Large-Scale Cannabis Tourism Unlikely in Canada

Even with legalization now a real possibility in Canada, experts are warning that it will be still be years away and may not lead to a significant cannabis tourism industry in the country.

The revenue potential from the recreational cannabis industry was estimated by analyst Aaron Salz to be worth up to $5 billion a year with many interested in getting into the business.

“Since legalization has become a possibility, our phones have been ringing off the hook,” said Chicago-based marijuana consulting company Quantum9 CEO Michael Mayes. ”Entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, private-equity firms have all been reaching out to us.”

But, with legalization now a reality in several U.S. States, many experts don’t expect travellers from America to make the trip to Canada when they can stay within their own borders and visit Colorado, Washington, Oregon or Alaska.

Even that domestic cannabis tourism seems to be a minor part of the business.

“Anecdotally, we hear about people coming here but I wouldn’t call it tourism,” said Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board spokesperson Brian Smith. “It’s not something the state tracks or is trying to encourage.”

The reality may be that by the time Canada legalizes cannabis, so many other jurisdictions will have already done the same that the novelty will have worn off for tourists.

“It’s like Amsterdam; for 40 years, it was the center of the world for weed users,” said Bloc Po spokesperson Hugo St.-Onge. “In 10 years, so many states will change their laws [about cannabis] that people won’t need to travel to get it.”