Tourism business opportunities await as Ontario mulls cannabis in hotels, lounges, RVs

Ontario is weighing leisure cannabis consumption in resorts, lounges and RVs, a transfer that might create a “‘potentially huge” new tourism business in Canada’s most-populous province if the principles are adopted, in response to business leaders.

The proposals are a part of up to date laws revealed by the province and launched for public remark.

The business-friendly measures characterize a serious about-face for a province that has stated it’ll allow consumption of leisure cannabis solely in personal residences when legalization comes into drive later this yr.

Critics have stated proscribing consumption to non-public houses is problematic for vacationers, individuals dwelling with youngsters and people who stay in cities, the place authorized cannabis consumption can be troublesome due to proximity to neighbors.

Industry and authorities leaders say the proposals would largely tackle these considerations and create opportunities for the personal sector to capitalize on a brand new business, particularly in tourism-heavy areas of the province.

Wayne Thomson, metropolis councilor and chairman of Niagara Falls Tourism, sees the area’s sightseeing business getting a “substantial” increase if the proposed laws are absolutely embraced.

How a lot?

Entrepreneur Clarke Bitter stated Niagara Falls, which attracted 14 million vacationers in 2017, might see as a lot as a 25% increase.

“The sky’s the limit. People from everywhere want to come and see Niagara Falls. Add cannabis to that, and it becomes more attractive,” he stated, including that marijuana’s financial worth might simply rival the area’s wine business.

Bitter recognized potential business opportunities for consumption lounges, micro-cultivation and, down the street, “bakeries.”

The proposals: A better look

The proposed modifications to Ontario’s Cannabis Act, 2017 have been posted to the Regulatory Registry, an internet portal for laws that would have an effect on companies.

The Ministry of the Attorney General is contemplating licensing cannabis lounges post-legalization and permitting house owners of multi-unit dwellings to designate outside areas for consumption.

But that’s not all.

Under proposed guidelines, consumption can be allowed in boats with everlasting sleeping lodging and everlasting cooking and sanitary amenities.

Boats must be anchored or secured to a dock or land, which might even be exempt from the consumption prohibition.

However, boats couldn’t be rented out for cannabis consumption, as a result of vessels employed to hold passengers wouldn’t be included in the exemption.

Recreational cannabis can be permitted in a car outfitted with sleeping lodging and cooking amenities when the car is parked and getting used as a residence, such as RVs.

Another proposal would permit the smoking or vaping of leisure cannabis in long-term care houses underneath the identical circumstances in which tobacco could be smoked.

Cannabis tourism

Before the current announcement, Ontario had already been contemplating following in Alberta’s footsteps by permitting lodge house owners to allow leisure marijuana consumption, Marijuana Business Daily discovered in December.

The province can be the primary to additionally license lounges and permit consumption in motor automobiles.

“For businesses like ours, this is tremendous news,” stated Matt Cronin, CEO and founding father of Canada High Tours, which plans to rearrange cannabis-friendly excursions when the nation legalizes marijuana this summer time.

The firm says it has 45 excursions listed for Toronto and 60 native tour hosts signed up throughout Canada.

“This is potentially huge,” Cronin stated. “This now gives Canada High Tours a lot more flexibility in terms of our tour and experience structure but was something we were hopeful of right from the start.”

Matt Maurer, head of the Cannabis Law Group at Minden Gross in Toronto, concurs.

“There’s no reason to think that, if and when nonresidents are given a venue where they can legally consume cannabis, there will not be an influx of people coming here for that purpose, in whole or in part,” he stated.

Tony Elenis, president and CEO of the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel & Motel Association, stated there could possibly be “significantly huge growth in revenues for businesses” which are capable of seize a bit of the market, such as motels.

“The industry needs whatever it can get right now,” he stated, particularly in locations with a heavy focus of worldwide vacationers.

“As far as a big boost for the hospitality industry, absolutely. It would be another option to sell a product that they don’t have now.”

If the principles are adopted, laws and licensing necessities might look just like these at present used to manage alcohol institutions, stated business lawyer Jacquie Richards.

“Although they would also need to account for cannabis-specific issues such as protecting people, especially youth, from secondhand smoke,” added Richards, who works in the marijuana group at Cassels Brock, a Canadian agency specializing in company and securities counsel for the MJ sector.

Some lounge curiosity

After the Ontario authorities shut out marijuana retail entrepreneurs, lounge proprietors in the province felt the door was left barely open for the eventual licensing of cannabis consumption at their institutions.

Now, that’s formally on the desk: The province is contemplating granting permits for licensed and controlled cannabis consumption lounges.

Abi Roach – director of the Cannabis Friendly Business Association and proprietor of Hotbox Cafe in Toronto – stated the proposed modifications can be good for business and public well being.

“I think there’s a need for a space where people can interact with the product, the same way they do with alcohol,” she stated, noting lounges would offer a protected place for consumption away from youngsters and parks and out of public view.

Roach is also advocating for the power to promote single-serve cannabis merchandise for onsite consumption however is towards co-locating alcohol and cannabis gross sales as a result of it “encourages a bad mix.”

“At the Hotbox, 60% of our customers in the summer are tourists,” she stated. “They want an area to eat, they usually additionally need to work together with the locals … get a really feel for the neighborhood and take heed to some music.

“There is an opportunity, if done properly.”

Matt Lamers may be reached at [email protected]

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