Longtime marijuana advocate Neev Tapiero is ready for the cannabis-driven tourists to come, and he’s not waiting for legalization to roll out the welcome mat.
The former dispensary owner anticipates an influx of visitors eager to try Canadian weed once recreational use is legalized Oct. 17, and is already courting foreign travellers through his Toronto-based tour company Canadian Kush Tours.
But while he prepares to hit the ground running, he says he’s disappointed by a lack of support from government to back entrepreneurs like him: “Really none of the infrastructure is prepared for legalization in terms of things like hotels (and) parks.”
Exactly how the tourism industry could be reshaped by legal weed is still very hazy for many hoping to capitalize on the potential of providing green-focused getaways.
Charlotte Bell, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, points to a lack of clarity from federal, provincial and municipal governments on what will and will not be allowed, and the likelihood that what is already known could very well be undone by upcoming provincial elections, such as New Brunswick’s on Sept. 24.
She notes that Ontario just reversed course on a plan to sell cannabis under its liquor control board when a June election turned the province Tory blue from Liberal red. The province said Monday that it now plans to oversee online sales beginning Oct. 17 and allow private retail by April 2019.