Colourfully named cannabis products appeal to youth, Tory health critic says
Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu rises in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Friday, May 6, 2016. (Adrian Wyld/ The Canadian Press)
Janice Dickson, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, October 19, 2018 1:36PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 21, 2018 8:08AM EDT
OTTAWA -- Scroll through Ontario's online cannabis shop and you'll see strains of marijuana called Banana Split and Tangerine Dream.
There are others with the far-out monikers Dreamweaver, Super Sonic and Pink Kush.
The names appear on packages even though the federal Cannabis Act is meant to discourage kids from using pot by prohibiting products that appeal to youth.
The law also forbids packaging or labelling cannabis in a way that is attractive to the demographic.
Thierry Belair, a spokesman for Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, said the department will continue to monitor the market and enforce the rules on a case-by-case basis now that recreational cannabis use is legal.
"The law clearly prohibits promotions that associate cannabis with a particular way of life such as glamour, recreation, excitement or vitality, and that includes cannabis strains descriptions," said Belair.
The government expects all participants, including provinces, territories and those in the cannabis industry, to follow the law, he added.
It means that not every bit of branding will necessarily stick, because if someone complains about a name Health Canada could ask the licensed producer to change it.
But for now the names are not sitting well with Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu.
Gladu says the Liberal government needs to do more to ensure cannabis products available online are not enticing to kids.
"The sprit of the regulation was that they did not want the packaging in any way to be attractive to young people," she said.
"The government keeps saying they wanted to keep this out of the hands of youth."
David Hammond, a professor in the school of public health at the University of Waterloo, said dessert-oriented names like Banana Split are going to appeal to young people.
"There are so many different options out there for describing your brand," he said. "Surely the industry is more creative that they don't need to either skirt or cross the boundaries for things like naming it with dessert names."