Is Canada in Line To Be The Next Amsterdam?
We’re less than a month away from legalization and the question must be asked. Will Canada become the new it destination on the weed tourism circuit? If you ask Trina Fraser, partner and head of the CannaLaw group at Ottawa-based Brazeau Seller Law, the answer is a resounding yes! She sees a bright future for Cannabis-friendly hotels and B&B’s, curated tours and chef experiences.
She sees an strategic advantage for those who happen to live close to the U.S. border. She told Maclean’s: “If you’re close to the U.S. border, if you’re close to production facilities, if you’re in a jurisdiction that provides more leeway for sales—all those factors will combine to create clusters for cannabis-tourism-type businesses,” she says.
It may not be so clear yet. Since each jurisdiction in the country is still defining what is and not acceptable on their territory, that will have a huge impact on cannabis tourism. From Quebec to Manitoba cannabis legislation looks so different.
For example BC will not restrict the amount retail locations in the province, while their business and distribution model will include public and private outlets. In Quebec the landscape is different there will only be 20 government run cannabis outlets as of October 2018. As for Ontario, the incoming Ford administration will allow recreational cannabis to only be available online—through a subsidiary of the provincial liquor board—until a private retail plan is put in place by April 2019.
We have precedents to look to in North America. In Colorado recreational marijuana has been legal for five years and available on the free-market with more than 300 dispensaries across the state.
Maclean’s also reported that according to the Indianapolis-based Strategic Marketing and Research Insights, marijuana’s impact on tourism in Colorado has been relatively limited. Two-thirds of people surveyed between 2013 and 2018 said legal marijuana did not factor in their decision to travel to the state, while approximately a quarter said it did. Less than a tenth said it was the sole reason for their visit.
What these numbers tell us is that Canada as New-Amsterdam is not a done deal. According to Fraser the success of cannabis tourism in Canada will have to rely on a combination of factors, people seeking out specific experiences and people enjoying marijuana simply because it’s available where they’re going.