At least not for now …
On October 17th 2018 Canada made cannabis legal. It makes sense as it will:
- save resources such as police, courts, lawyers and jails, who will no longer be spending money to punish users and dealers.
- plus generate income as it is being sold by government owned outlets, similar to liquor.
Being only the second country in the world to fully legalize cannabis, stories were all over the news, social media feeds and videos. I came across a marketing article on the stringent legalities around promoting pot.
The sentence that stood out for me was:
A ban on mass advertising, sponsorship, contests, endorsements and promotions that associate cannabis with attractive lifestyles.
Clearly the word contests stood out the most. I clicked the link to read more …
There is a lot of money at stake as companies jostle for position in the recreational market, he said in an interview. “I think companies are going to take a lot of risks, and ask for forgiveness later.
“You have to look at the opportunity cost. If you toe the line, you may be 100 per cent compliant (with the law) but you may be zero per cent profitable.”
One company may end up as the enforcement guinea pig, said Sutton. “(Companies) are going to continue down this path of testing the waters, walking that line, until Health Canada either continues to passively say, ‘Uh oh, you shouldn’t be doing that,’ or they say ‘That’s enough, we are placing sanctions on you,’ and they come down hard.”
Sutton considers Canada’s cannabis advertising restrictions “grossly overstepping and prohibiting normal business activity.” If companies can’t promote their brands it stifles competition, which is essential to push them to improve the quality of their products and allow the best operators to rise to the top, he said.
“It’s naive at best to allow something, then basically lock it up in the dark. It’s going to be very interesting.”
Will companies, push the envelope and host giveaways promoting the brand (vs. cannabis)? Some already have swag they give away at events. Will that shift to social media? Only time will tell.
Would you enter if they sponsored sweepstakes?