The West Coast’s deep cannabis roots are sprouting new travel opportunities

A growing interest in cannabis, combined with more weed-friendly businesses, is creating an entire industry of people discovering a wide variety of cannabis opportunities while exploring.

Cannabis legalisation has brought an emerging niche market within the Canadian tourism industry that’s growing from long-established roots in Canadian cannabis culture.

The growing interest in cannabis, combined with the established lore of the Western Canadian pot head, is leveraged into an entire industry of people discovering a wide variety of cannabis opportunities while exploring our beautiful country.

Right up there with the stoner mythic of Amsterdam’s famous red light district, and the classic “Cali-kush” moniker, is the evergreen tag of B.C. bud.

Well before Cannabis legalisation, the idea of cannabis tourism was alive and well, although smaller and more focused toward specific, pot-friendly communities. Growing up on the west coast, the epitome of this pot-smoking, happy-hippy community would be found in the Gulf Islands.

READ MORE: Could Canada become the Napa Valley of cannabis tourism?

On Salt Spring Island, for example, known for the gorgeous atmosphere and friendly locals, make sure to check out the local food and produce at the Saturday farmer’s market, running from early spring through mid-fall. A little bit of cannabis may be the only thing that can elevate the freshest produce, some of the best baked goods on the island, and other hand-made products from neighbourly locals.

Also on the west coast, an honourable mention goes out to the entire Vancouver Island, but especially the small, mid-island surf town of Tofino. Already a popular travel destination, Tofino and the surrounding area is a perfect destination for those looking to escape to the outdoors.

Legalisation has created an overlap in the Venn diagram of the cannabis and tourism industries. Operating within this overlap are businesses like the 420-friendly Hotel Zed Tofino, or Tofino’s Green Cedar Retreat, which aptly describes itself as a “Bud and Breakfast.”

READ MORE: Cannabis tourism in Canada: The problems … and the potential

Businesses like these take advantage of the cannabis tourism industry perfectly, offering a laid-back approach and safe atmosphere that allow users to adventure out and discover at their own pace.

Others have set companies up to deliver a much more tailored cannabis experience leading people through an elevated appreciation of their favourite plant.

One example is Cannanaskis, located in Calgary, Alberta which offers a “History of Cannabis Tour” through the beautiful Kananaskis country. For those who already know their history, Cannanaskis also offers to “elevate your artistry” with a two-hour, outdoor guided painting session for adults at “Park Park,” aptly dubbed: “Calgary’s coolest parking lot.”

And honestly, they’re absolutely correct, though I never imagined I would ever think: “You really gotta see this parking lot!”

But the fun isn’t all on the west coast, either – another all-time classic destination for cannabis tourism is in and around the Greater Toronto Area.

From “bud and breakfasts,” to cannabis-cooking classes, “toke tours” of Toronto, all the way back to relaxing with a joint is the great outdoors, Toronto is a can’t-miss spot to put pot on the map.

For those looking for less cannabis-centric activities, Toronto is filled with classic tourism opportunities that happen to pair wonderfully with the high life: visit the CN Tower, Casa Loma, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum, check out a Blue Jays, Raptors, or Maple Leafs game, and round it out with a celebrated restaurant scene perfect for satisfying those munchies!

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