Several licensed marijuana producers have penned a letter to Ottawa, urging the federal government to allow them to brand their products and provide medical cannabis on a tax-free basis.
The seven producers – Tilray, Tweed, Mettrum, CannTrust, Green Organic Dutchman Holdings, RedeCan Pharm and Delta 9 Bio-Tech – are lobbying the government ahead of the week of April 10, when legislation legalizing recreational use of the drug is expected to be introduced.
A federal task force has recommended requiring plain packaging for cannabis and advertising restrictions similar to those placed on the tobacco industry.
But in their letter, the licensed producers argue that preventing them from branding their products will make it tougher for them to compete with black market operations such as illegal dispensaries.
“Brands allow professional companies to separate themselves from less scrupulous competitors,” says Brendan Kennedy, president of B.C.-based marijuana producer Tilray.
Some health advocates have argued that restricting branding and advertising is necessary in order to ensure that users are aware of possible health risks associated with the substance.