In Canadian ads, alcohol cannot be shown to enliven an otherwise dull party. Celebrities, athletes, or anyone who might be a role model to minors, are out.
Actors can’t be shown actually drinking the product, or even holding a half-empty glass. A game of “spin the bottle” is not acceptable. Ditto parties on a public beach. A couple at dinner cannot have a bottle of wine on the table – that would imply they are having more than one drink each.
These are just a few of the restrictions on television ads for beverage alcohol. (Similar limitations apply in other media.)
Now, as the federal government prepares to introduce legislation legalizing recreational marijuana use in Canada, booze companies have been pushing to ensure that this nascent industry will face similar restrictions.
That includes – but is not limited to – strict rules around marketing.
“As an industry, we’ve talked to various officials, provincially and federally, about the rationale for certain rules regarding beverage alcohol and how they’re probably applicable to marijuana, whether around labelling or celebrity endorsements,” said Andrew Oland, president and chief executive officer of Moosehead Breweries Ltd. and a board member of the industry association Beer Canada. That group took part in consultations with the federal task force on marijuana legalization and regulation.
“Things that are not permissible in beverage alcohol shouldn’t be permissible in marijuana,” he said.