Holidays and hash go hand-in-hand for cannabis enthusiasts, but Canada’s mainstream hospitality industry has been slow to explicitly embrace weed since legalization.
It looks as though that’s starting to change. In a recent press release, cannabis-oriented travel advisory Cannabis Hotels bestowed the title of “Canada’s first publicly cannabis-friendly resort” upon Sir Sam’s Inn and Spa, a longstanding adults and couples resort near Haliburton, Ont., about three hours northeast of Toronto.
“I do feel that generally, people have shied away from it in the hospitality industry,” says Jon Massey, director of business development at Sir Sam’s.
“Everybody’s waiting for somebody to go first. I’m proud of what we’re doing.”
In practice, cannabis-friendliness at Sir Sam’s means the issue of cannabis use will be explicitly addressed in the guidebooks that greet each of the resort’s 60 guests in their rooms. Designated smoking areas will be open for cannabis use, and staff will be happy to suggest prime locations on the property for a session.
“The property lends itself, experientially, to using cannabis,” says Massey.
“And that’s why we felt it was important, because it’s not a downtown hotel. You come up here, and you’re in nature, and you’re relaxing by the pool, you’re relaxing by the lake, or you’re choosing to take a walk through nature trails or down one of our country roads. We’re at the base of a ski hill, there’s some phenomenal views in the area.”
“All of that lends itself to a cannabis user’s experience,” Massey adds.
“And if you look at some of the social media posts, some people are saying, ‘Have you ever been there and not (used cannabis)?'”
Massey says the announcement has already received significant local media coverage in Ontario, and feedback so far has been mostly positive. But Sir Sam’s is mindful that not every guest is keen on cannabis, and Massey says the resort will try hard to make sure everyone is comfortable by strictly complying with Ontario’s smoking and vaping legislation.
“This isn’t like a city property, where you walk out onto the street and you’re potentially smoking a joint on a sidewalk. You can’t do that, you have to be 30 feet (or) 9 metres from the building.”
As new, smokeless forms of cannabis become available for legal purchase in the near future, Massey hopes cannabis smoke and vapour will become less of a concern for guests who aren’t interested. In the meantime, he believes the rural property is large enough that everyone should be able to enjoy themselves, no matter their legal intoxicant of choice.
“And that’s how we view it — it’s the same as somebody that enjoys craft beer or wine,” he says.
“This is just a different offering.”