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Across Canada, entrepreneurs are looking at a new niche business growing rapidly thanks to growing interest in the country’s cannabis landscape: tours and specialized cannabis-heavy experiences.

These companies take visitors on excursions related to the history, cultural impact and, in some cases, the intoxicating high of cannabis. One such operator, Canada High Tours, launched when Canada legalized cannabis on Oct. 17 and says it offers “an insiders view to many of the unseen special places in the cities, whether they are an insight to local street art, markets, hidden parks, bike rides etc, especially now with many provinces aligning cannabis consumption with their smoke free laws,” according to CEO/founder Matt Cronin.

“This has enabled the cannabis community as a whole, not just tourists, the freedom to light up pretty much anywhere cigarette smoking is allowed. Our guides are there to 'guide' them in this regard so our guests can smoke a joint freely during our tours and not afoul of the law.”

Currently, they works out of Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal. Cronin adds that their “offerings are constantly evolving and we also have relationships with hoteliers/BnB's that offer a cannabis consumption space so we are looking to tie those into 'packages'.”

Keenan Hall’s The Movement Tours operates out of Vancouver provides tours for the general public as well as specialized and private events. For example, Hall says in an interview, if a client wants to learn about cooking with cannabis, The Movement can come by a residence with the appropriate tech and tools to offer a private class.

“But we can’t provide the cannabis for these kinds of events,” Hall cautions, “and so the client has to provide the product.”

This firm will also pair an educational tour on cannabis’s role in Vancouver and Canadian culture with ancillary events. “In one tour, you can visit a VR arcade and play some games,” Hall says. “A lot of our customers are excited about those kinds of things.”

But to be more than a passing fad post-legalization, cannabis tourism businesses need to look to another industry for inspiration, according to experts. Frederic Dimanche, the Director of Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, says the microbrewery market has won over tourists with unique tours, sometimes bundled together by region.

“These cannabis tours need a package of experiences,” he adds. “It can’t just be about smoking some cannabis, because that’s such a common thing to do now in Canada.”

He also refers to Amsterdam as one of the first few cities to bake cannabis tourism into its bid for a visitor’s attention. But since Canada so far doesn’t allow cannabis in lounges or cafes, tour operators have to be more creative with the experiences they create for their customers.

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