The chief executive of Canada’s highest-valued marijuana company expects the government to impose strict regulations on packaging and advertising when it legalizes recreational use.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government unveiled its proposed law Thursday, and is set to leave many of the details up to provinces. One of the key recommendations of a federal panel was that the government heavily restrict how marijuana is marketed and promoted.
Bruce Linton, chief executive officer of Canopy Growth Corp., predicted the government would do just that. The packaging will nonetheless include some details, such as the producer’s name and contact information, he said in an interview last week.
“What you’re going to have is really boring packaging, for sure, which we’re not necessarily in favor of,” Linton said. He expects marijuana packaging rules will be more stringent than alcohol, but less restrictive than those for tobacco. “I think where we’re landing is somewhere in the middle.”
Shares of marijuana companies like Canopy have surged fourfold in recent months in anticipation of the recreational market’s opening, but several steps remain before legalization. Some observers are zeroing in on branding rules as something of a litmus test. Companies argued that allowing colorful, detailed packaging would help them build a following and undercut the black market — which is Trudeau’s chief objective — but there’s no sign that will happen.
The government is expected to adhere closely to an advisory panel report in crafting its legislation. Bill Blair, the lawmaker and former police chief leading the process, directed reporters to the report when pressed for details.
In parliament, Trudeau said his key objectives are to keep marijuana away from minors and to cut off revenue to criminal groups that sell it illicitly.
Under the existing system, “it is easier for a teenager to buy a joint