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UK: Inside Britain's first 'legal' cannabis club which makes 3,000 UKP-a-night and has already been visited by Jeremy Kyle
Friday 26 Jan 2018
The creator of England's first 'legal' cannabis club has revealed he raked in £3,000-a-night over Christmas and has even welcomed a visit from presenter Jeremy Kyle.
Cannabis users can visit Club Exhale to smoke, watch TV and buy food – all without fearing police action.
Michael Fisher set up the club on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Middlesbrough.
The club currently has over 170 members – many of whom travel from Ireland and Scotland to light up.
Last year, chat show host Jeremy Kyle paid a visit to the clubhouse while filming his new series of The Kyle Files.
Mr Fisher soon hopes to expand the business by setting up clubs across the country.
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The 33-year-old, who founded the Teesside Cannabis Club, said: "I'd love to set up more Club Exhales across the country.
"Durham and Wales would be the next logical step, but I can see myself opening up some in the South as well.
"Club Exhale is all above board – we’ve reached an agreement with the police and we pay our taxes.
"While other clubs exist we’re unique as we operate as a legitimate business with the support of the police.
"It’s a friendly environment where people come to socialise.
"It consists of three rooms: a games room, a chill room and a room where people can watch TV.
"We also have a canteen where people can buy food if they get the munchies.
"That’s how we make most of our money. Chocolate and our hot toasties are probably the most popular options."
Michael said during the Christmas period the club made £3,000-a-night.
Members, who pay £35 to join, got in for free but other people paid £25 for the night.
Club Exhale now offers a student discount as well.
Michael said: "We also have some famous faces from the telly coming in quite a bit. Obviously I can’t name them – although Jeremy Kyle came and looked round.
"We have a lot of pensioners so it was an attempt to attract a younger clientele.
"I'm also trying to get more women into it as they only make up around 8 percent of our members.
"Our members come from all over.
"We have blokes coming from Scotland and Ireland every week."
Michael initially set up the Teesside Cannabis Club in 2013 under the fake name John Holliday.
He said: "I set up a Facebook page to start a discussion and I would encourage people to meet up in outside places to smoke.
"A year later I set up a cannabis festival which got some attention and I found myself having meetings with Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
"I’m not naïve. I know we can only survive with the support of the police. I can’t thank them enough for being so supportive.
"Together we are just trying to create a safe community for people to smoke cannabis."
In June 2016 Mr Hogg called for cannabis legislation to be reviewed.
Simon Stephen, Director of Casework for Addiction UK, has criticised Club Exhale.
Simon, who was an alcohol and drug addict for 17 years, said: "The issue is that self-medication – which most of this is – is problematic.
"It can lead to addiction and cannabis users normally end up wanting more which can have a destructive impact on their lives.
"The effect lasts for over 24 hours. How would you feel if your bus driver was driving you after smoking?
"Your life can get to the point where you spend all your money on cannabis."
Mr Fisher is thrilled the police have cooperated (Image: Getty)
But Michael said he thinks it would be 'irresponsible' not to have cannabis clubs.
He added: "Cannabis is one of the oldest things that people enjoy.
"If you took away our club it wouldn’t stop people.
"You’ve got to bear in mind it’s also a network for people to meet others."
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