Coalition of licensed marijuana producers propose looser ad guidelines

Growing flowers of cannabis intended for the medical marijuana market are shown at OrganiGram in Moncton, N.B., on April 14, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ron Ward

A coalition of licensed marijuana producers are urging Canadian, provincial and territorial governments to adopt looser advertising guidelines such as allowing for promotion of brands, going against the strict marketing principles recommended by the federal task force.

The Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Branding argued in its proposed guidelines released today that licensed marijuana producers must be able to explain to consumers why their products are better than black market offerings in order to stamp out illicit sales.

That's in contrast to the federal task force's recommendation last year that cannabis products should have plain packaging and only allow certain kinds of information to be listed, such as company name, strain and price.

The federal task force added that advertising restrictions on marijuana should be similar to those imposed on the tobacco industry once recreational cannabis is legal in Canada in July 2018.

The coalition, whose 17 members include Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED) and Aphria Inc. (TSX:APH), has proposed advertising principles that are more akin to those used in the alcohol industry.

The proposed restrictions include that advertising not be directed or appeal to young people, and only promote a brand but not cannabis in general.

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