CANADIAN CANNABIS HISTORY MADE
At long last, the good people of Canada have begun the worldwide charge towards a brighter future with the nationwide legalization of cannabis on October 17. With every legal milestone, of course, come more questions than answers—and the world of legal cannabis is no exception. There are the obvious concerns—what cannabis can be purchased and where? For how much? How can cannabis be grown and distributed? Many of these questions already have simple answers for producers and consumers alike, but there is one area of gray that is likely to persist—Advertising.
LEGAL MARIJUANA MARKETING
The landmark legalization of marijuana in Canada was, of course, a legal watershed moment, and as such brings with it a flood of lawyers and red tape. In addition to answering questions about who exactly can purchase and use cannabis, legal experts are also playing an important role in the future of cannabis marketing and advertising. Now that pot has been legalized, it will be sold by a variety of companies and brokers, big and small, with various rules governing how it can be advertised. The keys to questions about marijuana marketing all lie inside the Cannabis Act, which covers all the issues associated with Canadian legalization. This includes basic questions such as age-restrictions and cultivation guidelines. Of course, as with any legal document, it is long and convoluted. Which is why MMG read it for you!
CANADIAN MARIJUANA LAWS
The Cannabis Act states in no uncertain terms that “it is prohibited to promote cannabis,” despite legalization. But what does that mean? How can it be illegal to ‘promote’ something that was just made legal? As always the devil is in the details, and the Cannabis Act goes on to explain the ways in which cannabis can and cannot be marketed. Understandably, the law states that cannabis may not be sold “by doing so in a manner that it is reasonable to believe could be appealing to young persons.”
The Act goes on to say that no testimonials or endorsements may be used in the marketing of cannabis, including “by means the depiction of a person, character or animal, whether real or fictional”. Yes, it is true, for the time being, the cannabis industry will be without its own version of Tony the Tiger or Joe Camel. What the Cannabis Act will permit is an advertisement that is “informational”, and based upon “brand preference”. That is to say that cannabis companies can market their products using factual information about their goods. So what is the difference between “informational” and “testimonial”. No one quite knows yet, which is why Marijuana Marketing Gurus is here for you.
FUTURE OF CANNABIS MARKETING
We are all still at the very beginning of the long and winding road towards the future of cannabis sales and marijuana digital marketing. Now is the start of a long battle between government lawyers, cannabis companies and the general public over just what Canadian dispensaries and companies will be able to pursue when it comes to marketing their products. As you can see by the wording of the Cannabis Act, much of the language about what can and cannot be advertised is vague. For right now, companies will push the envelope until they receive pushback from lawsuits and from the state. Already there are plenty of cases of celebrity endorsement of the Canadian cannabis industry that would appear to violate advertising regulations. Sooner or later, these cases will wind up in court where precedents will be set, and the cannabis marketing business will move in one direction or the other. Until then, we are all living in the Wild West, but MMG is here to help lead you down the trail.