Health Canada statement on event sponsorship and other promotional activities by federally licensed producers of cannabis
Health Canada is concerned by the decision of some federally licensed producers of cannabis for medical purposes to sponsor events, such as music festivals, and engage in other promotional activities, as reported recently by several Canadian media outlets.
The Government has made its position regarding event and other kinds of corporate sponsorship and other promotional activities abundantly clear, including by setting out prohibitions in the Cannabis Act. Practices that would go against these prohibitions are contrary to the Government's goal to protect public health and public safety, including the goal of protecting young persons and others from inducements to use cannabis as set out in the purpose section of the Act. The actions of some companies have underscored the need for the prohibitions in the Act and their rigorous enforcement.
As the law presently stands, the advertising of cannabis is subject to several prohibitions in both the Narcotic Control Regulations (NCR), made under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), and the Food and Drugs Act (FDA). For example, under paragraph 70(b) of the NCR, no person shall publish or cause to be published or furnish any advertisement to the general public respecting a narcotic.
Health Canada expects that all parties who are authorized to conduct activities with cannabis adhere to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct, and at all times comply with the law. The department is reviewing the actions of existing licensed producers and will be taking every possible step to bring them into compliance or prevent non-compliance with existing laws.
Those who do not adhere to the applicable prohibitions will face serious consequences, which may include if appropriate, suspension of their licence.
The contravention of the existing prohibitions can also result in criminal liability. For example, the contravention of paragraph 70(b) of the NCR is an offence under section 46 of the CDSA, which now carries a maximum fine of $5 million on indictment or a maximum fine of $250,000 (for a first offence) or $500,000 (for a subsequent offence) on a summary conviction, with the possibility of imprisonment.