Canadian Cannabis Law Will Not Allow Celebrities To Endorse Marijuana
Marijuana legalization in Canada is reaching ever closer and as impending legalization approaches, its shape is becoming clearer. The current date for legalization is set for September this year (after a series of setbacks) and it seems Canadian cannabis law is making a point of prohibiting celebrities from endorsing marijuana.
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Member of Parliament and former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair told The West Block, "The law is explicit and clear, that celebrity endorsement, lifestyle advertising is not allowed with cannabis." He continued, noting, "It's not the government's intention to promote the use of this drug... We are not allowing the heavy marketing that we've seen with other products, alcohol for example, and so there will be severe restrictions on things like celebrity endorsement and [company] sponsorship."
Some are accusing the Canadian government of hypocrisy, citing discrimination against the cannabis industry. Canadian advocacy group Consumer Choice Center is among those criticizing the new laws. Packaging, in particular, is of concern as the group is worried that necessary information will be omitted under current packaging laws. As the law stands, brands will not be able to design their own mascots for their brand and will have to stick to simplified packaging. The group is worried that people will not be able to tell whether a product is meant to aid sleep, relieve pain or just enjoy recreationally, adding confusion to an already detailed market. It's important to note that these restrictions do not apply to the alcohol industry.
Some celebrities have already been involved in the promotion of cannabis in Canada, prior to this clarification on Canadian cannabis laws. Canadian celebrities, the Trailer Park Boys have teamed up with OrganiGram as well as other celebrity names. It remains unclear how branding deals like these will fare under the new laws.
It is also unknown how the new laws will apply to less traditional 'celebrities' as well. In recent years, social media influencers have become one of the key means by which companies advertise their products. It is likely that further clarification will be required on these types of influencers as well.
For now, it seems that Canadian cannabis law is set to be decidedly strict. Various towns and cities are looking to ban public cannabis consumption while Nova Scotia recently gave landlords the authority to ban weed on their properties. Harsh cannabis laws are winning out, however, there's no reason to suggest that they won't ease up over time. Canada is leading the way when it comes to cannabis legalization and could prove an important role model for the U.S. if nationwide legalization proves successful.