Manitoba A Step Behind Other Provinces When It Comes To Cannabis Consumption Spaces
Other provinces take the lead, allowing cannabis consumption at festivals, events and in lounges
Some festivals allow cannabis consumption in designated areas, including the Calgary Folk Music Festival.
Why can you consume cannabis at music festivals in B.C. and Ontario, but not in Manitoba? It has nothing to do with the federal laws and standards set out by the Cannabis Act, which everyone in the cannabis industry wants reviewed and overhauled as promised.
Provinces are allowed to set specific laws of their own on cannabis-related issues, and cities can impose their own bylaws that are even stricter than federal regulations. Progressive provinces are choosing to relax restrictions within reason to allow public consumption of cannabis in designated outdoor spaces, consumption lounges and at music festivals.
In Ontario, B.C. and Alberta, cannabis consumption is generally only prohibited wherever smoking tobacco is prohibited, along with a few other public spaces including schools, hospitals, playgrounds and wherever children might gather. See full list here. In contrast, consuming cannabis in public is prohibited anywhere in Manitoba, and that includes music festivals, street festivals, Bomber games, Goldeye’s games, Jets games and so on.
People have been consuming cannabis at music festivals for decades, and that won’t stop anytime soon, so why not have a designated area for cannabis lovers to enjoy themselves? If we can have a beer garden, why can’t we have a weed garden? Festivals in Ontario, B.C. and Alberta are already doing it, and Manitoba is getting left behind.
Delta 9 was licensed to sell cannabis at two of Manitoba’s largest music festivals, Dauphin’s Countryfest and at Rockin’ the Fields of Minnedosa, through our mobile cannabis store, but after purchasing their favourite weed, consumers were only allowed to smoke it back at their campsites, which are considered private residences. There were no designated consumption areas.
Delta 9 was licensed to sell cannabis at two of Manitoba’s largest music festivals, including Dauphin’s Countryfest.
In an odd twist, legally purchased cannabis is allowed at some music festivals in Canada, but vendors are not allowed to sell cannabis there. So Manitoba is making progress in one direction, while falling behind in another.
At the Ever After Music Festival slated to take place on from August 12-14 on the Burl's Creek Event Grounds north of Barrie Ontario, legally purchased cannabis will be allowed. According to their FAQ, cannabis must be sealed in Ontario Cannabis Store packaging or from other official government owned sources i.e. dispensaries packaging.
Patrons may only carry personal use amounts of cannabis, which can only be consumed in pre-designated consumption areas within the grounds, and you must be 19+ to enter this area. And absolutely no sale of cannabis is allowed or will be tolerated onsite.
Other festivals to allow cannabis consumption in designated areas include the Toronto Craft Beer Festival, and the Calgary Folk Music Festival.
While the cannabis industry in general across Canada laments the lack of progress toward allowing consumptions spaces, some organizations are already going ahead with them while also following provincial guidelines – which is not possible in Manitoba. At the Behind the Bend Café in Lambton, Ontario, customers can consume cannabis as long as they are 19 or older and have their own legal cannabis with a receipt.
Cannabis consumption lounges have proven to be successful elsewhere – NuWu Cannabis is the biggest dispensary in the world – and so far, the only social-use establishment in Las Vegas.
And it’s not just festivals and consumption spaces that are opening up to the public in other provinces. A new outdoor space to smoke cannabis named Cannabis Carnival recently opened at Grand Bizarre on the Exhibition Place grounds in Toronto, Ontario, where customers can “swim, eat, drink, mingle and now, if they fancy, stroll around the corner and smoke cannabis in a restricted area.”
And in Alberta this summer, the green light was given to allow the delivery of cannabis beverages, edibles and other distilled pot products to fans at live events and festivals in their designated areas, where they can be consumed with food or beverages, as long as the service isn’t being sold with alcohol.
Festivals and consumption lounges form part of a larger cannabis tourism industry around the world that includes events, activities and places that might be part of travel plans that incorporate cannabis. According to an article at TheConversation.com dated April 20, 2022, tourism is the missing piece of Canada’s cannabis legalization puzzle, and Canada could become the world leader in cannabis tourism, if the political will was there.
Cannabis at festivals and events are a move in the right direction, and cannabis consumption lounges that have proven to be successful elsewhere are now starting to take hold in Canada, in the provinces where regulations allow.
Right now, that doesn’t include Manitoba.