Article by Emma Spears, Growth Op
Canna-tourism was anticipated as an exciting and lucrative form of business before legalization came into force in October 2018.
But the continued prohibition on legal consumption spaces is hindering the hopes of wannabe cannabis entrepreneurs from entering the canna-tourism oeuvre — and seriously harshing the mellow of international tourists hoping for a comfortable place to enjoy the sweet, sweet taste of Canadian freedom.
B.C., in particular, had high hopes for drawing in cannabis tourists, and efforts to convince the province to consider altering laws to allow farm-gate sales at licensed production facilities and legal consumption spaces are in full force in the hopes of drawing both cannaisseurs and the canna-curious to make the trip and drop dollars on B.C. bud.
“It’s the logical next step of how people will want to socialize around cannabis, because at this moment there is no law that allows people to consume together in a public environment, which doesn’t make sense,” National Access Cannabis CEO Mark Goliger told Castanet, likening the prohibition on consumption spaces to a prohibition on restaurants serving alcoholic beverages.
Although Solicitor General Mike Farnworth is open to considering farm-gate or onsite retail sales, he is firmly against the legalization of consumption spaces, citing what he says are warnings from public health authorities that the spaces could be a danger to consumers and employees.
Many drug activists, however, cite the ban as a hit against what could be an effective harm reduction strategy for cannabis users.
“There are no plans at this point,” Farnsworth told Castanet. “It may be in the future, but there are a lot of issues with the medical health officer. There are workplace issues. There is a lot of public-policy work in those areas that has to be dealt with.”