Pot-friendly hotel in the works for Niagara

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Entrepreneur Conrad Floyd wants visitors to Niagara Falls to take their vacation to a higher level.

The Hamilton resident is in the process of converting a former derelict hotel on Lundy's Lane into the city's first cannabis-friendly inn.

"I feel Niagara is on a come back. For me, it's the promised land for investing, and cannabis tourism is a whole new industry."

When it opens later this year, the Pink Elephant Inn will feature 37 rooms, a four-season pool and a pizzeria.

Guests, who must be 19 or over, will also receive marijuana as part of the room rental.

"It's going to be all-inclusive," Floyd said.

And the hotel won't be limited to bud and breakfast. There will also be a growing operation on site.

"People can learn, spend time with our grower and ask questions," Floyd explained.

He also plans to host cannabis markets, car shows and food truck events on the premises.

Floyd said nearby residents are supportive of the new project as the property has been an eyesore for some time. It had previously been used as a long-term rental building before a fire gutted several units and it was shut down.

Floyd, who grew up in the hotel industry, is the owner of Hamilton Village Dispensary, which at one time sold medical marijuana.

"I was the first person in Hamilton to open a dispensary," he said. "The police kept raiding us and raiding us and we kept opening."

Floyd took his fight to the courts and in 2017 was given the green light to sell cannabis to those with prescriptions, but not to recreational users.

However, when the province passed its Cannabis Control Act earlier this year, Hamilton police shut down numerous shops across the city, including the Hamilton Village Dispensary.

While the dispensary is currently closed, and Floyd is fighting in court to reopen the business, his property is far from empty.

Last year, Floyd opened two cannabis-friendly Airbnb units, conveniently located above the dispensary.

The units are described as a "safe and luxurious environment for the cannabis enthusiast ... smoking cannabis is permitted and encouraged."

"Everywhere you go, you're not allowed to smoke cannabis," he said. "You lose your security deposit, you get kicked out of your room. People need a place they can go to smoke their weed in peace."

Floyd isn't the only one hoping to capitalize on the new niche market.

Sir Sam's Inn and Spa in Haliburton recently joined HotelsCannabis.com to promote its cannabis-friendly resort. Currently, it is the only Canadian listing on the travel website.

Recreational cannabis was legalized by the federal government in October.

The province introduced private retail stores April 1 that are overseen by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

Niagara Falls' first retail cannabis store, Choom Cannabis Co., opened last month at Niagara Square.

The region's first retail store, the Niagara Herbalist in St. Catharines, opened April 1.

The finance minister and attorney general announced last week the AGCO will hold a lottery for 42 additional store authorizations.

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