October 24, 2019

About the Author

  • Silvia de Sousa

    Silvia’s practice is concentrated in the area of business law with an emphasis on intellectual property law and technology law. Silvia is a trademark agent.

    svd@tdslaw.com
    (204) 934-2592

  • Danielle Grzybowski

    Danielle’s practice is concentrated in the areas of business law, intellectual property law and franchise law.

    dcg@tdslaw.com
    (204) 934-2446

Since the legalization of cannabis and the coming into force of the laws and regulations that govern the use, possession and sale of cannabis on October 17, 2018, there has been a lot of uncertainty surrounding the promotion of cannabis.

The Cannabis Act (Canada) (the “Act”) provides a general restriction prohibiting the promotion of cannabis. But it also provides some exceptions. One such exception is the “SWAG” exception which provides that:

Subject to the regulations, a person may promote cannabis, a cannabis accessory or a service related to cannabis by displaying a brand element of cannabis, of a cannabis accessory or of a service related to cannabis on a thing that is not cannabis or a cannabis accessory, other than (a) a thing that is associated with young persons; (b) a thing that there are reasonable grounds to believe could be appealing to young persons; or (c) a thing that is associated with a way of life such as one that includes glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring.

This means that licence holders can promote cannabis by placing their brand element (as defined in the Act) on a thing that is not cannabis or a cannabis accessory.  For example, coffee mugs and T-shirts.  However, note that under the Act, licence holders cannot use this exception to sell matchbooks, lighters or any other thing that is commonly used in the consumption of cannabis with their brand element on it.

Before selling any SWAG displaying a cannabis brand element, organizations should seek legal advice to help them navigate the promotion prohibitions imposed by the Act, including the somewhat unclear prohibitions related to “glamour”, “appealing to young persons” and “daring.”  Specifically, the Act prohibits licence holders from promoting cannabis, cannabis accessories or services related to cannabis by displaying a brand element on “a thing that is associated with young persons; a thing that there are reasonable grounds to believe could be appealing to young persons; or a thing that is associated with a way of life such as one that includes glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring.” 

If you require more information on this matter, please contact us.

Read more on this topic:

Sponsorships & Cannabis: Are they a violation of promotion restrictions?

Navigating Canadian Cannabis Promotion Restrictions: The Age-Gate Exception


DISCLAIMER:
This article is presented for informational purposes only. The content does not constitute legal advice or solicitation and does not create a solicitor client relationship. The views expressed are solely the authors’ and should not be attributed to any other party, including Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP (TDS), its affiliate companies or its clients. The authors make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to via this article. The authors are not able to provide free legal advice. If you are seeking advice on specific matters, please contact Keith LaBossiere, CEO & Managing Partner at kdl@tdslaw.com, or 204.934.2587. Please be aware that any unsolicited information sent to the author(s) cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

While care is taken to ensure the accuracy for the purposes stated, before relying upon these articles, you should seek and be guided by legal advice based on your specific circumstances. We would be pleased to provide you with our assistance on any of the issues raised in these articles.