It’s been nearly four months now since the Cannabis Act became law in Canada, giving Manitobans legal access to cannabis. And while the Bill’s passing was viewed by many as a progressive step in the right direction, is there still room for improvement?
Manitoba remains one of only two provinces to not allow home growing (in Manitoba, this is only prohibited without a medical license) and also strictly prohibits the use of cannabis in public.
Cities like Toronto – under more lenient cannabis regulations – are currently planning to offer attractions like ‘Puff & Pottery’ and ‘Ganja Yoga,’ taking full advantage of cannabis tourism, something Manitoba will struggle to do under its current regulations.
“As with any new regulatory measures, there will be opportunities to refine the framework as the market evolves,” says Jordan Sinclair, vice president of media and communications with Canopy Growth Corporation. “Consumption is an interesting policy question. It won’t happen overnight but someday we can envision municipal or provincial regulations dealing with consumption of the product. This is more likely to become a priority once edible products become legally available. If cannabic beverages are as popular as we expect them to be, it’s not unreasonable to imagine restaurants wanting to offer them to meet consumer demand.”
Although we may still be a long way out from being able to order a cannabic drink in a restaurant, it’s certainly not unreasonable to consider how cannabis tourism in Manitoba could evolve over time.
Here’s a look at how some provinces and states are incorporating cannabis into their tourism blueprint:
- Wine and Weed Tours (California): For Californians who enjoy partaking in both cannabis and wine, these tours offer the best of both worlds. The tour bus – complete with a sealed off partition that separates the driver from the smokers – is a legal consumption zone, and the tour takes participants to both cannabis dispensaries and wineries.
- Mile High Massage Therapy (Colorado): Utilizing the relaxation inducing and pain relieving effects of CBD, select massage studios in Colorado offer a relaxing rub down with special lotions infused with THC and CBD.
- Bud and Breakfast: Effectively a cannabis-friendly Airbnb service, Bud and Breakfast is an online travel and lodging service – with more than 50 listings in Canadian provinces, just none in Manitoba yet – that provides safe and legal smoking options for travelers.
- Planet 13 (Nevada): Planet 13 in Las Vegas offers a glimpse at just how elaborate cannabis dispensaries can be. Designed to be an interactive entertainment experience that appeals to both cannabis aficionados and the general public, Planet 13 is host to an aerial orb show, interactive LED floor, guest-created laser graffiti, and, of course, you can purchase a variety of cannabis strains there as well.
- Joint Rolling Experience (British Columbia): Located in the heart of Vancouver’s ‘Pot Block,’ the New Amsterdam Café invites new cannabis users to join its experienced hosts to learn about Canadian cannabis culture, how to properly roll a joint, and enjoy partaking in cannabis for the first time in a safe and friendly environment.
Of course, with legalization still being new to Canada and residents getting to know their provincial regulations, it will likely be quite some time before Manitoba revisits its current regulations. This is simply a snapshot of what some other cities have chosen to do, and what we could possibly see in Winnipeg one day in the future.
“Absolutely,” says Sinclair when asked if he’s optimistic about the possibility of cannabis tourism in Manitoba in the future. “Cannabis tourism requires tourism destinations, so in that sense, we’ll see what Manitobans come up with that draw people to the province.”