Pubdate: Tue, 11 Apr 2017
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Jacquie Miller
Page: 9


Government ponders ad restrictions on recreational cannabis

The elegant white box shipped from the Tweed Inc. medical marijuana
plant in Smiths Falls is stamped with a gold cannabis leaf that
signals the dried bud inside is endorsed by Snoop Dogg himself.

The rapper who once boasted of smoking 80 blunts a day has a
partnership with Tweed that helps both parties: Snoop promotes his
Leafs by Snoop cannabis line and Tweed benefits from an association
with "the world's most renowned cannabis connoisseur," as Tweed
describes Snoop.

Tweed is poised to jump into the recreational market, and the
marketing deal with Snoop Dogg was a major coup.

But with the federal government poised to legalize recreational pot,
there is a big question mark around the issue of advertising and
promotion as marijuana emerges from nearly a century of

Will customers in Canada's world of legal pot be scooping up Leafs by
Snoop, or perusing plain packages packed with health warnings? Some
clues might be revealed this week, with speculation the federal
government will introduce its long-promised legislation to legalize
marijuana. The legislation is expected to provide a framework, with
many of the regulatory details worked out over the next year or more
with the provinces and municipalities.

The federal task force of experts studying legalization recommends
restrictions similar to those on tobacco: a ban on advertising,
promotion, endorsements, branding and sponsorship of cannabis and
accessories. The report also calls for plain packaging that provides
only basic information, such as the company name, strain, price, and
amounts of THC, the chemical component that causes users to get high,
and CBD, another chemical component.

That would rule out celebrity endorsements and attractive packages
such as the ones encasing Snoop Dogg's "Ocean View" and "Sunset"
medical marijuana.

The task force said it listened to the concerns of health-care
professionals, municipalities, police, youth experts, parents and
educators who said advertising restrictions are needed to counter
efforts by the marijuana industry to promote consumption.

"As with other industries, this new cannabis industry will seek to
increase its profits and expand its market," warns the report. Canada
should learn from experiences with tobacco and alcohol, since
promotion of those products increases consumption of them, it said.

The Canadian Medical Jordan Sinclair shows off cannabis products at 
Tweed in Smith Falls, Ont. The government is considering packaging rules 
as it moves towards legalizing marijuana. Inset: Leafs by Snoop, a line 
of cannabis products endorsed by Snoop Dogg and produced at Tweed. 
Association suggests not only plain packages, but inserts inside to warn 
consumers about the health risks, the need to keep products away from 
children, and not to drive or work with hazardous chemicals or equipment 
after using marijuana.

The task force does recommend loosening restrictions slightly to allow
"limited" promotion, as well as information about products, inside
stores if cannabis is sold in outlets not accessible to minors.

Medical marijuana producers poised to jump into the recreational
market are concerned. Half a dozen of them, including Tweed, sent a
letter recently to federal politicians saying they support limits on
advertising but companies should be allowed to brand their products.

Brands are vital to help educate consumers and lure customers away
from the black market, they argue. There are thousands of strains of
cannabis, and hundreds of products, says Brendan Kennedy, the chief
executive of Tilray, a marijuana producer in B.C.

Branding also helps companies build loyalty and promote their
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