With festival season in full swing, Health Canada released a report last week addressing their concern about the cannabis industry sponsoring events.
“The Government has made its position regarding event and other kinds of corporate sponsorship and other promotional activities abundantly clear, including by setting out prohibitions in the Cannabis Act,” the statements reads.
Protecting public health, public safety, and youth are listed as the main reasons for prohibiting licensed producers from event sponsorship that will give their brands exposure.
As the law currently stands under the Narcotic Control Regulations (NCR), “no person shall publish or cause to be published or furnish any advertisement to the general public respecting a narcotic.”
Come October 17, with the implementation of the Cannabis Act, the restrictions will expand to prohibit:
Violations of these regulations can lead to hefty consequences including license suspension, a maximum fine of $5 million on indictment or a maximum fine of $250,000 for a first offence or $500,000 for a subsequent offence on a summary conviction, with the possibility of imprisonment.
In an email to Daily Hive, a Health Canada representative stated that “information-type promotion–i.e., promotion that presents factual and accurate information about a cannabis product–or brand-preference promotion,” is allowed, “provided that such promotion is communicated in a way that it would not be seen by a young person.”
Furthermore, the promotion of cannabis, cannabis accessories, or cannabis-related services is allowed under certain conditions:
Although alcohol companies are well-known for event sponsorship and public promotions and advertising, Health Canada’s approach to cannabis is closer to tobacco regulations.
The unfortunate implication of this is that licensed producers are looking to support arts, culture, and community but are limited in their legal capacity to do so.