It is not just Canada’s western province of Alberta who will have cannabis connoisseurs enjoying marijuana at lounges or hotel rooms once the nationwide legalization hits on July 1. In the east, Ontario is eying the same luxury.
Lawyer Matt Maurer, who heads the cannabis law group at Minden Gross in Toronto, told the Ottawa Citizen daily that if the proposal goes through, this will spur cannabis tourism in Ontario.
Ontario’s provincial government passed a cannabis act in December, which banned marijuana consumption in public places. For Maurer, he assumed Ontario would eventually consider exemptions to the act.
But he was “surprised that it happened so quickly.”
Maurer says consumption in hotels is “step No. 1” in the development of a cannabis tourism industry.
“You could come to Ontario, go to the government-owned retail store, pick up your cannabis, head out to the hotel room, consume it there and head out to wherever you are going that evening, to a show or an event.”
Businesses are already preparing to make cannabis tourism a must attraction.
Abi Roach, who runs a cannabis vaping lounge in Toronto called Hotbox Cafe, said she is helping design a cannabis-themed room at a hotel to be built in downtown Toronto.
But Roach is already seeing competition coming from nine U.S. states which have already legalized marijuana with trendy California being the biggest.
She said some of these U.S. states have taken a more creative approach while Ontario is planning more of a restricted way of selling cannabis from government-run stores.
She said people want to enjoy the experience and prefer innovative products from craft producers.
“Canada really has to be careful in terms of blocking innovation in this industry.”
Roach, herself, experienced the joy of ease being in U.S. states that have already legalized marijuana.
Recently she drove from Vancouver to Washington State, where she purchased a joint at a gas station.
“To me as a tourist, it was like, ‘Wow, this is great!’”
In Canada, Alberta was the first province which proposed to allow marijuana consumption in hotel rooms where tobacco is already permitted.