Over fifteen of Canada’s licensed marijuana producers have enlisted for the help of Advertising Standards Canada in order to develop guidelines on how the drug should be branded, and better promoted before its recreational use becomes legal on July 1s 2018.
The marijuana industry has been lobbying for the right to brand their products, arguing that not being able to promote in stores or on packaging will prevent them from being able to compete with the illegal market.
Health advocates claim that allowing marijuana companies to market their products could lead to widespread use of the drug, similar to what happened with alcohol and tobacco in the past.
Cameron Bishop, director of government affairs at Privateer Holdings – says that isn’t the industry’s intention.
“We have to be able to differentiate ourselves from individual illegal marketers who are out there right now, that are branded to the hilt in these illegal dispensaries and aren’t going to abide by federal rules,” he said.
“We don’t want to be flashy. We’re not talking about massive billboards or anything like that.”
He also noted that he hopes the guidelines developed by the Advertising Standards Canada in conjunction with the industry could serve as a baseline for the government’s consultations.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has set a goal of legalizing marijuana by next July, which some premiers say may be too ambitious given the number of issues that still need to be resolved.
Trudeau has said his government is working with the provinces, adding that it’s important to ensure young people don’t have access to the drug when they shouldn’t.
Earlier this week, several premiers called on the Trudeau to provide more guidance on taxation, road safety, distribution, and more, among other things. They said otherwise, they will need more time before they’ll be able to meet the July 1 deadline.