How to Market Cannabis Edibles in Canada now That It’s Legal 


Interested in riding the next big market category of marijuana legalization in Canada, cannabis edibles? You’re not alone. The next generation of cannabis products is forecast to be worth approximately $2.7 billion annually. Whether you’ve already perfected your product, or you’re still honing in on THE perfect edible cannabis product, wherever you fall on the spectrum of “market-ready” you will need help navigating edible cannabis marketing. Making sure that you not only comply with federal and provincial regulations as they pertain to the new edible cannabis market is obviously important, but even once you’re legit, how you say that will hinge on an effective plan for marketing edible cannabis products in Canada.

Health Canada will begin enforcing edible cannabis regulations no later than October 17, 2019, and as they work toward this date, have provided a proposed version of edible regulations here. There is A LOT of information in here from labelling all the through to prohibitions. Please read through thoroughly as endeavouring into marketing edible cannabis is not for the faint of heart. Much of what is covered in the proposed regulations pertain to product development and production which fall outside of the edible cannabis marketing realm. Here we will focus on how and what you should say in your edible cannabis marketing efforts.

What Category of Edible Cannabis Do You Fall Under?

Before you can implement an effective marketing plan for edible cannabis, you need to identify what class of edible cannabis your product falls under:

A) Cannabis topicals
B) Cannabis extracts
C) Edible cannabis
D) Cannabis accessories

Within each of these groups, there are many category-specific regulations being proposed by Health Canada. The most heavily regulated categories being cannabis topicals and cannabis extracts, which outline prohibitions against additives such as vitamins, caffeine and nicotine to name a few. If any of this sounds like your cannabis product, then you may want to do more research to ensure you’re market-ready.  

Creating Your Cannabis Brand Identity

The backbone of any strong marketing plan is branding, and the same is true for edible cannabis marketing. And at its core, your product is the first element of your brand Before you even start envisioning your cannabis branding graphically, envision how and by whom your product is meant to appeal to. As you blend, dose and test be thinking about your audience. What will resonate with them as they use your product. How will they connect with your brand over other cannabis brands?

When it comes to packaging and labelling, edible cannabis brands must show the cannabis symbol, have a health warning with the cannabidol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, and employ child-resistant packaging with limited use of logos and colours. Now when you’re wondering what does limited use of logo and colours means, start by evaluating what others are doing in the market. Try to decipher commonalities amongst competitors and market leaders out there currently marketing edible cannabis products.

And don’t forget that existing regulations from the Cannabis Act will also apply to marketing edible cannabis products as well. Health Canada will prohibit cannabis branding that appeals to children or infringes on existing brands’ copyright. A smart strategy is to develop your cannabis brand with understated references to the current cannabis icons and avoid stereotypes. 
Communicating your Brand Identity 

How To Create The Best Edible Cannabis Marketing Plan

Consider how your company can help squash the stigmas that years of prohibition and propaganda have placed on our industry. Maintaining fair labor practices and avoiding sexist and derogatory messaging will go along way in building a successful cannabis brand, as your efforts will attract a broader audience and diverse demographics who feel more comfortable supporting your brand over a business that perpetuates stereotypes and does little to improve the negative or wary perception of the marijuana industry.

Health Canada will maintain strict rules on labelling to prevent companies from making the products more attractive to young people.

The packaging and labelling must have a clear cannabis symbol, a health warning listing the product's tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidol (CBD) content, limited use of logos and colours, and child-resistant packaging.

Critics have voiced the fear that edibles resembling candy might be too attractive to children. The Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation recommended a ban on any cannabis product that could appeal to children — such as those resembling popular food items or that are packaged to look like candy.
If you thought overcoming labelling, production, testing and packaging regulations was cumbersome, you will now be challenged to navigate the murky and evolving terrain of marketing edible cannabis. This Edible Cannabis Marketing Cheat Sheet is your quick reference guide to help you evaluate your current strategy or give you some new ideas.

Communicating your brand to your consumers is the most central concept in sales and marketing, the same holds true if you’re an edible cannabis startup. WIth Varying levels of provincial and federal limitations in place, awareness can be hard to come by, and even harder if you want to go national.  

Where Do I Begin If I Want To Sell Cannabis Edibles

Based on Health Canada’s current Cannabis Regulations

Based on Health Canada’s proposed regulations in addition to a processing license (standard or micro) companies must have had no previous offences under the Safe Food For Canadians Act within the pat ten years, employ qualified Quality Assurance Person, and have a system to manage recalls.

Production and
If you’re an existing federally regulated processor, you can apply to Health Canada to make sure they can sell your products, and as of October 17, you can advise them of proposed products, which can then be sold 60 days later once approved.

To limit adverse reactions due to accidental consumption or over-consumption, each individual package will be limited to a maximum of 10 mg of THC, the primary psychoactive component in cannabis.

When dried cannabis became legal for recreational use last October, Ottawa continued its consultations on rules for edibles and other products. The consultations ended in February. Ottawa indicated at the time that regulations on cannabis edibles and concentrates would come into effect on Oct. 17, 2019. The new regulations will give authorized distributors and retailers access to three new classes of cannabis products: 

- Edibles (candy, baked goods).
- Cannabis extracts.
- Cannabis "topicals" (ointments, oils, makeup). 

No cannabis in restaurants

Once the new regulations are in place, cannabis companies will be able to offer concentrates such as resin or cannabis oil for vaping. Vaping products with scents that could appeal to children would not be permitted.

Restaurants will not be allowed to serve food containing cannabis.

In a briefing with reporters Friday, Health Canada officials said proposed products will be assessed for flavour, colour, shape, smell and branding to determine if they could be enticing to children.

Items will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis — and it's not clear exactly where the lines will be drawn.

"If you're asking if a gummy bear is appealing to a young person, would that be permitted, the answer is no," one official said in response to a question about what will or won't be allowed for sale.

"A gummy bear that is appealing to kids is prohibited ... and it's an offence that's punishable by very serious consequences ... five years in prison and a million dollar fine."

The ban on selling products appealing to youth and associated restrictions are similar to the laws governing tobacco and vaping products.

Cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages and cannabis products containing tobacco, nicotine or caffeine will be prohibited. Some goods with low amounts of naturally occurring caffeine, such as chocolate, will be permitted. 

Single-serving products ‘a tough sell’

Canada’s low per-package THC limit could relegate sales to packages of low-dose products or single servings, American business executives say – and in their experience, those kinds of products have been less appealing. For example, consumers are much less likely to buy one beer at a beer store than they are a multipack. A 10-milligram THC limit for a single serving and 100-milligram, per-package limit like you see in California, Colorado and Washington is reasonable, Berliner said. “Single-serving products in Colorado are a tough sell,” Berliner said. “They work for tourism, but they’re really expensive for us to make because packaging regulations are so stringent. “Anyone who is price-sensitive really shies away from single-serving products because you just don’t get as much bang for your buck.” With anticipated demand so high, the government's plan to roll out regulations in October gives the industry time to build inventory "The regulations will need time to settle, even after legalization in October," be patient. The global market for alternative cannabis products is expected to nearly double over the next five years, the consultancy added. - what are you waiting for?  
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