Article by Jacquie Miller, Ottawa Citizen
Restrictions on advertising pot in Canada would get even tougher if a Senate amendment is adopted that would prevent cannabis companies from putting their logos on merchandise like ball caps and T-shirts.
Senators studying The Cannabis Act, Bill C-45, adopted an amendment Friday to prevent “brand stretching,” which Conservative Sen. Judith Seidman warned was a loophole in the law that would allow cannabis companies “to market to our kids by stealth.”
The bill bans virtually all promotion and marketing of marijuana. However, there was an exception that allowed companies to brand items that aren’t related to cannabis. The Senate amendment removes that exception.
Marijuana companies already have their logos on T-shirts, backpacks and iPhone cases, said Seidman, who proposed the amendment. “To think these products won’t develop a cachet among teenagers is delusional,” she said in written remarks.
“We are all too familiar with the marketing techniques used by alcohol and tobacco companies to maximize consumption of their products — and consequently their profits,” Seidman said. “We have every indication that the Canadian cannabis industry will be no different.”
Seidman said experience with the tobacco industry shows that partial marketing restrictions are largely ineffective because companies just shift their advertising dollars to whatever promotion is not banned.
Cannabis industry supporters responded with incredulity. Within hours, one company was selling “Free the Swag” T-shirts and hoodies online.