The federal government currently regulates what images and text may be placed on cigarette packs, and Rob Cunningham, policy analyst from the Canadian Cancer Society, says that the government should be able to have this power over cannabis products once legalization begins. “I think these are some things in terms of options for marijuana. If the objective is you want to discourage kids from using marijuana, you probably don’t want to have pictures of Bob Marley on the package, or something like that” Cunningham says.

The federal government has been considering following Australia’s lead with tobacco products, and the Australian government requires that all tobacco packs have a plain label with a simple company name and health warning along with a generic color. The newly founded legalization task force in Canada will be looking into this issue.

A discussion paper by the task force suggests that legal cannabis products could be regulated in regards to the packaging in order to “both to protect children and to ensure adult users have the necessary information to make informed choices.” The issue of health labels and child-proof packaging are also being discussed by the task force.

In spite of Cunningham’s advocacy for government intervention into cannabis packaging, he says that the CCS has no official position on cannabis legalization. “We certainly have a long-standing point of view with respect to second-hand smoke. You shouldn’t be able to smoke anything anywhere that smoking is banned — so no marijuana, no herbal hookah, no waterpipe or cigarettes.”The Canadian Cancer Society is getting behind the idea of restricting cannabis packaging in the same way that tobacco products are currently packaged.

Footnote(s)