Toronto poliece chief Bill Blair has made it explicit that any kind of endorsement in the legal cannabis market by celebrities will be forbidden as lifestyle advertising is not allowed with cannabis which is similar to what we’ve seen in tobacco advertising. This will also include company sponsorship.
The Tragically Hip have been linked to Up Cannabis and Newstrike while the Trailer Park Boys have a brand development deal with Organigram. Of course companies will try to find ways around this restriction which is aimed to take place in July 2018.
As legalization comes closer the government is scrambling to implement regulations which differ according to each province.
There is a lot of debate on how the rollout is being handled. While some critics are arguing it should not be made legal, others are suggesting the rules and government monopoly from the Liberal government to be unfair. In addition to the blowback the packaging and marketing restrictions are not reasonable.
“If you start loose and with little control, it’s very difficult to get strict and get control afterwards.” Bill Blair.
Gene Simmons is another rockstar who has signed a multi-million dollar deal with Invictus Corp in British Columbia. The company is hoping to merge Simmon’s famous large tongue and fire spitting reputation to compliment the branding at Invictus.
The Federal Cannabis Act will prohibit any mass advertising and promotions from celebrities such as TV commercials, billboards or magazine ads. Sports teams and events will not be able to receive sponsorship from cannabis companies.
Restrictions on Packaging
Health Canada has proposed packaging restrictions once weed becomes legal in Canada.
Similar to restrictions with tobacco, packaging will have slogans and warnings that marijuana addiction can lead to psychosis or hurt unborn babies. Warning symbols will also be mandatory to mention THC content.
Health Canada is still working on the regulations and fine terms such as what constitutes an endorsement or testimonial and other clauses which are open to interpretation.
As mentioned earlier, Gene Simmon is the CEO of invictus who will have to make appearances as one of the companies investors. This would obviously be a catch 22 for the rockstar as he’s both he CEO and a celebrity.
Clearly some work needs to be done regarding the regulations with regards to banning celebrity endorsements and sponsorships which seem pretty restrictive.
Due to this grey area of promotion, CEO of Beleave Inc is taking steps in a licensing deal with Kevin Smith and Jason Mews very carefully.
Other companies such as Tweed Inc have sponsored a Toronto Men’s Fashion week last month and endorsements and sponsorships will carry on until the bill is passed in parliament.