Guide to Canadian Cannabis Marketing in 2021

By Nick Lavery - 05/03/2021


Cannabis  Marketing Article 

With Canada’s legalization of cannabis in 2018 marketing for these products has increased dramatically and continues to rise each year. The current cannabis marketing forecast has 2021 at $4.6B which will potentially grow to $8.6B in 2026. So what can you do to stay ahead of the competition? Focus on cannabis content creation, but you need to make sure you do it properly. While some countries have yet to legalize the substance, Canada already has standards and regulations in place for use by advertising agencies for marketing and promotional services. 


The Cannabis Act and Cannabis Regulations – Promotion prohibitions regulates how cannabis companies are allowed to promote and market their products to the public. The act’s main purpose is to limit the reach of cannabis advertisements to young people.

For cannabis content creators, strict guidelines and requirements must be met in order for the promotion to be legal; failure to comply can result in large fines. 

These prohibitions apply to :

  • persons who produce, sell or distribute cannabis 
  • persons who sell or distribute cannabis accessories 
  • persons who provide cannabis-related services 
  • media organizations


What can I post on social media?

Many companies rely on social media to promote their products to consumers. However, the act restricts the type of cannabis content that companies can release on their own and on affiliated members’ social media accounts. 

The act emphasizes that “advertising towards minors is prohibited under any circumstance. Examples include adding the company logo on images that appeal to children, like candy or toys.

What you can do instead is to restrict access to the page or profile (Wired messenger suggests that you age lock your page or profile to at least 19 due to Alberta and Quebec having their legal cannabis age at 18). Many cannabis companies have implemented this solution to reduce the chance of minors looking through their pages. 

Can I use reviews and testimonials to sell my product? Not necessarily. The act prohibits promoting cannabis “by means of a testimonial or endorsement, however displayed or communicated” (Cannabis Act), and through sponsorships. 

Instead,emphasize the brand rather than the product in the advertisements. However, some companies still have testimonials without any consequences. Currently companies are using different versions of testimonials such as employee spotlights, YouTube videos from customers, and influencer campaigns to name a few (read wiremessenger’s article to learn more about that).

Influencer marketing can be an important marketing strategy for companies, but this type of promotion can be seen as endorsement. 

Can I post about what cannabis can be used for? Nope! 

The act prohibits inducements of any kind , so you cannot promote the lifestyle associated with their product or service. 

What you can do is to focus on brand-specific content instead, by making content that appeals to the target audience rather than the product (cannabis photography). 

I should at least be able to advertise the health benefits of cannabis? You can! But they have to be factual.

The law says that “Cannabis cannot be promoted in a manner that is false, misleading or deceptive or that is likely to create an erroneous impression abouts its … health effects”. So if you talk about health effects make sure you have the verified information to support your claim. 

To reduce the chance of misleading your audience focus on your company, your values, your mission, and about health in general

Now that you have an understanding of the guidelines, go make some legal cannabis content. Or give it to Gotham Studios to get the job done!

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