Cannabis Tourism: Could new Legislation give Windsor’s Economy a new High?

Weed, mary jane, kush, grass; whatever you want to call it, marijuana will soon be recreationally legal in Canada. Many will be looking to jump on the growing band wagon that is the pot industry. The legalization of cannabis will likely lead to new business opportunities in cities across Canada, yet it may stir up a different kind of economic buzz in border cities. With pot still prohibited in states like Ohio and Michigan (unless you have a prescription), Windsor will soon become the closest place with totally legal weed.

Americans in Michigan and Ohio who are interested could drive an hour or so and they’ll find themselves in a spot where they don’t need a prescription for some bud; most of all, they don’t need to worry about being prosecuted for possession. However, what really sparks excitement on this side of the border is the money making magic of marijuana.

According to a 2016 article in the Denver Post (who’s home page includes a cannabis section), Colorado set tourism records drawing 7.7 million out of state visitors. Tourists in Colorado spent $19.1 billion in 2015, an all-time high; the state pocketed a cool $1.13 billion’s worth of state and local taxes.

Canada could stand to perform as well as Colorado, but the cities that will want to get rolling with legal pot should be border communities. Jon Leidtke owns Windsor cannabis lounge “Higher Limits” which is Canada’s largest cannabis lounge and is excited for the legalization to happen.

“Border communities are definitely poised to benefit greatly…” said Leidtke. “Within an hour’s radius of Windsor there’s like 10 million people.”

Alexander Newman, the owner of “Endless Heights”, a smoke shop in Windsor is looking forward to the prospect of cannabis tourism .

“We’ve been noticing a higher number of Americans coming over…” said Newman, “I think you’re going to see a lot of marijuana tourism.”

Jesse Joesph, who works at Petes’s Pipes talks about what he would like to see in the government’s plan to legalize pot.

With the Trudeau government recently announcing plans to introduce legislation that will have Canadians sparking up in time for Canada Day fireworks in 2018; it’s no longer a question of if, no longer a question of when, only a question of how? Though the legislation hasn’t been announced, it looks like provinces will be the ones regulating the distribution of pot. Ontario faces an election in June of 2018; how the government plans to distribute cannabis may be a major talking point in the election. Currently the elected government likely faces two options, monopolize it, similar to how alcohol is distributed, or allow private, licensed sale; the decision they makes will influence the price for years to come. Fortunately for Windsor, it shouldn’t matter too much to Americans, who enjoy a stronger dollar and generally suffer through higher prices on the street.

Though the legalization of pot will certainly have mixed reviews and some tough decisions ahead, one thing is certain, it could give Windsor’s economy a high it could really use.

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