Report: Canadian government to offer rec marijuana bill Thursday

Canada’s federal government is expected Thursday to introduce widely anticipated legislation to legalize recreational cannabis.

According to The Globe and Mail, the legislation is expected to require adult-use cannabis to be offered in plain packaging, more like tobacco products versus alcohol.

A government official told the newspaper a “big gap” exists between the government’s view on packaging and a proposal offered by the nation’s federally licensed cannabis producers as they gear up for the launch of the recreational market.

It’s unclear when Parliament might adopt the government’s proposed legislation, according to The Globe and Mail. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has said the country could legalize recreational marijuana as early as July 2018.

Canadian alcohol companies, meanwhile, have been lobbying provincial and federal government officials to establish tight restrictions on how marijuana businesses can advertise and market recreational cannabis.

Two alcohol trade groups, Beer Canada and Spirits Canada, recommended during consultations with the federal government that cannabis businesses should face at least the same promotions restrictions as the liquor industry does, according to The Globe and Mail.

Spirits Canada, which made its submission public, wrote that cannabis ads shouldn’t be allowed to “imply directly or indirectly” that marijuana use leads to “social acceptance, social status, sexual performance, personal success or business or athletic achievement” or that cannabis is “essential to the enjoyment of an activity or event,” The Globe and Mail reported.

Spirits Canada also proposed that budtenders, like servers in the Canadian liquor trade, be required to undergo “responsible” training.