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Cannabis retailers in Quebec prohibited from selling products displaying cannabis leaf

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Quebec’s cannabis law will prohibit retailers throughout the province from selling products exhibiting an image of the cannabis leaf.

This iconic image is perhaps the most recognizable botanical image in the world. Despite the fame that this five-fingered leaf has garnered over the years, Quebec retailers will now be forced to ditch the cliché weed leaf.

On October 17, when the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) is enacted across all Canadian provinces, it will be illegal to stock and sell items adorning the cannabis leaf.

Cannabis product retailers in Quebec are disappointed and confused

Christopher Mennillo is the co-owner of a chain of stores that stock smoking accessories in Quebec. His stock range varies from lighters and grinders to clothing and posters. During an interview with CTV Montreal, Mennillo expressed his concerns about Quebec’s cannabis law.

“Imagine a consumer walking in here with an innocent purchase in mind, just want(ing) to buy a cannabis t-shirt,” he said. “And lo and behold, the one place he expects it to be, it won’t be there.”

Mennillo went on to say that the situation is “very disappointing.” He worries about the impact it will have on his company’s sales – a concern that will likely be shared by many other cannabis product retailers in Quebec.

Quebec cannabis law aims to prevent the normalization of cannabis use

Cannabis-related products, whatever they might be, must not feature designs, images or logos depicting the cannabis leaf. However, this predicament can potentially be sidestepped if the government approves of the design.

For many cannabis retailers in Quebec, the law is confusing. Commercial real estate lawyer Mylany David operates her firm’s cannabis practice group in Montreal. She says that federal legislation makes things tricky for companies in the legal weed space since it means that they are faced advertising restrictions similar to those imposed on tobacco advertising.

“You cannot use your branding or your name into a public event or a stadium or building or be associated with any sort of activity in the public life,” David said.

Although the strict Quebec cannabis law is designed to deter the normalization of cannabis consumption, David believes that the legislation will be mulled over in court.

“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 and not necessarily in objects that pertain to the consumption of cannabis,” David said. “So that leads to, I would believe, extreme prohibition.”

Retailers who disobey Quebec’s cannabis laws will be slammed with a fine

Cannabis retailers in Quebec who take the risk and break the rules will be demanded to cough up the cash. This is according to a representative from the health ministry of Canada’s largest province.

A total of 31 inspectors will oversee Quebec’s retail cannabis business operations and if they are alerted of any rule-breaking, the accused will be slapped with a fine ranging from $5,000 to $62,500. In the event of a repeat offense, penalties may be doubled.

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Cannabis retailers in Quebec prohibited from selling products displaying cannabis leaf