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This bud's for you. The Howes Group. This month the Canadian government is preparing to legalize recreational adult-use of cannabis and cannabis products. While all the implications of this new bill are still very much unknown, including how to measure intoxication levels for driving, there are some early indicators this new law will affect the events and conference industry. How? Time will tell. The challenge is that we need to anticipate now how things will be in two-, three- and five-years out when our clients’ programs come to fruition.

For some organizations this change of law may offer opportunities in the form of sponsorships while others may simply wish to stay clear of the optics altogether. Cannabis companies are actively soliciting our clients in the medical fields in hopes of being tradeshow participants to educate physicians on the medicinal uses of cannabis. It’s all coming a bit fast for folks.

There is a lot to consider. Will you need to amend your insurance policy? I don’t know; however, I would recommend you check to ensure you and your delegates are covered. Since it wasn’t legal until this month, there is a good chance there is no mention in your previous riders.

There has also been a lot of chatter amongst venues on whether or not they will allow any cannabis-related events on their property. It’s hard to believe hotels would turn down business, however there are venues in Colorado which have done just that. While speaking recently to a hotelier, we learned they are taking the same approach to cannabis as they would to alcohol: it is a controlled substance which comes with guidelines to serving/consuming on property.

The first thing that came to my mind was who is the ‘on-site neighbour’ of our clients’ programs. Folks will need to have discussions amongst themselves on where they stand on the issue.  Are you ok with a cannabis event next to your conference? The other day while on a site visit, I saw hotel lobby pillars and elevators branded with very large marijuana leaves. It took me a moment to process the many reactions others would have, including my own.

The economics of this budding industry are significant and in no time will integrate into the hospitality industry. Curiously, will cannabis events have a larger than average F&B budget?  Will we one day in the near future be looking at cannabis-infused food items on the buffet menu options? How is your organization preparing for this new frontier?

Timely yours,

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