This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Best Produce Since Sliced Bread?

"Under the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45), companies are prohibited from mass advertising. The restrictions are in some cases more stringent than the rules for medical marijuana now."
"Endorsements and testimonials are prohibited for instance, as will [be] sponsorships involving people, events, entities, activities and facilities."
"Staging games, draws, lotteries and contests is also banned. That will mark a change for medical cannabis companies, which have sponsored everything from music festivals to fashion shows."
"Promotions that appeal to young people, depict people, characters or animals or associate cannabis with an emotion such as 'glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring' are out, too."
"The federal government has also proposed that cannabis be sold in single-colour packages dominated by health warnings and a THC symbol inside a red stop sign. Companies would be allowed a small logo or name."
Jacquie Miller, PostMedia
Global leaders in the marijuana industry are gathering in New Brunswick today to discuss how to market cannabis in a competitive legal marketplace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ron Ward

"Ottawa still doesn't know the true way of interpreting all the advertising, the PR, all those activities."
"We've had that conversation [endorsements and testimonials from celebrities to promote products] for weeks, and I refuse to get into that game. I want to sleep at night, and don't want to get into that [aggravation].
"First of all, I couldn't see the return on investment, they [celebrity endorsements] are very expensive. But more than that, I just didn't want to lose some of the stripes with Health Canada we've earned over the four years [the company has been in business supplying medical marijuana]."
Vic Neufeld, chief executive, Aphria Inc., cannabis grower, Leamington, Ontario
The federal government has finally revealed the date at which recreational cannabis will be legal in Canada, to be November 17. Marijuana companies already producing and distributing medical marijuana, an already legal enterprise, have been eagerly awaiting the announcement and have long since been gearing up their production and advertising techniques on line to make their advantage over competitors. And there are competitors galore, marijuana growers making profits they never before dreamed of, eager to continue their trend and enlarge on it.

The law will also permit cannabis users to grow up to four plants in their places of residence for their own use. The massive use of electricity and water in illegal grow-ups discovered in rental properties resulted in horrendous mould damage, insurance problems and unsaleable properties. In anticipation that rental properties and multi-unit residential buildings may now be turned into micro-grow-ops, the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations has tried to persuade the government to ban growing cannabis in rentals.

An estimated four million Canadians of all ages, from 15 to those in the elderly category already use marijuana; teens acquiring their weed on the black market which legalization and regulation is meant to make inroads on, and the elderly looking for their supplies mostly for medical purposes through legal channels. With all marijuana becoming legal, growers are anticipating a huge upsurge in use through all age groups, viewing one of the most lucrative markets to come to fruition in memory, perhaps second only to alcohol, given tobacco's current low-use status.

Cannabis producers are champing at the bit, eager to see that their products have name recognition long before the great day of long-awaited legalization arrives. New recreational brands have been launched by a wide assortment of cannabis companies marketing to mainstream communities and doing their utmost to imbue the product with the status of supporting good health, wellness and enjoyment. Aphria Inc. has introduced its Solei brand, its website using mesmerizing soft-focus photographs of attractive people happily socializing, the slogan "Find your Light", prominent.

Health Canada failed to find the advertising in compliance with its very precise guidelines, including the legend "Whether for 'me' time or 'we' time, Solei is a natural way to unplug, embrace a slower pace or spark your sense of curiosity". The grow firm named varieties with moody emotional titles invoking visions of gracious ease, such as "Dream", "Unwind", "Soothe", "Balance", "Ignite", and "Gather". Let the good times advance, at long last! Attractive jars highlighting the new offerings make for a very impressive campaign. But is it legal?!

Evidently not, since it's all kind of disappeared after Health Canada nudged the company to recall its prohibitions on promoting narcotics write large in the Food and Drugs Act and the Narcotic Control Regulations. Now, should interested consumers wish to be involved in viewing encouragements extolling the virtues of the producer's incomparable product, they are advised to sign up on line for additional information. The company has no wish to injure its relationship with Health Canada so compliance was instant.

The Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) is quite specific in banning mass advertising. And nor are billboards, magazine, radio or prime-time television ads acceptable. "Informational" data is perfectly permissible, however, where "brand preference" promotions are allowed while sidestepping the irresistible of appealing to young people or make an association with "glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring". According to Health Canada, the focus should be on "factual, accurate information about a cannabis product, such as ingredients, THC levels and production methods".

MedReleaf was also contacted by Health Canada, given a cautionary reproof over its enthusiasm publicizing its San Rafael '71 brand "inspired by and designed to celebrate the spirit of classic cannabis culture". Health Canada had taken exception  to a photograph featured by MedReleaf showing marijuana. "Beer today, bong tomorrow", the company cheerfully promises, awaiting legalization, but in the meantime featuring a beer also named San Rafael '71, promoted as a pleasing counterpart relaxant for consumers while awaiting legal pot.

MedReleaf home banner
MedReleaf, Canada's Premier Cannabis Producer

Cannabis companies are being reminded they must look to responsible branding and marketing techniques should they wish to inform consumers about their products. Advocates for public health claim advertising is not particularly required to ensure that consumers will indulge in the legal market since those acquiring pot from dispensaries and dealers at the present time will invariably acquire their future purchases from government-approved legal stores as long as prices remain competitive with a variety of good quality products.

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