Cannabis aficionados can start making their travel plans now after the Ontario government has officially opened the province’s doors for cannabis tourism.
In late April, the provincial government quietly drafted and filed Ontario Regulation 325/18 made under the Provincial Cannabis Act, 2017. No public announcement was made after the Regulation was filed, and its existence for most people did not come to light until recently when it was printed in the Ontario Gazette on May 12, 2018.
Although short (only 9 sections), the Regulation is an important one as it deals with restrictions and exemptions on places of cannabis consumption within the province.
One of the most notable exemptions is contained in section 3 which allows for the consumption of cannabis in a guest room of a hotel, motel or inn provided that:
(a) the person is a registered guest of the hotel, motel or inn, or is the invited guest of a registered guest;
(b) the guest room is designated primarily as sleeping accommodation; and
(c) in the case of consumption by smoking or through an electronic cigarette (which includes vaping), the guest room meets certain conditions set out in the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017.
Allowing consumption in hotels, motels and inns is a significant departure from Ontario’s initial position on consumption. Back in September, 2017, the Ontario government announced that cannabis consumption would be limited to private residences. However, in January, 2018 the province released a partial proposed regulatory framework which indicated that the province was in fact considering allowing an exemption for hotels, motels and inns.
We now know that the province will be following through on that proposed framework and that adult visitors to the province will be permitted to consume cannabis in their guest rooms in establishments that elect to allow consumption.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out on a practical level once recreational use of cannabis is permitted, both in terms of how this may impact tourism revenue and whether it will lead to an expanded late-night offering in room service menus across the province.