Canada: Big Marijuana Opposes Calls For Plain Packaging
As the Canadian government gets ready to introduce legislation to “legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana” before the summer, one area that Big Marijuana and public health advocates are scrutinizing is the issue of branding and promoting the marijuana products. Will the Canadian government heed public health advice or bow to marijuana industry pressure?
A task force appointed by the federal government recommended it require plain packaging and a limit to advertising similar to the restrictions on tobacco. The federal task force also recommended that plain marijuana packaging be allowed to include the company name, strain name, price, amounts of psychoactive ingredients and warnings. But licensed producers of medical marijuana argue that cannabis isn’t as dangerous as tobacco and that branding and marketing are necessary to attract consumers from the black market to the legal industry.
While there is a lot that researchers still don’t know about marijuana, it’s not a benign substance and there are health risks, said Rebecca Jesseman, a senior policy adviser at the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, which supports plain packaging – per reporting from thestar.com.
The purpose of plain packaging is to limit the industry’s ability to associate harmful products with glamor, sophistication and allure and to prevent it from detracting from public-health warnings.
The arguments put forward by the marijuana industry are largely reminiscent of the tactics of Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol.