Health Canada has recently issued what people are calling a wake-up call to the licensed medical marijuana producers which will push the envelope when it comes to advertising.
On 30th July 2014, a memo, obtained by the Citizen, was sent that tells the 13 producers that are licensed under the regulatory system brought on 1st April for instantly removing any inappropriate advertising from company materials and websites.
The Health Canada told the Citizen that the main purpose of the letter is to inform all licensed producers that Canada’s Government is concerned about those advertisements that are bogus, deceptive or misleading those that promotes marijuana and remind them of the obligations, particularly that marijuana advertising is not allowed.
The warning underscores the probable confusion around what constitutes an acceptable advertisement in the emerging industry. The Chief of Me Releaf, Neil Closner, a Toronto producer, said that many other licensed producers were purchasing Google AdWords and are engaged in direct online advertising. He further added that he did not know whether everyone is fully in compliance with it and the reason for the memo is very clear as he wanted to tell the industry about the established regulations, however some of the marijuana advertisements are still crossing the line.
It is stated in the memo that under the Act of Food and Drugs, a producer is not allowed to use misleading information and cannot promote or market marijuana as a preventive cure for abnormal physical states, disorders or diseases and treatment. Under Narcotic Control Regulations, that also regulate the producers of pharmaceutical drug, it has been stated that marijuana advertising directly to the general public is not permitted.
Health Canada is specifically concerned with materials that promote marijuana in relation to specific therapeutic claims. It also emphasized that licensed producers should refrain from showing an impression that they, their activities or their products are endorsed by Health Canada directly. Licensed producers should be inspected regularly, and their licenses are required to be renewed annually. According to Closner, Health Canada has hinted that it would scrutinize the marijuana producers even further.