November 5, 2018
By Amanda Branch
Bill C-45, colloquially, the “Cannabis Act” (the “Act”) came into force on October 17, 2018 legalizing recreational marijuana consumption and sales in Canada. Navigating through the weeds to understand the regulation of wacky tabacky can be challenging, but don’t let that blunt your enthusiasm for this new regulatory regime.
The Act sets out strict rules for promotion and only those licensed to sell, produce, or distribute cannabis are permitted to conduct promotions of cannabis products. The prohibitions on promotion are intended to protect public health and safety, including by restricting young persons from accessing cannabis and protecting people from inducements to use cannabis.
The Act generally and broadly prohibits the promotion of cannabis, cannabis accessories and services related to cannabis, including by doing any of the following:
The Act prohibits the promotion of cannabis and cannabis accessories in a way that is false, misleading or deceptive or in a way that is likely to create an erroneous impression about its characteristics (such as strength, potency, purity, safety or health risks).
It is also prohibited to:
Certain types of promotions are permitted in specific circumstances; however, these promotions are still subject to the general prohibitions relating to promotion. The Act permits “brand preference promotions” or “informational promotions” about cannabis, cannabis accessories or services related to cannabis, so long as the promotion is:
The Act allows the promotion cannabis or a cannabis accessory or service by “displaying a brand element” of cannabis on a “thing that is not cannabis” so long as that “thing” is not associated with young people, is not of appeal to young people, and is not associated with a glamorous, risky or exciting lifestyle.
Point of sale promotions are also permitted in limited circumstances, specifically that a person who is authorized to sell cannabis may promote it at the point of sale only by indicating its availability, its price or its availability and price. Similarly, cannabis accessories may be promoted at the point of sale if the promotion indicates only its availability, its price or its availability and price. It is worth keeping in mind that cannabis or cannabis accessories cannot be sold in a package or with a label that:
If specific conditions are met, the Promotion provisions of the Act do not apply to:
In addition to the Cannabis Act and its regulations, other legislation, for example provincial legislation, contain provisions related to the promotion of cannabis, cannabis accessories or services related to cannabis. Businesses intending to engage in promotional activities related to cannabis are encouraged to carefully consider the prohibitions to ensure their promotional activities are permitted.
This article was first published in the IICIE blog https://www.iicie.com/users/blog.php?blgId=MTEw
Information on this website is for information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. You should not rely on, or take or not take any action, based upon this information. Professional legal advice should be promptly obtained. Bereskin & Parr LLP professionals will be pleased to advise you.