Task Force Report: Branding And Packaging Of Cannabis

In this edition of our series on the Task Force's final report "A Framework for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada" (the "Report") we explore the Task Force's recommendations in relation to advertising, packaging and labelling of cannabis.

The Task Force recommends imposing strict tobacco-like limitations on the marketing and promotion of cannabis. If implemented, these restrictions could have a profound impact on the ability of industry stakeholders to brand, market and brand differentiate.

Promotion and Labelling of Cannabis Recommendations

In the Report, the Task Force recommends that the federal government:

apply comprehensive advertising restrictions that cover any medium, including print, broadcast, social media, branded merchandise, and all cannabis products, including related accessories, similar to the restrictions set out in the Tobacco Act; require plain packaging for cannabis products that only includes the following information: company name, price, strain name, and any applicable labelling requirements; require appropriate labelling on cannabis products, including: Levels of THC and CBD Text warning labels (e.g., "KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN") For edibles, labelling requirements that apply to food and beverage products require that any therapeutic claims made in advertising conform to the legislation. For example, the Food and Drugs Act and its Regulations require that claims not be false, misleading or deceptive or likely to create an erroneous impression regarding the drug's character, value, quantity, composition, merit or safety; and implement administrative penalties (with flexibility to enforce more serious penalties) for contraventions of promotion and labelling rules. Tobacco Act Restrictions

Under the Tobacco Act, SC 1997, c 13, promotion is defined as "a representation about a product or service by any means, whether directly or indirectly, including any communication of information about a product or service and its price and distribution that is likely to influence and shape attitudes, beliefs and behaviours about the product or service." This definition of promotion does not extend to the publishing of legitimate scientific research funded by tobacco manufacturers. Promotion is to be interpreted to mean "commercial promotion indirectly or directly targeted at consumers."1

A person may advertise a tobacco product only in limited circumstances. A person may only promote by means of information...

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