PEI will let hotels decide if they'll allow cannabis

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The government of Prince Edward Island will let hotel operators decide whether they'll allow cannabis use in their rooms.

Accommodations operators know their customers best, says Tourism Minister Chris Palmer.

"It will be legal. So we want to allow as many freedoms as we can, but also respect the rights of other people," he said.

"There won't be any cannabis smoking allowed in common areas, hallways and lobbies," Palmer added. 

'Freedom to choose'

Cannabis will be legalized across Canada on Oct. 17.

People won't be allowed to use the drug in public places, so this won't affect people who don't want to smell it, Palmer said.

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'You may see some restrictions tighten or loosen in the next five or 10 years as it becomes more of a mainstream [thing],' said Palmer.

"Those checkpoints and safeguards will be in place. If you don't want to be around it, you won't be around it."

Palmer expects hotels will deal with cannabis the same way they do cigarettes.

"That seems to be the pattern I'm hearing. If they allow cigarette smoke in their rooms, they would potentially allow cannabis."

Cannabis won't fall under P.E.I.'s Smoke-Free Places Act, Palmer said, but the province plans to regulate it similarly.

"We want to make sure operators have the freedom to choose, which will then effectively give customers the ability to choose."

Things could change

P.E.I.'s regulation of pot will be similar to that of other provinces, Palmer said.

"It puts the control back into the hands of the folks who really understand the customers the best, and that would be operators," he said.

It's a learning curve for everyone, Palmer said, so things may change in the years ahead.

"You may see some restrictions tighten or loosen in the next five or 10 years as it becomes more of a mainstream [thing]."

Throughout this process, Palmer said he has had to remind himself that cannabis will be legal.

"My whole life it's been illegal and now it will become legal, and sometimes my thoughts will drift," he said.

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