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Chamber event to discuss Cannabis Tourism in Smiths Falls well-attended

by | Jul 22, 2019 | Local News | 0 comments

Cannabis Tourism and Smiths Falls’ role in shaping it was at the heart of a very well attended Smiths Falls and District Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting on Friday, July 19th. 

Considering the event was only five days in planning and execution, there were a surprising number of local business leaders, tourism leaders, town staff, and Councillors.

“Today we want to start the conversation on Cannabis tourism.  Canada is the petri dish for Cannabis legalization, and here in Smiths Falls we can shape Cannabis Tourism any way we want, ” said Leslie Richardson, Chamber manager.

Following introductions by Richardson and Councillor Wendy Alford, each of the Keynote speakers presented key points and opened the floor to questions and discussion.

“Think about what you can bring to Cannabis Tourism. We need there to be an ecosystem of activities to attract day trippers,” said Jordan Sinclair, VP Communications, Canopy Growth.

Sinclair pointed out that Canopy Growth is currently working with the province to get approval for highway signage, to direct travellers to the visitor centre and Smiths Falls.

“In order to be a tourist draw, we need more things downstream, there needs to be a diversity of choices and options and we need to pool resources,” said Nathaniel Giufrida-Morris, president of Canada’s Cannabis Project and CEO of William Bond AI.

The Chamber has adopted a Cannabis Committee to work with businesses looking to dive into the cannabis pool, to share resources in what Giufrida-Morris terms “co-opetition.”

“For example some financial institutions are very slow to issue that $50,000 note of credit because its an unusual circumstance.  So what we’re planning on doing is going to a bunch of financial institutions, finding the ones that that are most willing to do this and then channeling all the interested businesses there,” said Giufrida-Morris.

Once an individual or consortium wins the lottery for a retail space, there’s a lot more hoops to jump through.

“The lottery just gives you permission to enter this, you’ve then got to go apply for a license, you need to show floor planning, you could easily spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants and security professionals to spec that out,” said Giufrida-Morris, adding that the expertise and experience is available to pool the resources to help get people across the finish line, without having to re-invent the wheel every time.

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