Cannabis tourism in Canada has helped normalise a leisure activity still seen as ‘deviant’ in some quarters, a new study has found.

Researchers created a database of all Canadian cannabis tourism businesses, then conducted a qualitative review of the first two years of recreational legalisation in the country.

They discovered there was a significant growth in acceptance by the public of cannabis if it was presented to tourists as legally separate from other (illegal) drugs.

Study co-author Sanjay Nepal from the University of Waterloo said: “Tourism is an already existing social institution. Packaging cannabis and tourism together at the federal level has broken down moral barriers to legal domestic cannabis use.” 

“This broader social acceptance could convince decision makers to embrace Canada’s reputation for cannabis. Like California’s reputation for wine.”

The researchers said the study serves as a blueprint for others around the world to examine how, by legally disassociating cannabis from other illicit drugs and presenting it as a legitimate tourism option, they can unlock new revenue streams while advancing social acceptance for domestic users.

Nepal added: “Canada is already known for its geography. With the social stigma removed, cannabis cultivation could be elevated as another attractive feature of our landscape, adding another lucrative dimension to our unique international tourist appeal.”

The study was published in the journal Tourism Review International.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...