Where and when will cannabis consumption be allowed? What’s next for the tourism and hospitality industry in welcoming cannabis consumers? How can cannabis retail stores work with the community to develop tourism opportunities?
These are just a few of the questions to ask as Canada undergoes this paradigm shift following prohibition.
While the roots and culture of cannabis in Canada run deep, the newly legalized world is uncharted territory. Through collaboration, we get to be the leaders in forging responsible cannabis tourism, benefiting all Canadians by delivering job creation and economic growth.
Local retailers can work together to support the creation of tourism activities in their communities. Cannabis stores have an incredible opportunity to work with local tour companies and guides who are passionate educators seeking local content and experiences to share with guests. It is time for us to team up in welcoming cannabis consumers.
Consider hosting local events. Find educators with the skills to teach, and invite them into your workplace. Let tour operators know about the events that you are planning and see if they want to include these in their itineraries. The more we can educate the public, the easier it will be to break the stigma associated with cannabis.
As a local business, it can be challenging but also rewarding to develop tourism opportunities around you. Go out to cannabis-related events and talk to people. Put up postings online, seek out entrepreneurs with cannabis tourism ideas and join the National Association of Cannabis Tourism (NACT).
Tour Guides are Your Friends
Toronto, Vancouver, and Victoria currently have cannabis education tours available. For example, in Vancouver, The Movement Tours and High Definition Tours both offer educational experiences that focus on the history of cannabis culture and the current regulations, enabling guests to make informed choices about the current market.
How can these local tours help share your story and your brand? As guides, they like to point out local, legal retailers to inform our visitors.
Look for Partners in Hospitality
Canada has few, if any, legal consumption lounges. One success story from the East Coast is possibly Canada’s first cannabis tourism destination. The Cannabis Control Act of Prince Edward Island permits licensed accommodation owners to designate an outdoor cannabis consumption area for their guests.
The Cannabis Control Act of Prince Edward Island permits licensed accommodation owners to designate an outdoor cannabis consumption area for their guests.
Gocanna CEO and NACT founding member, Shaman Ferraro worked closely with Green Island Getaways (a Gocanna Approved Member) to satisfy guests’ needs offering accommodations and alcohol licensed service areas, separate from the cannabis consumption areas, on private property. Cannabis consumption is allowed at the owner’s discretion. Best known as a rustic wedding event space and vacation retreat, this unique property does not consider itself a cannabis resort, yet is proud to accommodate guests who choose to consume their own cannabis.
Private property owners with B&B or a small resort might consider similar best practices and guest satisfaction strategies. As retailers, you’ll want to know who they are to connect with them.
Toronto will see the long-standing Hot Box Café in Kensington Market (tagline: “Serving potheads since ah…we forgot”) re-open their cannabis consumption POTio this summer, along with a mobile version of the Café at the Craft Beer Festival at Ontario Place, June 21 to 23. Abi Roach, caring trailblazer, once again, leads the way for sensible solutions, working with local lawmakers, providing a safe place with safe consumption methods off the streets and away from parks.
The Hot Box Café POTio requires patrons to bring their own cannabis. They removed the food and drink services offered by the lounge before legalization, and proposed a delivery service from a nearby business. They continue to fight for changes to the Smoke-free Ontario Act.
Who will be Next?
Who will be next to embrace legal or licensed cannabis lounges? Only time will tell which of our brave provinces and municipalities will lead the way. As consumption lounges open across Canada, retailers should reach out to connect with them.
Currently, cannabis smoking is generally permitted where cigarette smoking is allowed. In Alberta, some hotels have smoking rooms, yet to date, the Alberta Hotel Association is not aware of any properties allowing cannabis.
For places to allow non-combustible forms of consumption like edibles and beverages, provinces and municipalities will need to be involved.
Now is the time for the next wave of innovation. We must work together with hospitality professionals and local lawmakers to develop solutions that exceed guest expectations.
Remember to remind tourists visiting your store and purchasing products that cannabis must not be accessible in cars to drivers or passengers, and that driving while impaired is illegal. Adults should be advised against mixing cannabis and alcohol. Lastly, flying with cannabis is allowed on domestic flights within Canada, but not on international flights, or while crossing any international borders. Consider offering a responsible consumption guide, which includes legal consumption rules in your community.
Connect with NACT
NACT is a Canadian non-profit industry association advocating for responsible, safe, and accessible tourism that involves cannabis. It encourages cannabis education and experiences, along with celebrating the culture and history of our cannabis community across Canada.
NACT Canada is interested in hearing from you if you are a cannabis-friendly establishment. We are also interested in hearing from you to learn about what you see as the future of cannabis tourism. We will showcase tourism experiences that enhance our fantastic reputation for warm and friendly hospitality here in Canada.
Consider joining NACT to connect with Gocanna, High Definition Tours, The Movement Tours, and the growing network of cannabis tourism industry professionals. Together we get to create the future of hospitality, tourism, service, and innovation. Our collective job is to find a way to deliver welcoming, safe, and memorable experiences.
As retailers, you hear from Canadian’s travelling within Canada and our overseas visitors. Why not start a conversation with them, asking what services or activities they want?
What is your role in this future? It is ours to create. We look forward to working with you!