5 Most Cannabis Friendly Cities in Canada
Although cannabis was legalized for recreational use across Canada in October 2018 there are still some cities across Canada that are more cannabis-friendly than others. This is our list of the five most cannabis-friendly cities in Canada from West to East.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Of course, Vancouver was going to make the list and it only comes first because we are starting in the west, but some may say that it is still one of the most cannabis-friendly cities in the country. Vancouver has had a thriving cannabis culture and a reputation for being a cannabis-friendly city for years and played a big roll in the growth of available dispensaries as well as led the charge toward the legalization of recreational cannabis. In 2020, Vancouver celebrated 26 years of 420 festivals.
Following legalization, cannabis is able to be smoked in public, anywhere where it is also acceptable to smoke cigarettes. And it is available at a growing number of dispensaries throughout the city. Currently, there are almost 300 dispensaries in the province and 30 in the city of Vancouver. There are many beautiful locations to consume cannabis in the city of Vancouver including Stanley Park, many of the beaches such as English Bay, Sunset Beach or Kitsilano Beach, or you could even take it up one of the mountains. Vancouver also has cannabis-friendly locations such as the Amsterdam Café.
Honourable mention to British Columbia’s capital city Victoria. As a city populated with many students, a thriving art scene, and many beautiful parks and gorgeous scenery it’s no wonder that Victoria is a notably cannabis-friendly city as well.
People may not see Calgary as a largely cannabis-focused city but the industry is growing quickly in the province of Alberta. Between legalization in Oct 2018 and this time last year (Septemeber 2019), Alberta made up 22% of the national legal sales despite only containing 12% of the population and dispensaries continue to open all over the province.
Calgary also hosts HempFest Cannabis Expo, which following legalization now includes a legal cannabis competition- The HempFest Cup.
Though there is one downside. In Alberta, at the moment, cannabis users are unable to smoke in public places; which is not ideal for travellers. However, public smoking is permitted in Lethbridge, Alberta (two hours south of Calgary), so we hope to see more options for public smoking or designated smoking places like cafes in Calgary soon.
Another very cannabis-friendly city, that allows public smoking in many places, is Toronto. One of the most well-known cannabis-friendly areas in Toronto is the Kensignton Market and a must-see for cannabis users travelling to the city. Kensington Market is the home to the HotBox Smoke Lounge called the POTio, where like-minded people can relax. Similar to Vancouver, Toronto also has numerous beautiful locations to smoke cannabis such as Trinity Bell Woods Park and Cherry Beach.
Toronto has a thriving 420 festival and Global Marijuana March as well as hosts a Cannabis Lift Expo in June.
An added bonus for those living in Toronto, the province-run Ontario Cannabis Store has started offering same-day delivery to many parts of the city.
Unfortunately, in North Bay, where TOKE’s first retail cannabis store is located the public smoking regulations are more strict. Have questions about smoking regulations in the city? Come talk to us, cannabis is our favourite topic and if we don’t know we will help you find the answers you’re looking for.
Despite the fact that the province of Quebec has a well-founded reputation for not being very cannabis-friendly the city of Montreal is an exception. Following the legalization of cannabis for recreational use in Canada, Quebec made the regulations in the province more strict than the rest of the country by raising the legal minimum age to 21 as well as prohibiting cannabis use in any public place including both indoors and outdoors. That being said, the mayor of Montreal stated, in February 2019, that it would be ‘impossible to enforce a ban on public smoking in the city’ and that municipalities should have the right to decide what makes sense in their city.
In Quebec, Cannabis can only be legally purchased through the Société Québécoise du Cannabis, which currently has only three locations in the city of Montreal. Although other dispensaries are likely still in operation in many parts of the city.
Even though the province of Quebec continues to attempt to make cannabis regulations more strict, cannabis smoking is part of the culture of the city of Montreal and it’s a beautiful place to enjoy cannabis.
During the summer months on Sundays, there is the Tam Tams festival in Montreal which features dancers, drummers, and of course vendors and even though cannabis is not the focus of the festival many of the festival-goers do partake. Some other beautiful locations in the city that are great for consumption include Parc Lafontaine, the Village, and rue. Ste. Catharine’s.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Halifax may come as a surprise to you as being cannabis-friendly but it leads the country in cannabis use in terms of the proportion of cannabis users (23% of the population over the age of fifteen). Although according to recent studies the east coast provinces are the highest consumers of cannabis in the country. In Halifax, this may be a result of the significant portion of the population being university students and having a thriving nightlife.
Halifax hosts the Peace East 420 festival.
Following the legalization of cannabis, Halifax implemented the Smoke-free Places Act which puts many limits on the smoking of cannabis in public places. Although there are some designated smoking areas in various areas of the city. And other consumption methods are an option.
Celebrate Cannabis Culture Across Canada
The legalization of recreational cannabis has created specific regulations around cannabis use but in most cases has not impacted the established cannabis culture in cannabis-friendly cities. It’s important to note that regulations surrounding the use of cannabis in public places, such as parks and beaches, tend to focus specifically on cannabis that is smoked. As the cannabis industry grows, more options for cannabis consumption become available, including edibles, which creates different opportunities for people to enjoy cannabis.
At TOKE, we are all former members of Canada’s “legacy market” or “free market”, where we knowingly took risks to ensure that Canadians were never without high-quality, accessibly-priced cannabis. For years, we stuck our neck out with a mission to see cannabis eventually legalized, so that cannabis wouldn’t have to be bought and sold in the shadows. As the industry continues to grow and develop we hope to see cities make informed decisions about cannabis use and regulate cannabis smoking in a manner that is fair.