As Canada prepares for a federal election campaign, the Cannabis Council of Canada (C3) is launching the #FutureofCanadianCannabis, a public affairs campaign leveraging the national footprint of Canada’s 700+ cannabis Licence Holders.
“Canada’s Cannabis License Holders are broadly distributed across Canada, representing the sector’s untold advocacy strength” said George Smitherman, President and CEO of the Cannabis Council of Canada (C3). “Our goal is to leverage the election period to encourage more License Holders to develop lasting relationships with their local Member of Parliament and to help elected officials understand the benefits of legal cannabis for their communities and their constituents” he added.
The campaign is comprised of three initiatives designed to complement one another:
1. Communications with party leaders seeking their perspectives on the Future of Canadian Cannabis.
2. Election advocacy training sessions open to all Health Canada License Holders.
3. #Future of Canadian Cannabis ad campaign to deal with priority issues- criminal record expungements and removing taxation from medicinal cannabis.
C3 recently wrote letters to each federal party leader posing nine questions to determine their party’s commitment to the Canadian cannabis sector. In these letters, C3 highlighted:
• The barriers for social progress and equity within the legal cannabis environment, especially for BIPOC individuals.
• The significant public safety and health shortcomings of legalization resulting from the prevalence of an entrenched criminal market which comprises at least half of recreational cannabis sales.
• The challenges facing consumers struggling with limited avenues to understand products and the public health consequences of consumer confusion.
• Consumers lacking access to CBD-only products and the resulting lost opportunities for job creation, research and development, and taxation.
• The challenges facing exporters of medical cannabis resulting from red tape and over-regulation, despite a global appetite for quality controlled, tested Canadian products.
C3 is offering free Election Advocacy Training Sessionsto encourage more Health Canada License Holders to create lasting local relationships with current or prospective Members of Parliament. “By providing hands-on practical training, tools, and ongoing support we can give License Holders the assistance needed to reach out to local candidates for elected office,” said Smitherman. “I find it gratifying when I can bring my political experience and insights to the table to help de-mystify politics and government” he added. Three training sessions are currently scheduled, including one bilingual session.”
In addition to the information provided during the Election Advocacy Training Sessions, C3 will be assisting License Holders through with the drafting of correspondence and issues notes, as well as providing a #FutureofCanadianCannabis Voter Checklist to track the responses and positions of local candidates on cannabis community issues and priorities. Materials will be easy to access, downloadable and customizable.
The third initiative is the expansion of our #FutureofCanadianCannabis Advertising Campaign, currently running our “5-Pack” ad to draw attention to the problems with cannabis beverage equivalency formula. By combining advertising with organic social media, C3 will bring greater focus to industry priorities including criminal record expungements and removing taxation from medicinal cannabis.
“These complimentary initiatives during the election period are a first for the Cannabis Council of Canada and they reflect an important step in the maturity of a regulated industry,” said Rick Savone, C3’s Board Chair and SVP of Global Government Relations at Aurora Cannabis. “Canada’s cannabis industry has an extensive local reach and deep relationships which are especially important since the Statutory Review of the Cannabis Act, set to begin in October 2021, is one of the first issues that newly elected MPs of the 44th Canadian Parliament will hear about,” concluded Savone.