Although Cannabis remains federally illegal in the U.S., the states that have legalized cannabis are allowed to advertise and market their products. There are restrictions similar to alcohol, but much stricter. Now that Canada has legalized cannabis for the whole country, companies will not be able to promote their products. How will they get the word out?
From the Cannabis act;
17 (1) Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited to promote cannabis or a cannabis accessory or any service related to cannabis, including
(a) by communicating information about its price or distribution;
(b) by doing so in a manner that there are reasonable grounds to believe could be appealing to young persons;
(c) by means of a testimonial or endorsement, however displayed or communicated;
(d) by means of the depiction of a person, character or animal, whether real or fictional; or
(e) by presenting it or any of its brand elements in a manner that associates it or the brand element with, or evokes a positive or negative emotion about or image of, a way of life such as one that includes glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring.
Indirect promotions are prohibited.“It is prohibited to promote … cannabis, a cannabis accessory, a service related to cannabis or a brand element of any of those things in a publication that is published outside Canada, a broadcast that originates outside Canada or any other communication that originates outside Canada.”
Luvlina Sanghera, head of a marketing firm compares Canadas marketing laws to the prohibition era. She said, “You have to be creative in what promotions you do,”. The fines for breaking the law can be $250k to $5 million dollars. Risking it is something you just cannot afford to do.
An example of an advertisements that’s not an advertisement is MedReleaf’ssocial media posts. The medical cannabis company released a beer with 4.20% alcohol content.Sincethere is no cannabis in the beer, or advertise their cannabis products, this subtly promotes their brand.
Brand awareness is one of, if not, the most important aspect of purchasing a product. Packaging influences 70% of purchasing decisions at point of purchase. Now that Canadian cannabis brands are not allowed to brand their packaging, or advertise, the best thing to do for now is advertise your brand through non-cannabis related products, events, or shows.
- Bill C-45. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/bill/C-45/royal-assent#enH1624