B.C. government bans cannabis advertising in liquor-licensed establishments, special events

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The B.C. government has banned the promotion and advertising of cannabis or cannabis products in liquor-licensed establishments such as bars, clubs, restaurants, and 19+ special events, per a policy directive issued late last night.

“In keeping with the Province’s public health messaging about the dangers of cannabis and alcohol co-use, this new policy prohibits the promotion of cannabis on any liquor-licensed premises and at events held under a special event permit,” reads the directive issued by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB).

In accordance with section 15(1)(b) of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act, the directive adds, this prohibition is now in the terms and conditions of the special event permit, as well as the following licence types:

  • Catering
  • Food Primary
  • Liquor Primary
  • Manufacturer
  • Licensed Retail Store
  • U-Brew and U-Vin
  • Wine Store and Special Wine Store

The directive was sent to all LCRB staff, all licensees, all industry associations, and all local government, First Nations, and police agencies on September 16.

The move comes soon after a B.C. man made a widely-publicized complaint that he had been exposed to an advertisement for licensed cannabis producer Canopy Growth Corp. in a Cineplex VIP theatre, where patrons must be 19+ and alcohol is served.

“I was somewhat shocked to see that, sitting in a movie theatre,” Chris Whelan told CBC News. “We were brought up thinking that this is something you don’t do openly and to have it displayed in front of you like that in a movie theatre seemed inappropriate. It surprised me that they would be allowed to do it at all.”

The federal Cannabis Act already implements strict guidelines for the promotion and/or advertisement of cannabis — especially compared to those surrounding alcohol that is far more lenient.

As per the information released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, alcohol-related harm and deaths are on a rise with 3,079 deaths reported in 2015 and 80,000 hospitalizations in 2016/17 — which is more than the number of hospitalizations for heart attacks that year, which was approximately 77,000.

There are no such confirmed cases with regards to cannabis consumption.

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