Article by Laura Sciarpelletti, The Georgia Straight
Recreational cannabis will be legal in Canada as of October 17. But there is still much uncertainly around how cannabis brands are permitted to market their product.
Products by licensed cannabis companies must have “plain packaging”, and adhere to strict requirements around logos, colours, and branding, due to Health Canada regulations. However, according to Steven Kates, associate professor of marketing at Simon Fraser University, branding and communication go way beyond packaging.
A lot of what companies can and can’t do is a grey area. The creative ways in which brands choose to manoeuvre within their limitations will determine which product becomes a household name.
“[Cannabis] companies will have to enter into intelligent conversation with consumers,” Kates tells the Straight.
New Brunswick–based OrganiGram is a licensed cannabis producer. It has been functioning as a corporate medical brand, but is set to launch three adult recreational brands in October. OrganiGram is currently working with its provincial jurisdiction and Health Canada to understand the Bill C-45 regulations, particularly from a marketing perspective.
While chief commercial officer Ray Gracewood says OrganiGram is still trying to gain some clarity, the company is approaching the bill as an extension of the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).
“With the adult recreational space, there’s a huge opportunity for us to create an industry in a socially responsible way,” Gracewood tells the Straight. “We’ve always been of the mind that the future of this industry is going to be contingent on the strengths of brands and the needs of the consumer.”