Article by Toronto Sun
Pot tourism could be the next big thing in the Big Smoke.
But the budding bud-based tourism industry in here has barely caused a blip yet.
Less than a year after cannabis was legalized in Canada, growth in new weed-based tourism in a largely smoke-free city once dubbed Toronto the Good is expected to come in fits and starts, according to some local entrepreneurs who have already dipped their toes into what is essentially a niche business.
“As with all new things, we suspect the uptake will be steady and slow to begin with,” said Matt Cronin, the founder and CEO of Canada High Tours. “Normalization needs to take place and stigmas removed. That will take time. Until retail outlets in Toronto become established — we are talking more than the (five) or so initially planned, ‘functioning’ cannabis tourism in volumes will be slow.”
Cannabis tourism is well established in Washington state, where it became legal in 2012, and reportedly shown massive growth in Colorado in the five years since the state legalized cannabis in early 2014. That’s to say nothing of the coffee shops of Amsterdam that have been drawing pot aficionados for decades, despite marijuana technically not being legal.
In Toronto, though, the pot tourism industry hasn’t exactly sprinted out of the gate. the slow start is something Ed Kim of Toronto Toke Tours has seen before south of the border and expected, to the point where he expects to lose money for the first two years of operation.
“The first year of legalization in Colorado was a s*** show,” said Kim. “No one knew what was what, there were no hotels, no support companies. Everyone was kind of winging it. I figure the first year (here) is going to be terrible.