The Hazy Boundaries of Canada’s Cannabis Advertising Restrictions

Coming into force on October 17, Canada’s legislation to legalize cannabis contains provisions that ban endorsements and testimonials, as well as depictions of people, celebrities, and characters on cannabis packaging.

But just how far do the provisions go? What will these restrictions mean for Canopy Growth’s line of Snoop Dogg-affiliated products, or the infamous appointment of KISS bassist Gene Simmons as Invictus’ chief evangelist?
The Cannabis Act says that “it is prohibited to promote cannabis,” including “by means of a testimonial or endorsement” and “by means the depiction of a person, character or animal, whether real or fictional.” The same prohibitions apply to cannabis product labels.
However, the Cannabis Act permits limited advertising via “brand-preference promotion,” which involves promoting a brand’s specific characteristics. The Cannabis Act also permits “informational promotion.”
But just how far can licensed producers go with their advertising before Health Canada takes notice and considers enforcement action?

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