A new carnival has opened up on Toronto’s Exhibition Place grounds with a bring your own bud policy.
Grande Bizarre supper club is already a popular destination for those looking to swim, sunbathe and savour gourmet cuisine. Also located on the property in a restricted area is Cannabis Carnival.
“We do not promote cannabis consumption. We promote safe cannabis and responsible consumption,” president Zlatko Starkovski told Global News.
He says they worked closely with a number of organizations, seeking out regulatory and educational guidance. Starkovski says they are in compliance with the Smoke Free Ontario Act.
Cannabis is not sold at the venue. Instead, customers have to bring their own.
For patrons who prefer a smoke-free environment, there is separation between the spaces. It is also closed off from the surrounding Exhibition Place grounds.
The summertime event launched on June 17. Starkovski says so far the feedback has been positive.
“We noticed a lot of people that smoked cannabis…in and around the parks, on the Exhibition grounds or the playgrounds. So we came up with a proactive approach,” he explained. “But in a 19-plus area that’s fenced off from the public.”
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) provided the business with educational guidance, including posters now on display, that raise awareness about impairment and the consequences of getting behind the wheel.
“If you are high, do not drive. If you think you are high, do not drive. It’s a needless risk that puts everyone in danger, yourself included,” said Eric Dumschat, legal director, MADD Canada.
He urges people to plan ahead to get home safely. That includes public transit, ride sharing, a taxi, or walking.
Dunschat says part of what resonated with the organization was that no alcohol would be served in the smoking portion of the venue.
“They came looking for people who would provide education, awareness. They’re trying to do it right,” he offered.
Will the public be responsive?
While the carnival concept may be attractive to some, Rotman School of Management national academic director Richard Powers has his concerns.
“We have a much more long-term history around alcohol in restaurants and eating food,” he says. “We don’t have that with cannabis products, and I just don’t think we’re there yet.”