Canadian Pot Companies Use Legal Gray Areas To Promote Product

By Paul Gaita 10/26/18
The companies are not allowed to promote their product with testimonials, glamorous images or mascots, according to Bill C-45.
Pro-cannabis protestors waving Canadian flag with marijuana leaf

As Canada attempts to contend—with varying degrees of success—with the massive demand for cannabis after the country legalized recreational marijuana on Oct. 17, various entrepreneurs have leapt into the fray to connect consumers with product in creative ways.

Among these is the delivery start-up Eddy Delivery, which is offering a unique promotional campaign to bring visitors to its website. The company offered to deliver free snacks to those who add their information to its mailing list, and add their names to a grand prize drawing for a visit to a licensed cannabis production facility.

The campaign is intended to help Eddy add delivery of recreational marijuana to its current service, which delivers medical marijuana. 

Eddy's website states that customers who sign up for its service would be added to a delivery list, which will be served with free snacks (while supplies lasted) on the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales.

Those who signed up could increase their chances for a windfall of munchies by sharing the information and tagging friends on Instagram. Participants were also entered into a random drawing for a "Lucky Green Ticket," which would grant four winners a tour of a licensed cultivation facility—or "local weed factory." 

The ultimate goal for Eddy is to branch into recreational cannabis delivery, though it will have to overcome considerable hurdles set in place by the legalization legislation.

As High Times noted, prospective cannabis companies are not allowed to promote their product with testimonials or mascots, but the specifics of this rule are—according to Scott Hulbert, managing director of the promotional products company Ideavation—"really gray."

"It's a moving target, as far as legalities, restrictions and advertising opportunities," said Hulbert. "Will it be like tobacco, which is very restricted in its advertising, or alcohol, which has been given more of a carte blanche? We just don't know."

Eddy CEO Ryan Dempsey echoed Hulbert's understanding of the current bill. "They recently changed regulations to allow Ontario retail stores to be run by private companies," he said. "They're still also considering changes for other rules, such as private e-commerce and delivery."

As for Eddy's chances of entering the recreational market, Dempsey said, "Nothing definite at this point, but we're optimistic."

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.