Article by Jacquie Miller, Ottawa Citizen
Cannabis companies are intensifying efforts to get attention for their brands even as Health Canada launches another crackdown on the promotion of pot.
There appears to be a game of regulatory chicken emerging. Some companies are seemingly testing the boundaries with billboards, digital ads, websites describing their recreational marijuana, free events and sponsorships.
Health Canada says it has issued five warnings to companies since July, “requiring that they take immediate corrective measures to bring their activities into compliance with the current law.”
The new cannabis law will ban mass advertising, sponsorship, contests, endorsements and promotions that associate cannabis with attractive lifestyles. But that doesn’t go into effect until next week, when Canada legalizes recreational marijuana.
Until then, companies must abide by the Narcotic Control Regulations, which ban advertising cannabis, directly or indirectly, to the general public.
Under those regulations, it’s not entirely clear what is out-of-bounds.
Health Canada officials declined to identify the companies that have been warned, but listed some activities they have engaged in that it considers inappropriate: sponsoring events such as music festivals; engaging in promotional activities at events, booths and pop-up venues; and publishing advertisements about cannabis on company websites and social media platforms.