Article by Emma Spears, The Province
Regions like Niagara in Ontario and the Okanagan Valley in B.C. attract droves of international tourists each year for wine tastings, vineyard tours and fine dining, but not so much for cannabis
As the first G7 country to federally legalize cannabis, recreational cannabis consumption is permitted all across the Great White North.
But despite dwarfing cannabis-tourism hotspots like Amsterdam, where cannabis isn’t even technically legal, in size and population, Canada’s reputation for cannabis tourism has paled in comparison to that of the Netherlands.
Although regions such as Niagara in Ontario and the Okanagan Valley in B.C. attract droves of international tourists each year for wine tastings, vineyard tours and fine dining, the same cannot be said for cannabis.
Which is not to say that tourism opportunities don’t exist for weed lovers wanting a taste of Canadian cannabis. The first cannabis cruise is set to sail from Windsor, Ont. on Sept. 20, and sold out within 48 hours; a cannabis-themed golf course recently opened its doors outside of Ottawa; companies like AirBnB are looking to expand cannabis tourism opportunities in cities like Edmonton; PEI hoped to maximize summer tourist revenue by providing the hospitality industry with cannabis-related info sessions; and U.S. company Bud and Breakfast expanded north of the 49th parallel in anticipation of the cannatourism boom.
Despite high hopes and careful tending for cannabis tourism, however, the industry has been slow to sprout.
The patchwork of cannabis laws throughout provinces and municipalities—combined with the stringent, tobacco-like regulationsthat govern marketing and advertising the drug and related products or services—have rendered it difficult to promote the industry, say some experts, as well as the stigma that still clouds much of society’s perception of cannabis.