Health Canada Investigating LP Sponsorship of Charity Event

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Health Canada is investigating the sponsorship of a children’s charity event in Toronto last October by two cannabis companies. Sponsorship and endorsement are prohibited under The Cannabis Act.

Canopy Growth Corp. and extraction company Halo Labs were sponsors of an Oct. 23 event organized by “Kids, Cops & Computers” for the Merry Go Round Children’s Foundation.

During the annual event called Inspiration Night, held in Toronto, the two companies’ logos were displayed on a poster of sponsors and other materials (see picture below).

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A Health Canada spokesman says the Cannabis Act “does not prohibit the sponsorship of a person, entity, activity or facility but that sponsorship cannot be used to promote cannabis and it is prohibited to display a brand element of cannabis”.

“We are gathering facts and information about the situation to determine whether there may be an instance of non-compliance with the promotion prohibitions in the Cannabis Act,” said Health Canada spokesman Geoffroy Legault-Thivierge.

Health Canada has been in contact with the companies and the foundation has removed the names of the cannabis companies from the list of sponsors on its website. Merry Go Round’s president Mark Zwicker told the Globe and Mail that at the time of the event, the Cannabis Act was so new it wasn’t clear whether brand elements could be used.

A spokesperson from Canopy Growth contends that the company is not prohibited from sponsoring an event as long as cannabis is not promoted.

“There was no promotion of Canopy’s donation,” stated Caitlin O’Hara. “The only public mention of Canopy Growth’s corporate donation was the company’s logo on the charity’s donation page and logo placement at the event itself, which was a private event.”

Halo Labs did not immediately respond to requests for comment by the press.

Health Canada considers each situation on a case by case-basis. Since legalization, Health Canada hasn’t publicly reprimanded any LPs for promotion violations, but instead works with the companies to correct messaging and practices moving forward.

Since this case has been made public, it will be interesting to see if Health Canada takes action against these companies or if they are let off with a slap on the wrist.

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