Ontario’s proposal to allow people to consume marijuana in hotel rooms opens the door to a boom in cannabis tourism, says lawyer Matt Maurer.
Maurer heads the cannabis law group at Minden Gross in Toronto, and says he knows businesspeople who are interested in opening cannabis-friendly hotels and resorts.
Maurer says he was surprised by the province’s proposal to loosen up the ban on consuming cannabis anywhere other than private homes. The government has also asked for public comments on whether to allow cannabis lounges.
Maurer said he assumed the provincial government would eventually consider exemptions to the cannabis act passed in December, which bans consumption in public places.
“I was surprised that it happened so quickly.”
Maurer calls consumption in hotels “step No. 1” in the development of a cannabis tourism industry.
“You could come to Ontario, go to the government-owned retail store, pick up your cannabis, head out to the hotel room, consume it there and head out to where ever you are going that evening, to a show or an event.”
The provincial regulations unveiled last month propose that cannabis could be consumed by residents and their guests at rooms in hotels, motels and inns, as long as the drug is not smoked or vaped. Smoking and vaping marijuana would be allowed in designated smoking rooms.
The regulations have been posted for public comment. The government plans to put them into effect when recreational marijuana is legalized across the country, expected in July.
Ontario has also opened the door to cannabis consumption lounges, asking for public comments on the idea. There’s no time frame for the lounges, but rules won’t be in place be by July. The province says the comments it receives will “inform future policy development and consultations.”
Abi Roach, who runs a cannabis vaping lounge in Toronto called Hotbox Cafe, says she’s interested in opening more if they become legal. She dreams of the day when lounges will be allowed to sell single servings of cannabis, just like drinks are served in a bar or restaurant.
At the Hotbox (slogan: “serving potheads since … ahh I forget”), guests pay a $5 entry fee and bring their own pot.