TORONTO — Health Canada is looking into whether two cannabis companies’ sponsorship of a children’s charity event last October is in violation of promotion restrictions within the Cannabis Act.
Cannabis sector companies Canopy Growth Corp. and Halo Labs were among the sponsors of an Oct. 23 event in support of Kids, Cops & Computers for the Merry Go Round Children’s Foundation, whose honorary chairman is federal Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair.
During the annual event called Inspiration Night, held in Toronto, the cannabis companies’ logos were used in a poster of sponsors and other materials, according to pictures posted by the non-profit online.
A Health Canada spokesman says the Cannabis Act does not prohibit the sponsorship of a person, entity, activity or facility but that sponsorship cannot be used to promote cannabis and it is prohibited to display a brand element of cannabis.
“We are gathering facts and information about the situation to determine whether there may be an instance of non-compliance with the promotion prohibitions in the Cannabis Act,” said Health Canada spokesman Geoffroy Legault-Thivierge in an email.
He added that Health Canada has followed up with the company to ensure it is aware of the promotions prohibitions, and it understands that the Foundation has removed the names of the cannabis companies from the list of sponsors on its website.
Under the Cannabis Act, that came into effect when Canada legalized pot for recreational use on Oct. 17 last year, there are strict guidelines on promotion and marketing. Those include a ban on promotion that is appealing to youth, and sponsorship of people, events or buildings. However, approaches between licensed producers in the months since legalization have varied and some industry players have said that reflects uncertainty on how to interpret murky portions of the act.
The act stipulates that it is prohibited to display, refer to or otherwise use a brand element of cannabis directly, or indirectly, in a promotion that is used in the sponsorship of a person, entity, event, activity or facility. As well, it is prohibited to display the name of a person that produces, sells, or distributes cannabis, sells or distributes a cannabis accessory or provides a service related to cannabis.
Merry Go Round’s president Mark Zwicker said at the time of the event, the Cannabis Act was so new it wasn’t clear whether brand elements could be used. The charity has since removed the logos from its website, he said.
“It’s a grey area and we don’t want to do anything that would materially affect the charity… I can assure you that no one that was involved with the charity would have knowingly taken any action that would contravene the act,” Zwicker said.
Canopy Growth said it is not prohibited from sponsoring an event as long as cannabis is not promoted.
“There was no promotion of Canopy’s donation,” stated spokeswoman Caitlin O’Hara. “The only public mention of Canopy Growth’s corporate donation was the company’s logo on the charity’s donation page and logo placement at the event itself, which was a private event.”
Halo Labs and Bill Blair did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The sponsorship portion of the Cannabis Act does have some “grey areas,” such as whether a holding company would be subject to the sponsorship restrictions, said Ottawa-based lawyer Trina Fraser.
“In and of itself, it is not a producer or distributor of cannabis, its subsidiaries are… I think there is still some greyness around that,” she said.
However, the act says it is prohibited to use a trademark or brand name slogan that evokes or is reasonably associated with cannabis, said Toronto-based lawyer Matt Maurer.
“Even if Canopy is the parent company, using their name is a brand element because it is associated with cannabis, that’s what they do…. There’s an argument to be made on both sides.”
When reviewing regulated activities under the act, Health Canada considers each situation on a “case by case-basis,” said Legault-Thivierge.
“A range of factors including, but not limited to, the purpose of any promotion, its content, its context, and its intended audience would be assessed when enforcing the prohibitions on promotion in the Cannabis Act,” he said.
Companies in this story: (TSX:WEED)
Armina Ligaya, The Canadian Press
Note to readers: A previous version referred to Canopy Growth and Halo Labs as licensed producers
With the world’s population soaring to 10 billion people, Robert Saik explores how farmers “might” be able to feed everyone
Earth’s population will be close to 10 billion people by 2050. So consider this line from Robert Saik’s “FOOD 5.0″…
“In order to feed the world, we have to grow 10,000 years’ worth of food in the next 30 years, which means farmers worldwide must increase their food production by 60 to 70%.”
If that doesn’t wake you up… probably nothing can. How will farmers do it? Even with today’s technology this it going to take an overwhelming international effort to avoid a mass-starvation.
His first book, “The Agriculture Manifesto – Ten Key Drivers That Will Shape Agriculture in the Next Decade” was a 2014 Best of Amazon Books and this TEDx Talk “Will Agriculture be Allowed to Feed 9 Billion People?” has been viewed over 150,000 times.
In a time where more and more people (in the first world) are demanding to know where their food is coming from and how food is being produced, “FOOD 5.0 How We Feed The Future” should be required reading.
Robert Saik in the Author Hour Podcast:
“Food 5.0, How We Feed the Future was written for an urban audience, more so than a farming audience. My mental image of who I wrote the book for was a 33-year-old mom in a city with some kids who is working and raising her kids.”
“We live in a time now where all the technologies are smashing together–they are converging on the farm to reshape the farm in ways that urban people just simply do not understand. It is happening at a breakneck pace and farms are far more sophisticated, far more advanced than people realize.”
” you’re going to realize and learn a lot about food production and a lot about marketing.”
In FOOD 5.0 How We Feed The Future, Robert Saik examines “how technology convergence is reshaping the farm and the consumer”.
Robert has been hailed as an agriculture futurist with unparalleled insight into where the industry is headed. He’s worked with a variety of agriculturalists from Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture to Bill Gates.
He is the CEO of DOT Farm Solutions, which supports farmers adopting autonomous robotics in broad acre agriculture. He’s also the founder of AG Viser Pro, a platform that Uber-izes knowledge and wisdom, enabling farmers to instantaneously connect with agriculture experts worldwide.
Robert is a passionate keynote speaker and is executive producer of the Know Ideas Media a science based multi-media company addressing issues such as GMO’s and their use in food production. (Know Ideas Media is a partner in Todayville.com/Agriculture)
He serves on several Boards, is an advisor to Olds College, is a member of the A100 (Alberta Tech Entrepreneur Network), a student of Strategic Coach and Singularity University and a member of Abundance 360. As a partner in Perigro Venture Partners he participates in early stage technology investments.
He been recognized for agriculture leadership by the Alberta Institute of Agrologists (Provincial Distinguished Agrologist of the Year) and in 2016 was awarded Canadian Agri-Marketer of the Year by the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association.
Here’s a story produced by Todayville on Robert’s visit to Seattle to brief Bill Gates.
Prospect of U.S.-China trade deal creates access worries for Canadian farmers
OTTAWA — China’s move to stop buying several Canadian agricultural products has punished some farmers, and now industry leaders are worrying about the prospect of a broader threat — an eventual U.S.-China trade deal.
Canadian exports of beef, pork, canola and soybeans have largely been locked out of the massive Chinese market following the December arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.
At the same time, a handful of Canadian crops have had stronger sales to China over the past year, such as Canadian wheat, thanks to trade-related tariffs imposed by the U.S.
Canadian Agri-food Trade Alliance president Brian Innes says Canada may see indirect benefits from the trade war in the short term — but he worries a deal down the road could have a negative impact on farm exports to China.
Innes says President Donald Trump has been clear that any trade deal must include China agreeing to make major agricultural purchases from the U.S.
He says Canadian exporters would like to see the government push for the removal of non-tariff barriers in other foreign markets — such as those in Europe and the Pacific Rim — because they have prevented farmers from fully benefiting from multilateral trade deals.
At the moment, there are few signs of progress in the U.S.-China trade talks, but negotiators are expected to meet next month.
The Canadian Press
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