The laws for marketing marijuana vary greatly from one country and state to another. Despite the legalization of cannabis in many parts, it is a heavily regulated industry. And for Canada, it is no different.
Canada’s federal government legalized the use of recreational marijuana in late 2018 with the introduction of the Cannabis Act – promotions prohibitions. The document covers everything about the rules and regulations for marketing marijuana by companies and cannabis supporting companies.
This post is everything about the laws of marketing weed in Canada.
What Promotions and Marketing are Permitted?
Under the Cannabis Act, limited authorizations are available for the promotion of cannabis and its accessories. These are:
Informational promotion of cannabis and cannabis accessories
Informational promotion of cannabis by an individual authorized to sell, distribute, or produce weed is permitted. However, the informational promotional is allowed only if:
- the addressee is identified by name and is 18 years and older
- it is in a prescribed place where underage young people are legally not permitted to enter.
- The promotion is telecommunicated, and the individual promoting the cannabis has taken tactical actions to prevent underage persons from accessing the promotional content.
Brand element of cannabis
An authorized person can display brand elements of cannabis, accessories, or cannabis-related accessories on other things.
However, the promotional display of the marijuana brand element should not be in a place or thing associated with young underage people. The display of the cannabis brand element should also not be in a way to elicit excitement, dare, glamour, or recreation, or appeal to the young underage.
Point of sale
Authorized individuals in Canada can sell cannabis and its accessories and services at a point of sale if:
- The availability of the cannabis/accessory or service is clearly indicated and
- The price and the availability of the cannabis/accessory or service are indicated.
Other permitted information
- Under Cannabis regulations, only the flavour of cannabis may be promoted
- Edible cannabis or its accessory may be promoted along with the nutritional facts table made available on the label of a container.
Marijuana Marketing Prohibitions
Under the Cannabis Act and the Cannabis Regulations, the following are the prohibitions for marijuana marketing under Canadian federal law.
- Promotion of cannabis or its accessory/services with information about its distribution and price
- Endorsement or a testimonial about the cannabis, accessory, or service
- Depicting cannabis through a person, animal or character – real or fictional
- Promoting cannabis/accessories/services in a manner that is appealing to young underage persons.
- Presentation of cannabis, services, accessories, or brand elements that may induce negative or positive feelings of glamour, vitality, excitement, risk, daring, or recreation.
Publishing and broadcasting of prohibited promotion on behalf of another person are prohibited.
False, deceptive, and misleading promotion of cannabis that creates the wrong impression about the potency, purity, safety, and composition of cannabis is also prohibited. The same applies to the false promotion of cannabis accessories.
Promotion with foreign media
Promoting cannabis, accessory, or services through publications and broadcasting channels originating outside of Canada is strongly prohibited
Displaying, referring to cannabis, its accessory, or services by any person, event or entity is also prohibited.
Use of terms
Terms, logos, symbols, expressions, and illustrations with the intent to promote cannabis/accessory/services are also prohibited under section 19 of the cannabis act.
Even if a person is authorized to sell cannabis with Canada, it is prohibited to:
- Provide or offer cannabis or accessories to induce its purchase
- Providing or offering lotteries, drawing, or games to induce the purchase of cannabis or its accessories.
Names on facility
Displaying cannabis, accessory, or service in a sport, culture, activity or event facility is also prohibited. The prohibition includes the name/names of the person that sells, produces, or distributes cannabis, accessory, or service.
For in-depth information on Cannabis Act and Cannabis Regulation, visit this link.
Penalties under the Cannabis Act
Under Canadian federal law, failure to abide by the Cannabis Act Cannabis Regulation rules can attract the following penalties.
- Monetary fines up to $1 million
- Suspension of the license to produce, sell or distributes cannabis, accessories, and services.
- The suspension of a cannabis license prevents the diversion of marijuana towards an illicit activity or the market and protects public safety and health.
Who oversees the marijuana marketing laws in Canada?
Health Canada oversees the compliance of marijuana marketing laws in Canada. In addition, it also assesses the compliance of the cannabis business owners and companies with the promotion laws and regulations in the Cannabis Act. Health Canada also oversees the content, context, and purpose of marketing communications with the intended audience to determine a violation of the rules stated in the Cannabis Act.
When a violation of the rules under the Cannabis Act or the Cannabis Regulations is found, Health Canada assesses the case by examining and considering every circumstance.
How do I make sure that my company’s marijuana marketing strategies comply with the law?
If you are engaged in the cannabis business of any degree, it is best to understand the promotional prohibitions first. For cannabis business owners, Section 17 – 24 of the Cannabis Act contains all the promotional information you need. Part 6.1 of the Cannabis Regulations also contains helpful information about what is permitted and prohibited for marketing marijuana.
Understanding the federal law related to the cannabis industry and marijuana marketing can greatly help your weed business run without having problems with the law.
What other laws apply to marijuana marketing?
Apart from the Cannabis Act, provincial and territorial legislation related to the cannabis industry is a big consideration. The territorial government laws can govern the sale, distribution, enforcement, and promotion of cannabis, which you need to be aware of.
For instance, the Ontario government has several regulations related to cannabis. This includes Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act and Cannabis License Act, which are cumulatively enforced along with the Cannabis Act.
In addition, the Food and Drugs Act also has provisions related to cannabis promotion, accessories, and services.
Familiarizing yourself with the regional cannabis laws before engaging in any cannabis-related activity is a great step to get started.
Navigating marketing for cannabis can be tricky. Clout Brands can help you get your marketing up and running for your cannabis business. Contact us today!