Article by Brennan Doherty, Toronto Star
Smoking a spliff off the balcony of an Airbnb rental is still likely to land a traveller in their hosts’ bad books — even in Canada — but some companies are now catering to tourists who want to take advantage of legalization on vacation.
Nine months after the federal government legalized recreational cannabis, the hospitality sector is slowly gearing up to accommodate tourists who want to consume, though it isn’t clear how many of these travellers are coming from outside Canada, or are coming specifically to use cannabis. Weed-oriented hikes, tours and even yoga retreats are nonetheless popping up from coast-to-coast.
Still, there are relatively few options for tourists if they actually want to smoke or vape weed during their travels. Most hotels and bed-and-breakfasts across the country are smoke-free. Some tourist destinations such as Banff forbid it anywhere except a private residence.
Brian Marques, the head of communications for PotRentals.com said many Airbnb hosts also aren’t a fan of consumption.
“There’s a large number of restrictions in terms of weed-friendly accommodations,” he said. “In terms of availability, it’s just almost impossible to find something,”
PotRentals.com, based in Montreal, is essentially Airbnb for cannabis lovers. Roughly 45 hosts in several cities across Canada including Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto offer accommodations where users can consume cannabis on their property. The site claims hosts can make up to 30 per cent more per night compared to other platforms because travellers looking for weed-friendly accommodations are willing to pay more.
Hosts can also lead “experiences” for guests, even if they don’t have a space to crash for the night. Marques listed weed-oriented painting sessions or joint-rolling classes as examples, but said they could extend to other activities.
“There are no limits,” he said. “Any host can choose whatever they want to offer.”
Interest in cannabis-related tourism has popped up all across Canada following legalization, according to Aaron Shenner, marketing director for the Canadian Cannabis Chamber — an industry association and lobby group. In Edmonton, he said, several groups have approached him with plans to run cannabis grow operation tours. A cannabis tourism company also advertised a “stoned Stampede experience” tour in Calgary this year.
Shenner expects cannabis tourism could look a lot like regular Canadian tourism — hikes or ski trips in the Rocky Mountains, for instance — with a cannabis-friendly atmosphere tacked on.
“I expect there to be a whole lot more activities that we already do as Canadians, but maybe tailored to be a little bit more cannabis friendly or at least pushing for that cannabis tourism angle.”