The U.S. has its Napa Valley wine tourism. The French Riviera has its incredible beaches and fine cuisine. Switzerland has the Alps, where skiing is the hot thing for tourists. Now, some in Canada think they have figured out the next big tourist draw that could help them compete with other countries: cannabis.
Canada legalized cannabis just about two years ago. In the short time since, public acceptance of the plant and its cannabinoids has grown in leaps and bounds. But that’s not all. Research out of the University of Guelph suggests that Canada has the opportunity to develop a cannabis tourism industry on par with wine tourism in the Napa Valley.
So Many Similarities
The idea is not as far-fetched as it may sound. Think about it. The wine making and cannabis industries have so many similarities that it is almost frightening. Tourism within the cannabis trade could highlight everything from cultivation to processing and actual consumption.
Tourists visiting the Napa Valley can enjoy all sorts of tours through vineyards and wine-making operations. Canadian tourist operators could run the same sorts of tours for the cannabis industry. Wine tastings become cannabis samplings. Discussions on grape varieties become lectures on cannabis strains. The possibilities are endless.
Key to a booming cannabis tourism market would be expert cultivators and connoisseurs similar to the wine making industry’s vintners and sommeliers. Get the right experts plugged in to the right audiences and you have something potentially big.
A Different Kind of Tourism
No doubt that some Canadians would object to developing a cannabis tourism market. They may object based on what they know of other cannabis tourist destinations, mainly Amsterdam. Yet Amsterdam is to the cannabis industry what Munich is to the alcohol industry.
Tourists travel to Munich every fall to enjoy the incredible party that is Oktoberfest. If they want to see vineyards and participate in wine tastings, they go to southern France. Likewise, the proposal for a Canadian cannabis tourism market is based on creating something completely different from Amsterdam.
Tourism Based on Products
Proprietors looking to get in on the tourist trade without running a growing operation could take another angle: helping tourists explore the many non-flower cannabis products now on the market. It would be similar to tourist offerings in the cheese making regions of France.
According to the owners of Salt Lake City cannabis dispensary Beehive Farmacy, the variety of cannabis products now being produced continues to grow. Products are somewhat limited in Utah due to state laws against recreational use, but innovation is exploding in recreational states.
In addition to plant and vaping products, recreational cannabis users can help themselves to tablets and capsules tinctures and oils, and all sorts of edibles ranging from cookies to gummies and cannabis-infused beverages. Each product had something to offer in terms of introducing tourists to how it is made and where it originates from.
Halfway There Already
Researchers behind the University of Guelph study say that Canada is already half way to a dynamic cannabis tourism market by virtue of the fact that the federal government already supports what little cannabis tourism currently exists. The researchers say that now is the time to seize on federal support to fully develop the industry.
Mention cannabis tourism and most North American minds tend to think of Amsterdam. That may change if a certain group of Canadian researchers have any say over the matter. Convince the right people to move forward and Canada could develop a cannabis tourism industry that rivals Napa Valley’s wine tourism.