Pat Beggan

While cannabis enthusiasts are celebrating the passage of Canada‘s historic legalization legislation this week, the rules agreed on by lawmakers include unfortunate stipulations for entrepreneurs in terms of product packaging and branding opportunities, according to a report by World Trademark Review. Specifically, cannabis products sold in Canada’s adult-use marketplace must include “little branding and strict health warnings.”

Similar packaging rules are already in place in Canada for tobacco products, but industry experts are concerned that the rules may stunt the growth of the cannabis industry, as individual brands will have a harder time gaining recognition and momentum in the marketplace.

Research conducted by the Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) and the National Convenience Stores Distributors Association of Canada (NACDA) suggests that most Canadians (64 percent) would prefer a freer branding environment for both cannabis and tobacco products. Additionally, 40 percent of Canadians reportedly believe that forcing brands to use generic packaging leads to an uptick in counterfeit products.

“We and millions of Canadian consumers are deeply concerned that imposing this type of generic brand regimen will fuel and accelerate the growth of the illict, criminal market.” — A spokesperson for NACDA, to World Trademark Review

The Canadian Senate approved bill C-45 earlier this week, pushing the legalization legislation over its final hurdle and making Canada the second country in the world and the first G7 nation to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis. The market launch has been set for October 17, 2018.

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