Ontario to Open Door to Cannabis Tourism?

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Many were disappointed back in September, 2017 when the Ontario government announced that cannabis consumption in the province would be limited to private residences. However, it now appears that Ontario may be opening the door to cannabis tourism in the province.

This week the Ontario government released a partial proposed regulations framework under its provincial Cannabis Act, 2017 and in particular proposed regulations pertaining to places of use.

Under the proposed regulatory framework, the province is proposing a limited exemption to permit the use of recreational cannabis in hotel, motel and inn rooms.  Under the proposed regulation, registered guests or invited guests of registered guests would be permitted to use recreational cannabis in a hotel, motel or inn room, provided the room is primarily designated as a sleeping accommodation and the cannabis is not being smoked or vaped.  The smoking or vaping of cannabis would only be permitted in designated smoking rooms…”

In addition to hotel rooms, the province has indicated that it is proactively exploring the feasibility and implications of potential approaches that would provide more options for where people can consume cannabis, including:

  • permitting licensed and regulated cannabis consumption lounges and venues; and
  • permitting owners and operators of multi-unit dwellings to designate outdoor areas for the consumption of recreational cannabis (which may pave the way for landlords to restrict use within individual units themselves).

Additionally, the province is considering allowing the consumption of recreational cannabis in boats with permanent sleeping accommodations and permanent cooking and sanitary facilities while the boat is at anchor or secured to a dock or land.  Boats used to carry passengers for hire would not be included in the exemption.

These exemptions, if enacted, would mark a significant departure from the province’s initial plan to allow consumption in private residences only and would open the door for a wide range of tourism and other business opportunities within the province.

Unrelated to business and tourism, but nevertheless very important, the proposed regulatory framework also addresses issues such as:

  • the transportation of medical cannabis;
  • consumption of medical cannabis by passengers in vehicles and boats;
  • consumption in vehicles and boats which are private residences; and
  • consumption in workplaces which are located in private residences

Additionally, the province has made it clear that it intends to restrict the use of cannabis in places such as:

  • A school within the meaning of the Education Act;
  • A building or the grounds surrounding the building of a private school within the meaning of the Education Act, where the private school is the only occupant of the premises, or the grounds annexed to a private school, where the private school is not the only occupant of the premises;
  • A child care centre within the meaning of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014; and
  • A place where an early years program or service is provided within the meaning of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014.

The government is seeking feedback on its proposed regulatory framework and will be accepting submissions until March 5, 2018.  You can have your say here.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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