Pubdate: Thu, 19 May 2011 Source: Mirror (CN QU) Copyright: 2011 Communications Gratte-Ciel Ltee Contact: http://www.montrealmirror.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/267 Author: Chris Barry HIGH LIFE Head Shop Owner Says He Was Born to Sell Salvia, Marijuana Paraphernalia and Psychedelic Party Clothing Name: Andre Levert Age: 33 Occupation: Proprietor of Psychonaut (154 Prince Arthur E.) Bio: This jolly Vieux Longueuil family man has been enthralled by the wonderful world of reefer ever since he was a child growing up in small town southern Ontario. "I was 13, riding in the car with my dad listening to this report on Radio-Canada that was really exaggerating the negatives about pot, when I went, 'Hey, this is something I need to try soon.'" Discovering "the effects to be quite inter-esting," young Andre started researching the devil's weed something fierce, delving into "the whole conspiracy behind its prohibition, its history, its different effects etc" and today credits his youthful marijuana fixation for keeping him "out of all sorts of trouble. It brought me to this peaceful culture when I so easily could've been drawn to darker things." Although he studied to become and eventually did labour for a brief period as a health care attendant, Andre says his heart and soul have always belonged to the "marijuana counter-culture," so in 2003, after managing another area head shop for several years, he decided to go whole hog and open his own clothing/paraphernalia outlet, the inimitable Psychonaut at 154 Prince Arthur E. He drives a pragmatic 2006 Toyota Corolla. Were his parents proud when he announced he was launching his very own business, selling items that encourage illegal drug consumption? "Well, my dad's an ex-monk and my mom an ex-nun who found each other after leaving the church and eventually had five children together. Even still, what I was selling didn't bother them nearly as much as the risks involved in opening my own business. They wanted me to pursue health care where I'd make more money, but I got into this because of my interest in the marijuana counter-culture, not to get rich. Truth is, this is the job I've known I was born to do ever since I was 17. Owning something like Psychonaut has always been my dream." The biggest selling items at Psychonaut: "Clothing, surprisingly. Women's psychedelic party clothing for the local psychedelic rave community." Have people grown tired of salvia yet or has Miley Cyrus re-popularized the stuff? "Salvia is basically the kind of thing you do once or twice and then maybe recommend to a few people. It's not really a fun buzz. So there's always people who still want it, but its heyday is long over now." Given that salvia isn't regulated, can he sell the muck to minors without fear of legal repercussions? "Yeah, I can but I won't. I don't want to see it become illegal, you know, if parents start complaining about it and everything." How many times a week does he get tourists walking in asking if he can help get them straight with some weed? "In the summer, I'd say maybe three times a day. The Americans especially, because they come here and see people smoking openly on the street, so they're not sure if it's legal or not. I usually tell them to just walk up the street to the park or to ask somebody on the street for weed. I mean, it's never hard finding pot in Montreal." Last book read: Psychedelic Healing: The Promise of Entheogens for Psychotherapy and Spiritual Development, by Neal Goldsmith. Musical preferences: Pink Floyd, Cream, Ben Harper. Words of wisdom: "Patience is a virtue, but waiting sucks." - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.