Task Force Report Problems: Advertising & Promotion

The Task Farce Report recommends the federal government impose legislation “similar to the restrictions on promotion of tobacco products.”

Tobacco lacks cultural acceptance. There are no Cheech and Chongs or Harold and Kumars. Rappers don’t make songs about smoking cigarettes every day.

There is no strain of tobacco oil called Phoenix Tears. People generally don’t use nicotine medically.

As well, cannabis in Canada, especially in British Columbia, attracts a large, vocal minority of connoisseurs.

Good luck trying to squash it.

We’re making headways with “diverse producers” but the report backpedals on restricting “social sharing” exclusions and seed-to-sale tracking.

For now, we’ll deal with whether anyone can promote the plant.

When the Task Force recommends the federal government “enable the detection and enforcement of advertising and marketing violations, including via traditional and social media,” I ask, are we now policing the internet for cannabis?

I didn’t realize the move to legalize and restrict cannabis sought to balance freedom of speech rights.

Nevertheless, the Report recommends the federal government apply “comprehensive restrictions” to sponsorships, endorsements, and branding.

Sorry Snoop Brown… Unless, oh right, branding and advertising online is tolerated when you have the proper credentials.

Your papers please!

The report recommends “limited promotion” in areas accessible only by adults, but again, “similar to those restrictions under the Tobacco Act.”

Is this a typo?

Trudeau Señor didn’t legalize, restrict and regulate homosexuality.

In a social exclusion zone inaccessible by children, what business is it of the federal government to act as an unwanted third party between two consenting adults?

What kind of success can they realistically expect with these unenforceable laws?

When the Task Farce recommends “any therapeutic claims made in advertising conform to applicable legislation,” they best have a broad interpretation of therapeutic claims.

In the tobacco industry, there is a move towards simple, unimaginative labels. The Farce Report recommends “plain packaging for cannabis products,” displaying basic information and nothing else.

If it’s an edible, bakers will be expected to adhere to the national labeling standard. The government regulates everything from definitions of breakfast food to “made with” statements.

But if the goal is overgrowing the government, now is the time to implement stage two.

Adopting labeling rules depend on how nuanced the government decides to get. Consumers will always demand quality assurance in one form or another. Ignoring federal rules on advertising, promotion, packaging, and therapeutic claims is a reclamation of consumer sovereignty.

There is a political sovereignty in this land, but when it comes to legalizing and restricting cannabis, Liberal government costs tend to exceed their benefits.

We have a moral obligation to follow rules that facilitate social cooperation and peaceful relations. Disobeying federal legislation on cannabis packaging and promotion do not violate these tenets. It is an act of civil disobedience.

But lawyer and Task Farce Chair Anne McLellan said we need to follow the rules because Canada is a country based on the “rule of law.” But the rule of law is a myth, it suggests an absence of arbitrariness.

Because the law is always open to interpretation, “there is no such thing as a normatively neutral interpretation. The way one interprets the rules of law is always determined by one’s underlying moral and political beliefs.”

These laws will be unenforceable.