businesses this past year, the physical event space is on hold, but a wide range of items, along with membership and subscription boxes, are still offered online. “We’re not a dispensary, we’re not licensed and we don’t sell it, but literally anything else to do with cannabis, we’ve got it,” she says. Fortunately, their transition to online has been extremely successful and interest continues to grow in the KGLTV channel, podcasts, and cannabis how-tos.
Addison’s mission is clear: “I believe that if we allow it, cannabis and hemp will save our planet.” With no intention of slowing down, the year ahead involves implementing consistent programming for the KGLTV channel, along with the production of a web series and offering cannabis weddings. “Kelly’s Green Lounge is connecting the entire cannabis community coast to coast,” says Addison. “That’s what we want to do. We are not in this for dollars and cents. We’re doing this because our message is cannabis love and spirituality, healing and wellbeing should be talked about and should be shared.”