In order to protect the innocent masses from the dangers of cannabis, Quebec has introduced a draconian measure that bans the sale of any products emblazoned by a cannabis leaf.
That includes t-shirts, lighters, bongs, ashtrays, decor, containers, posters… you name it, it covers pretty much anything else might imagine in headshops and smoke stores throughout La belle province.
It’s an effort to prevent the normalization of cannabis that goes so far overboard it’s insane. Not to mention that Quebec’s own government-run cannabis distributor, Société Québecoise du Cannabis, has a logo that incorporates a cannabis leaf- although it was called out on social media for looking more like a butthole than cannabis.
While the government is probably not planning on monetizing its own logo through merchandise sales, it’s funny and stupid that even its logo could be banned under the new laws- unless it receives government approval, that is.
According to CTV News, a section of Quebec’s cannabis regulations states that “logos, designs, or images can’t be used on cannabis-related objects that aren’t government-approved.”
But how far will this overreach go? Does that mean even books about cannabis that happen to have a leaf on the cover will be banned too?
This is getting uncomfortably close to an extreme form of censorship that will certainly be challenged in courts. Mylany David, a Montreal-based lawyer, called these regulations “extreme prohibition”, telling CTV News that:
“I would believe the Quebec regulation for now would be probably subject to interpretation in the future because there is a general prohibition to promote cannabis on any object.
That leads to, I believe, extreme prohibition.””
The rules are bewildering to customers as well and smoke shop owners like Christopher Mennillo are worried about the negative impact it will have on their sales, telling CTV:
“Imagine a consumer walking in here with an innocent purchase in mind, just want(ing) to buy a cannabis t-shirt.
And lo and behold, the one place he expects it to be, it won’t be there.”
But Quebec said it’s ready to enforce its new laws and its health ministry has 31 inspectors to make sure retailers comply. Penalties for breaking these rules will range from fines of $5,000 – $62,5000, and they may double for repeat offences.
There’s no word yet on whether these inspectors will also be fining anybody already wearing cannabis-emblazoned clothing or if it applies only to retailers but we’re already this far down the path of stupid and that possibility is not that far away.
This could have unintended side effects as it’s basically creating a black market that didn’t exist before, and it will force people to go out of province to buy their cannabis-related merchandise, which not only hurts the retailers in Quebec, it will make a dent in the province’s coffers as it will lose the tax money off of those sales as well.
It could also backfire if people organize protests against these overbearing regulations by wearing cannabis leaf-emblazoned clothing, making the cannabis leaf more prominent than ever.
Compared to the rest of the country, Quebec’s laws are unusual as well. No other province in Canada has adopted such an extreme measure, as most are following the federal guidelines that treat cannabis advertising and promotion similarly to tobacco.
Featured image courtesy of Portland Business Journal.