Canada is expected to legalize marijuana this coming summer. The government is trying to ensure that the legalization process is as smooth as possible and one of the steps being undertaken is packaging marijuana in uniform packages. The packages should not include any graphic images and must have a uniform color.
According to the recent report by CIBC, the packaging will ensure clear branding for consumer’s sake. They will be multiple brands just like in alcohol industry.
The main objective for the introduction of plain packages and tough branding limits is to prevent the kids from abusing the drug. The plain package also reduces the attraction marijuana has to non-consumers.
According to CIBC, the new regulations prevent the packages from being shiny, metallic or eye-catching. The logos will be very restricted as well as branding. The stakeholders in the marijuana industry are however optimistic that the regulations might soften as the Cannabis Act is still in parliament.
What’s in for branding breeds growers?
Giant marijuana growing companies believe that they should be given freedom to brand their products as they seem fit. They state that most consumers will not trust unbranded products and it might as well attract illegal unlicensed producers.
According to Mark Zekulin who is the president of Canopy Growth marijuana producer, branding will ensure accountability of the product as companies will put in a lot of efforts to ensure that their brand stands out. Most consumers are preferential and the white packages would not be doing them any favor as they will all look the same, this might just kick some customers out of the legal market.
The same sentiments are expressed by Michael J Armstrong who is an associated professor at Brock University. He clearly states that branding will help the consumer pick his favorite brand only once but the white packages will force them to go through a myriad of packages as they try to find a suitable one everytime time they go shopping.
Armstrong also points out that different marijuana products have different effects and uses. Some customers might be after the medicinal marijuana package while others might be after getting super high. Branding will help differentiate these differences for the consumers.
Marketing marijuana in Canada
As the Canadian government rushes to legalize marijuana by the end of this summer, many people still believe that the public safety has not been fully accounted for. They believe that they will be a lot of things not been taken into consideration due to the speedy steps being undertaken to beat the deadline.
The safety of population especially the youth should of primary concern to all hence there will be no involvement with celebrities, endorsements and almost any other thing that glamorizes the product.
The regulations cuts across the board for all forms of marketing including the advertisements. Banners and billboards that will promote the drug in a wrong way will be pulled down according toto the federal laws. False ways of marketing including sponsorship of events, buildings or events will be highly prohibited. The laws seek to have a controlled marijuana market with proper revenue collection channels.
For those who are fond of marketing their products through lottery contests and such promotions, this time they will definitely find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
Business owners are however infuriated by the restrictions on marijuana market. They believe that the government can still achieve the same objectives by setting elaborate simple rules pertaining the marketing of marijuana.
It is still very unclear on how the government will handle online advertisements for marijuana. Almost everyone has access to the internet and it will be very hard to implement the regulations on the platform. Some checks are already in place but they can be easily bypassed.
Health Canada has pledged to have a sharp eye on the licensed producers and ensure that they follow the stipulated regulations. Any licensed producer who will contravene the regulations will face charges and lose its license.
According to Jerome Konecsni who is a professor at the Johnson Graduate School of Public Policy, every stakeholder should be adequately prepared to handle a lot of information and seek the ways to improve the market from the time of legalization. He is optimistic that producers will be allowed to brand their products with time but not initially.
Who should design the package?
There has a contest between the health sector backed up by the federal officials and marijuana producers as to who should be tasked with the responsibility of designing the package.
The health sector officials argue that the labeling will require professionalism as it is a crucial way to educate the public about the effects of consuming marijuana. They also urged the government to apply the same approach it has on medicinal products to all marijuana products.
The Health Canada is very strict when it comes to marijuana medicinal products than other non-prescribed products. This fact has been misunderstood by a majority of the Canadian population. The health association officials claim that the Canadian consumers need to be protected from wrong information being shot from a different direction.