Canadian cannabis advertising guidelines are shockingly restrictive

Why are the suggested rules regarding advertising cannabis products so strict when compared to those that are already in place for marketing tobacco and alcohol?

Health Canada recently introduced cannabis advertising guidelines that are, quite frankly, too limiting and restrictive for just about any company in Canada.

Yes, recreational cannabis is a vice just like many other, but that doesn’t mean that the companies selling their product should have an extremely difficult time trying to make their product more appealing to the customers.

After all, rules for advertising tobacco and alcohol products are not nearly as hindering as those for cannabis companies.

Little room left for branding

Regulatory restrictions on marketing addictive products are based depending on the risk factors of their activities which they could pose to public health.

According to those standards, both recreational and medical cannabis should have significantly fewer obstructions on their path to appealing to the public when it comes to their packaging and marketing.

However, even though both tobacco and alcohol pose way higher risk to the public, they have less advertising restrictions.

Let’s take a look and compare the regulations for those 4 industries:

cannabis advertising regulations Canada

OK, so here is the weird part.

Even though we can see from the chart that the restrictions for recreational cannabis are far greater than those for both alcohol and medical marijuana, they are somewhat in line with the restrictions imposed upon the tobacco industry.

Why do tobacco and cannabis, both proven to cause less harm and danger to the public than alcohol, have greater restrictions than alcohol?

In fact, even The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care insisted that alcohol should have far greater restrictions simply due to the number of alcohol-related car crashes and similar fatal occurrences.

“Task Force acknowledges that, based on current levels of use and available information on mortality and morbidity, the harms associated with the use of tobacco or alcohol are greater than those associated with the use of cannabis. ” — Health Canada annoucement on November 30th, 2016.

This is only the latest update on the regulations that are soon to go into effect.

You may remember the cannabis packaging and labeling guidelines that were introduced a few weeks back.

If not, here’s a look at the “generic packaging prototype” of what recreational cannabis might look like once it is on shelves:

cannabis packaging health canada

So, from the advertising regulations, we can see how there is still room left for branding and “making yourself stick out”. Just like in the US.

Even though the background color has to be a single color, not everything is bleak.

There will be room on the packaging to place the brand name and the brand logo as well, but additional images, coating and similar additions will be prohibited.

Still, that’s more than we can say for tobacco, at least.

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