Cannabis Legalization and Marijuana Marketing

Weed History was made in 2018 in the passing of Bill C-45 – Recreational cannabis was officially legalized on October 17, 2018, by the Federal Government. From the sky, you’d likely see a plume of smoke over certain Canadian cities, Kamloops, B.C being the only legal weed shop in all of British Columbia, with a line up outside with eager buyers waiting to make their first legal marijuana purchase.  With Canada recently passing the Cannabis Act, this is a revolutionary time for the cannabis industry and many companies that have been trailblazers for this much-needed change. Existing growers and producers are expanding operations and investing in capital, demand is surpassing the supply, meaning it is an extremely attractive market for weed companies and will have a positive impact on the Canadian economy.

Here’s a quick look at the numbers, according to BNN Bloomberg (if you like sales, you like numbers):

  • About 4.9 million Canadians used cannabis and consumed more than 20 grams of marijuana per person in 2017, spending a total $5.6 billion on the product, according to estimates from Statistics Canada.
  • Legal cannabis sales could reach $6.5 billion by 2020, according to an estimate from CIBC analysts JohnZamparo, Prakash Gowd, and Mark Petrie. In a report published last month, the analysts predicted cannabis sales could top sales of spirits.
  • 63 percent of current cannabis users in Canada plan to make purchases at legal retailers, according to a survey commissioned by Deloitte that polled 1,500 Canadians.
  • Canadian adults will be allowed to carry up to 30 grams of dried cannabis in public.

So – what does that mean for the organization in this thriving industry? The growth of the pot biz has been no secret, and businesses have been waiting to find out ‘where can I market my cannabis and marijuana?’ and ‘what am I allowed to do when it comes to marketing cannabis products and services?’ Consumers purchasing marijuana are nothing short of diverse, and unlike selling shoes, there is a large education component of understanding the products, different strains, dosages, health benefits… the list goes on. The rules on marketing pot products can be subjective and open to interpretation. Financial Post noted in a recent online article cannabis marketing rules are ‘still hazy’, it’s clear as a crystalized bud that there are limitations:

  • Packaging should not appeal to children, or promote a glamorous lifestyle.
  • Limitations and restrictions on where to market, such as newspapers, radio, billboards, and many traditional communication channels.

Health Canada spokeswoman stated, “Newspapers available to the public should not generally contain any promotional material, including advertising, related to cannabis,”.

With limitations on where cannabis products can be sold, and how it can be packaged, marketers are investing their advertising budgets on online initiatives such as search engine optimization, cannabis marketing experts and social campaigns targeting the 18+ market.

Two core avenues for educating and promoting marijuana, cannabis, and hemp products is through:

  1. Trade shows – prior to legalization, tradeshows in the marijuana Industry were far and few between. Cannabis tradeshows are now popping up, and it allows for industry to network and learns, as well as an opportunity to engage with consumers and the public that is specifically at these events to talk to brands! The upcoming 2019 Vancouver Expo has one day specifically for Industry, followed by ‘Consumer Weekend’.
  1. Festivals and Events – with the minimum age of 18, festivals and other events are a great way to target a specific age group to which you’re allowed to market to in a concentrated area. This can be done by deploying a well-trained street team to drive brand awareness and interest to your brand through digital media, social campaigns consumer surveys, swag, and educational pamphlets etc.


When hiring an agency to manage a cannabis promotion, ensure the promotional agency is aligned with your political views on selling marijuana. Although it’s ‘not a big deal’ to some, the reality is not all businesses and individuals support the industry. You also want to ensure that the promotional agency has knowledge and understanding of the rules and regulations, licensing requirements, and can provide your campaign with educated and articulate brand ambassadors that can support you at events.

Buzz Promotions is fully supportive of the recent legalization of Canada, and the opportunity to partner with suppliers, retailers, procurers to be an advocate for safe, legal marijuana usage. If you are in the industry and want more information on how a promotional campaign through Buzz Promotions can help you get to market faster, boost sales and drive brand recognition!

Not only can we help with sales campaigns, but our goal is also to provide guidance, educational campaigns to educate on the risks, and safe usage is just one of many other ways we can support this movement.

Hope to see you at one of the upcoming cannabis and marijuana trade shows!