OCS deletes promotional tweets after a discussion with Health Canada

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The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) engaged in some serious backpedaling regarding a planned Black Friday promotion after talks with Health Canada.

Last week, in a now-deleted tweet, the OCS bid Ontarians to “shop our collection of 7 grams starting at CA$7.50/g.”

The tweet was soon removed and promptly replaced with an online flyer that simply indicated that Black Friday was set to occur, with no language that could be deemed “promotional” and no details regarding product pricing or special deals in honour of the discount shopping day.

An OCS spokesperson told Marijuana Business Daily that the change occurred after a discussion with Health Canada.

“In consultation with Health Canada, we decided to change the creative supporting Black Friday,” the spokesperson stated. “Like others in the industry, we work with Health Canada on an ongoing basis to fine tune our communications and marketing efforts to align with their guidance.”

The OCS says the promotion was designed to combat illegal cannabis sales by unlicensed distributors, who still sell the lion’s share of Canadian cannabis.

“Our Black Friday collection was put together with the help of our licensed producers as a way to deliver value to our customers and combat the illegal market,” the OCS spokesperson explained.

Under the Cannabis Act, the promotion of cannabis, cannabis-infused products, cannabis accessories and cannabis-related services are strictly regulated.

Prohibitions apply to “persons who produce, sell or distribute cannabis; persons who sell or distribute cannabis accessories; persons who provide cannabis-related services; or media organizations.”

Promotions may be carried out if “in a communication that is addressed and sent to an individual who is 18 years of age or older and is identified by name; in a place where young persons are not permitted by law; communicated by means of a telecommunication, where the person responsible for the content of the promotion has taken reasonable steps to ensure that the promotion cannot be accessed by a young person; in a prescribed place; or done in a prescribed manner.”

When evaluating whether a promotional violation has occurred, Health Canada will “assess compliance with the provisions of the Cannabis Act and its regulations relating to promotion on a case-by-case basis,” according to the regulator, which also states that “the particular facts of each circumstance will be examined and considered.”

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