Health Canada ‘concerned’ by cannabis companies sponsoring music events

Health Canada said Friday it’s prepared to crack down on licensed medical marijuana producers who are sponsoring music festivals and other events.

The federal department said it’s “concerned” about some companies that have engaged in corporate sponsorships and other promotional activities that go against the Cannabis Act.

It said the government has made it “abundantly clear” what isn’t permitted under the laws, such as marketing to young people.

Health Canada issued a statement noting that cannabis companies have been dabbling in various forms of marketing that raise red flags, although it highlighted music festivals as a particular point of concern.

Tweed, a brand owned by Canopy Growth Corp., is among the companies that have been sponsoring events, including the Field Trip music festival and Pride Toronto this summer.

The company’s spokeswoman, Caitlin O’Hara, wrote in an emailed statement that Canopy is focused on education and responsible use of its product.

“We have reviewed all activities with counsel to ensure compliance and continue to work collaboratively with regulators in support of this shared objective,” she said.

Aurora Cannabis is another producer has taken a prominent sponsorship role at various Canadian events, including the North By Northeast music festival in June. Representatives for the company declined to comment on Friday.

Eileen McMahon, a partner at Torys LLP who leads the drug and regulatory practice, said Health Canada’s warning doesn’t come as much of a surprise, since the cannabis market is experimenting ahead of legalization on Oct. 17.

She said many companies are attempting to get their brand names into public consciousness before they expect regulations to be enforced.

“This is an opportunity where companies say, ‘What is legal and illegal under current law? What is grey and in the grey area? And can we play there in a way that’s defensible?”’ she said.

“Some companies will take some risks … others won’t. I think you see that activity taking place and the government’s reaction.”

While Health Canada didn’t directly acknowledge companies it deemed offenders, it said the actions have underscored a need for “rigorous enforcement” of the laws.

“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,” it said.

“Those who do not adhere to the applicable prohibitions will face serious consequences, which may include, if appropriate, suspension of their licence.”

Just Posted

WATCH: Rappelling down Red Deer’s Stantec Building a thrilling, scary experience

Advocate reporter chronicles his trip down the 13-storey buildling

Red Deer raises $60,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation

27 brave residents rappell down Stantec Building

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Woman killed in collision near Olds

A woman is dead after a collision west of Olds Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

BRANSON, Mo. — “Grab the baby!” Those were the last words Tia… Continue reading

HMCS St. John’s to return to Halifax after six-month deployment overseas

HALIFAX — The countdown is on for the homecoming of a Halifax-class… Continue reading

Trump says lawyer taping him may be ‘illegal’

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — The Latest on President Donald Trump and his onetime… Continue reading

Spieth part of 3-way tie for British lead as Woods lurks

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Jordan Spieth has a share of the lead in… Continue reading

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month