CMA Releases Cannabis Guide to Help Marketers Comply with Legislation

Published: October 30, 2018

CMA Releases Cannabis Guide to Help Marketers Comply with Legislation

The Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) released a guide to help Canadian marketers comply with new federal legislation that took effect earlier this month.

“The CMA Guide on Permitted Cannabis Marketing Activities provides information and insights to help marketers in this newly legalized sector to comply with the legislation and follow best practices,” said John Wiltshire, CMA president and CEO. “It supports the CMA’s mandate to provide educational resources to maintain and strengthen the professionalism and integrity of the marketing community in Canada.”

The guide reviews marketing practices that are permitted by new federal legislation, those that are prohibited, and those where caution should be exercised because the legislation is unclear. It was developed by the CMA’s Working Group on Cannabis, led by co-chairs Rick Moscone, (Partner, Securities Law Group Chair, Fogler, Rubinoff LLP) and Chris Bolivar (Vice President, Brand and Marketing, Fire and Flower) and includes senior marketers from several companies/sectors, including BBDO Canada, Kantar, Pattison Outdoor, Sussex Strategy Group, and TorStar.

The guide is relevant not only for front-line marketers in the cannabis sector, but also for their suppliers, as it covers activities such as signage/billboards, packaging, and the sale of non-cannabis items such as swag.

“Marketing restrictions on cannabis will be similar, but not identical, to tobacco restrictions,” said Chris Bolivar, Vice President, Brand and Marketing, Fire and Flower. “A fair bit of confusion exists, not only for cannabis companies, but also for suppliers to the industry, from billboards and packaging to the sale of non-cannabis items such as promotional items. The guide will help to clarify the rules.”

“It is important for marketers within cannabis companies and their suppliers and partners to understand their obligations,” added Rick Moscone, Partner, Fogler, Rubinoff LLP. “Companies that adhere to regulations and best practices avoid the risk of penalties and other legal sanctions and strengthen their brand reputation.”

The new Canadian legislation permits the use of recreational cannabis by adults. Provinces and territories are responsible for regulating the distribution and sale of cannabis in their jurisdictions, including setting age restrictions, and will have varying combinations of online sales, government-run retail outlets and private stores.