By Steve Gelsi
Two provinces in Canada are pointing to national laws that restrict cannabis marketing by celebrities in their decision to not allow Hexo Corp. to sell Tyson 2.0 cannabis products in their respective territories, as reported Thursday by MJBiz.
Wholesalers from both Albert and Quebec told the news site they have no plan to allow Tyson 2.0 products because Canadian law prohibits cannabis promotions through endorsements or depictions of people, according to the report .
Spokespeople for Hexo Corp. /zigman2/quotes/206508254/composite HEXO -8.18% /zigman2/quotes/200008967/delayed CA:HEXO -4.17% did not respond to emails from MarketWatch seeking comment on the situation.
Last month, Hexo announced a pact to make and sell Tyson 2.0 products in Canada.
Tyson 2.0’s product line is named after heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson. The company’s products include an edible cannabis product shaped like the ear of Evander Holyfield, who suffered the loss of part of his ear when Tyson bit it off in a 1997 fight.
Tyson told MarketWatch last month that his company remains a bigger priority for him than other business ventures he’s involved in.
A spokesperson for Société québécoise du cannabis said it would not sell Tyson 2.0 products because it doesn’t want to be associated with “this image,” MJ Biz reported.
A spokesperson for Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis said federal law prohibits the promotion of a cannabis product through endorsements or the depiction of a person.
It’s possible that Hexo could challenge the decisions by Alberta and Quebec, or it could take steps to change the product to comply with their respective interpretations of the rule.
The rule from Health Canada, the country’s regulatory body for cannabis, says any association between a cannabis product or brand and a celebrity may be non-compliant with promotion, packaging and labeling prohibitions because they could appeal to people under 21, or appear to be an endorsement of consuming cannabis, or could “evoke emotions or images of a way of life that could include glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring.”
There’s already a track record in Canada for ruling against cannabis brands associated with celebrities including Trailer Park Boys products from Organigram Holdings /zigman2/quotes/209289540/composite OGI -12.17% /zigman2/quotes/210520958/delayed CA:OGI -10.90% as well Canopy Growth Corp.’s /zigman2/quotes/200603886/composite CGC -16.44% /zigman2/quotes/202205609/delayed CA:WEED -16.04% Snoop Dogg brand.