How Companies Can Market Legal Marijuana
Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Canada, the door is open for promotional products suppliers and distributors to look for opportunities in branding, packaging and promotional giveaways. But, the Canadian government might put the brakes on that plan.
According to Bloomberg, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Canadian government are set to propose a law tomorrow that reportedly will leave a lot of regulation details to individual provincial governments. One of the key recommendations, however, is that the government should heavily restrict the marketing and promotion of marijuana.
Think about how other countries, like Australia, package cigarettes. Some choose drab colors, while others show disturbing images of health side effects from smoking. The promotional materials and packaging for marijuana likely wouldn't be that severe, but people close to the matter think the Canadian government will restrict flashy packaging.
"What you're going to have is really boring packaging, for sure, which we're not necessarily in favor of," Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy Growth Corp., told Bloomberg. "I think where we're landing is somewhere in the middle [of alcohol and tobacco rules.]"
Canopy Growth Corp. is the first Canadian marijuana company with a market value of C$1 billion ($750 million in the U.S.), and announced back in October that it planned to partner with Snoop Dogg on a line of merchandise for the Canadian market.
Trudeau said that his primary goal is to keep marijuana away from minors and cut off cash-flow to criminal groups that sell it illegally. The panel that released its recommendations for provincial governments urged them to implement "comprehensive restrictions to the advertising and promotion" of marijuana. For example, the recommendations include plain packaging with a company's name, the name of the strain of marijuana, the price, active ingredient details and health warnings.
So, you likely won't see any cartoon mascots like you would on cereal boxes.
Aside from keeping the products away from children, the government also wants to make sure that consumers differentiate legal and illegal marijuana sold by criminal groups, like gangs, which relates back to what Trudeau said.
However, the C.D. Howe Institute think tank said that allowing companies to market their products with flashier branding could "give people a reason to pay a premium in the legal market."