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Jul 26, 2018

Packaging Prohibitions: A Closer Look at Some Interesting Quirks of the Packaging Regulations Under the Cannabis Act

By Matt Maurer

Everyone knew that the marketing and promotion restrictions on packaging for licensed producers in the recreational market were going to be onerous.

The Cannabis Act (the “Act”) itself sets out a number of restrictions, including prohibitions on packaging that:

  • could be appealing to young persons;
  • sets out a testimonial or endorsement, however displayed or communicated;
  • depicts a person, character or animal, whether real or fictional;
  • associates the cannabis or one of its brand elements with a way of life; or
  • contains information that is false or misleading.

On top of what is set out in the Act itself, in March, 2018, the Government of Canada released its proposed approach to the regulation of cannabis which contained some details of the Government’s proposed approach to packaging. This proposed approach discussed items such as:

  • limiting the use of colours on packaging;
  • setting standard font type, size and colour for brand elements relative to other information displayed on the package; and/or
  • restrictions on the use of brand elements, including relative size, colour, and place on the package.

While these items gave a sense of what was likely to come, the most important set of rules relating to packaging was to be set out in the regulations under the Act. Indeed, section 25 of the Act explicitly prohibits the sale of cannabis that has not been packaged or labeled in accordance with the regulations.

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