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Tourism As an Agent of Cannabis Normalization: Perspectives from Canada

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The 2018 legalization of cannabis in Canada provides an opportunity within a federally legalized context to offer recreational and leisure experiences that incorporate the purchase, consumption, production, and education of cannabis. The establishment of cannabis tourism as a tolerated and increasingly widespread and socially significant practice under the frameworks of legalization and normalization challenges its association with deviance in the tourism literature. The purpose of this article to rethink cannabis tourism as an agent of normalization. In adopting cannabis as a resource, the tourism industry sets standards that become embedded in a broader context of social acceptance. Evidence from a study that documents cannabis tourism in Canada in the first few years following legalization is used to illustrate how tourism suppliers have adopted cannabis as a resource. This article contributes a qualitative assessment of normalization to the literature through an examination of both a database of cannabis tourism-related businesses and the narratives of suppliers in the cannabis tourism industry. Tourism is conceptualized as an agent of normalization by illustrating how it facilitates the accessibility and availability, everyday prevalence, increased tolerance, and social and cultural accommodation of cannabis.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada 2: Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada

Publication date: November 10, 2021

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  • Tourism Review International is a peer-reviewed journal that advances excellence in all fields of tourism research, promotes high-level tourism knowledge, and nourishes cultural awareness in all sectors of the tourism industry by integrating industry and academic perspectives. Its international and interdisciplinary nature ensures that the needs of those interested in tourism are served by documenting industry practices, discussing tourism management and planning issues, providing a forum for primary research and critical examinations of previous research, and by chronicling changing tourism patterns and trends at the local, regional and global scale.
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