This weekend I decided to get away from it all and head over to Vancouver for the 40th Annual Pride Parade. My girlfriend Nicole manages a few dispensaries owned by Dana Larsen and told me that they would not be in the Pride Parade this year. In the past, Sensible BC has been a big supporter of the parade and has always walked in it; but this year it was going to be different.
I assumed that it was due to regulations but was quite surprised to hear that it was in fact because of a non-competition agreement from a large sponsor, the Licensed Producer, Aurora.
Picture a large platform decorated in plant foliage, the word Aurora written in big, acrylic letters in the center and young, glitter-clad adults enthusiastically surrounding it; dancing and celebrating. I couldn’t help but boo.
This situation is all kinds of wrong because it is an obvious display of an abuse of power. The Cannabis Act does not reflect the legislation that the cannabis community would like to see but there are many companies that are doing their best to comply regardless. The lack of advertising available makes it so that business success depends on the choice of the market.
In this situation, Aurora is using its licensed status as an unfair and dishonorable advantage.
When it comes to advertising and promotions, The Cannabis Act has several types of restrictions on promotional activities considered appealing to youth. With more and more floats from schools and youth organizations being in it each year, the Pride Parade is a commonly known, family-friendly event. As a celebration of diversity, it is open to all ages to not only attend, but to participate in as well.
Sensible BC is an organization devoted to the decriminalization of cannabis. Unlike Aurora, their message isn’t about selling cannabis or available products; spreading the word about their BC Marijuana Referendum Campaign has been their only purpose.
The Pride Parade is a celebration of human rights and cannabis rights affect us all; Sensible BC had an appropriate presence that promoted the proper use of the law, not cannabis.
The Federal Government has introduced The Cannabis Act to restrict access and protect youth and the punishments for violating it are extremely severe. The Cannabis Act clearly ‘prohibits promotion of cannabis, except in narrow circumstances where the promotion could not be seen by a young person‘ and Aurora has violated it.
Penalties for violating these advertising prohibitions include a fine of up to $5 million, 3 years in jail, or both yet Aurora will likely hear nothing about it.
When a Federally Licensed Producer can spend corporate money to make an error so dismissive of the law, it begs one to consider the validity of that law in the first place.
To see a Federal LP shamelessly elbow out a political cannabis organization is extremely sad, especially considering its to increase their sales. But, what’s worse is the fact that Aurora was able to do it in the first place, without any consequences.
The laws surround cannabis are ridiculous and we know this; Its pretty clear based on their presence that Aurora does too.