Locals Hope Cannabis Tourism Can Replace Chocolate Factory Visitors – LPC

Rolling Greens Golf Club represents the new wave of cannabis tourism.
Rolling Greens Golf Club represents the new wave of cannabis tourism.

Smith Falls, Ont. is hoping that cannabis tourism will be able to replace the loss of tourists to the town when the Hersey’s chocolate factory closed in 2008. Local entrepreneur Gordon Weiske said that the factory attracted 250,000 visitors per year. That’s a big loss for a town of only 10,000 that relies on tourist dollars.

Canopy Growth now owns the space for its cannabis operations, and Wieske is hoping it will help attract up to double the visitors.

“When there was a chocolate factory, they were averaging about a quarter million visitors to the factory,” Weiske said. “Estimates right now are anywhere between 250,000 to half a million tourists are going to start flocking to Smiths Falls. A lot of that will be foreign tourists, as well.”

Weiske is jumping on the Smith Falls cannabis tourism bandwagon as well. In 2018, he purchased the Lombard Glen Golf and Country Club. He plans to re-open it in April 2019 under a new name: Rolling Greens Golf Club. As the name suggests, it will be a cannabis-themed golf course – though with a twist. Rolling Greens will also feature night golf, Frisbee golf, and mini-putt. Weiske also plans to incorporate other ideas to make it an entertainment destination within the cannabis tourism industry.

“We’re the first ones, that I’m aware of, that really went for it. We took over an existing club; we completely re-branded it,” he said.

Tourism a Forgotten Part of the Cannabis Business – LPC

Wieske said that he also hopes to change the perception of what “cannabis business” means.

“I think a lot of people, while they’re focusing on being growers or sellers, they’re forgetting the other big business sectors.”

Cannabis is hitting the mainstream in other ways. Barney’s recently announced plans for The High End, a luxury cannabis boutique. Montreal-based Nannette de Gaspé was invited to include its cannabis-based beauty product “Bain Noir” in the 2019 Oscars Swag Bag.

Cannabis tourism is a part of the new wave of cannabis businesses. Weiske said he was contacted by Bob Weeks, a golf reporter, and the Rolling Greens Golf Club story went viral. Since then, he’s had media requests from Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands, he said.

“This was the first kind of fun story that’s cannabis-related that’s come out since legalization, and I think that is why everybody is just running with it.”

He hopes the media coverage will help launch Smith Falls as a cannabis tourism destination worldwide.

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