Pubdate: Wed, 18 Dec 2013
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 Postmedia Network Inc.
Authors: Dan Fumano and John Colebourn
Page: A3


Hundreds of Washington state businesses hope to cash in on
cross-border pot tourism with plans like ...

Along with cheaper gas, flights, and outlet mall shopping, British 
Columbians could soon have another reason to drive south to Bellingham, 
Blaine and Whatcom County: legal weed.

Mike Momany, the founder of the Washington State Cannabis Tourism
Association, hopes British Columbians will cross the border to wake
and bake at a "bud and breakfast," or attend marijuana-themed outdoor
movie viewing parties in Washington State.

Momany is looking at launching "Canna-Cabs," a modified version of a
pedicab, where a driver pedals around a passenger enclosed in a
"hotbox" cab compartment.

And the 62-year-old Seattle resident is also trying to organize a
"CanAm Cannabis Celebration" near the border in Whatcom County's Birch
Bay, where Americans and Canadians could smoke together.

These are just a few of the ideas that Momany hopes to get off the
ground next year, when legal retail marijuana shops are expected to
open in Washington.

The month-long window to apply for a marijuana business licence ends
Friday at 5 p.m.

More than 320 business owners have already applied to open retail
marijuana shops around the state, including a number along the I-5
Highway in and around Bellingham, as well as a shop just across the
border in Point Roberts.

The Bellingham Herald has assembled a map showing the addresses of the
applicants for marijuana retail shops, producers and processors in
Whatcom County.

Business owner Ingrid Johnson, the applicant for the Point Roberts
store, said she has heard the decision on retail outlets will take a
number of months once the bid is closed at the end of this week.

If Johnson's shop is approved, she said, she will call it The Herb

According to Johnson, she would be able to sell only pot and pot
paraphernalia. She said retailers would have to add on a sizable tax
as outlined by the regulators.

And any advertising of the product will also be tightly controlled.
"The marketing is all controlled by the liquor control board," said
Johnson. "They will tell us how we can advertise."

Johnson notes that a lot of Canadians reside in Point Roberts in the
summer. In the offseason the border community has a population of
about 1,300, but in the summer months that swells to 10,000.

If an application is approved, the retailer can have only a small sign
and must be at least 1,000 feet from a school or library. "You don't
want to promote the product to kids," said Johnson.

Bellingham and the broader Whatcom County area has long been a
favourite shopping destination for B.C. residents.

"We love Canadians," said Loni Rahm, president and CEO of Bellingham
Whatcom County Tourism.

"It's interesting to me because I've been following this (marijuana
regulation) since the law and petition started developing. And we look
at it from the standpoint of our proximity to the border," said Rahm.

"Eventually, once the retailers are in place and the policies are in
place, do I anticipate that this will be another product worthy of
travel? Absolutely."

"I look at it as a product," Rahm said. "Once it's legal, it's another
product that we have available to offer visitors, residents, consumers."

Still, Rahm said, there were no official plans to rebrand the county
for marijuana tourism.

"I don't have any big marketing plans to rename us Amsterdam Northwest
or anything like that."

Mari Pemper, owner-operator of the Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen in
Bellingham, said when pot becomes legal in Washington State, it is
expected to help the economy.

"We welcome Canadians down here," said Pemper.

But she said people are still waiting for final approval that would
allow pot to be sold in marijuana dispensaries.

"I don't think a lot of the details have been figured out yet," she
said. "There's confusion."

One applicant, who did not want her name used, said she expects to
hear some time in January whether their business was given the
approval to sell pot.

The woman said if they get a pot permit, they would switch the
Bellingham-based store over from novelty items to pot and pot

"It could be a good money maker," she said.

Well known pot activist Jodi Emery said her Cannabis Culture operation
in Vancouver will feel the pinch when people go across the border to
sample pot in Washington State.

"It is a concern," she said. "It will definitely have an effect on our

Canada Border Service Agency spokeswoman Faith St. John said that when
it becomes legal to purchase and consume weed in Washington,
travelling Canadians will need to exercise caution.

"Anyone using marijuana legally in Washington State, should ensure
that they are not under the influence when driving across the border
into Canada," St. John said in an email.

"People should be aware that even if they have purchased marijuana
legally in Washington State, it is still a crime to transport it
across the border.

The Canada Border Services Agency takes its border protection
responsibilities very seriously, including the interdiction of illegal
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