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April 10, 2018, Canada
Canadian laws regarding recreational marijuana becoming clearer as the country heads to its legal business in few months. As per the latest legalization provision disclosed by the government, the law will prohibit celebrities from endorsing and marketing marijuana.
Lawmaker Bill Blair, a former Toronto Police Chief, is the mastermind behind the cannabis legislation of the country. In a recent interview, he explicitly told that the new legislation laws would not allow celebrity endorsements and lifestyle advertising to promote cannabis.
According to him, the government doesn’t want to replicate the model of alcohol legislation where heavy marketing decked with celebrity endorsements is common. Purpose of this strict stipulation is to demonstrate that the country itself doesn’t promote the use of cannabis. Cannabis sponsorships will also go through severe scrutiny.
Hypocrisy and Nothing Else
Advocates have quickly reacted to this proposed crackdown on the promotion of cannabis. They are terming it as the government’s hypocrisy to bestow all leniencies on the alcohol industry which can sponsor the entire events and can get any celebrity on board. Some people are also raising the question as how is it illegal to endorse a legal commodity?
Moreover, cannabis advocate groups are also criticizing the strict regulations on the packaging of cannabis products that will even prevent making necessary product information available on the label. Moreover, with current packaging laws, all brands and products will appear the same and it isn’t good neither for cannabis businesses nor for end-users.
Customized mascots, patented brand logos and celebrity endorsements provide any product a necessary credence. But it won’t be possible with existing packaging laws as they prohibit all these elements on the packaging. Some experts also fear that this plain packaging will inadvertently promote the infiltration of unregulated weed in the market.
However, it seems like celebrity brand endorsement will happen one way or the other. A rock band and a famous Television show is planning to endorse marijuana in their coming acts. They have already signed deals with different cannabis companies.
One final legal formality is due in the form of Royal Assent to complete the cannabis legislation. In the same interview, Blair told that the Prime Minister wanted to get the royal assent as soon as possible to prevent any further delay in the sales of legal cannabis.
Aside from nationwide ban on cannabis promotion, some local jurisdictions are also showing their streak of animosity towards marijuana. For instance, Nova Scotia, eastern province of the country, has given property-owners the authority to ban cannabis. In addition, heavy penalties will be imposed on people driving under the influence of marijuana. Some City and towns are also contemplating to ban public consumption of weed.
Regarding all these controversial provisions, Blair says that a certain level of stringency is necessary to make the launch successful. But he has made it clear that these provisions are not here forever and with time and experience necessary alterations can be made to ease up the things.