Marijuana sector firms get marketing pushback as legalization looms

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Marijuana sector firms get marketing pushback as legalization looms
In this April 12, 2018, photo, nugs of marijuana await packaging at the Hollingsworth Cannabis Company near Shelton, Wash. America's marijuana supporters have a lot to celebrate on this 420 holiday: Thirty states have legalized some form of medical marijuana, according to a national advocacy group. Nine of those states and Washington, D.C., also have broad legalization where adults 21 and older can use pot for any reason. Michigan could become the 10th state with its ballot initiative this year. Yet cannabis remains illegal under federal law, and it still has many opponents. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

TORONTO:  Some Canadian marijuana sector companies are getting pushback against their marketing efforts from social media platforms and government officials as the legalization of recreational pot looms.

Lift & Co, which hosts industry events and offers cannabis education, this month had its YouTube account suspended and Facebook ad account deactivated, with both companies citing a policy violation.

Lift CEO Matei Olaru says he believes its accounts were targeted in connection with the U.S. tech giants’ policies barring promotion of the sale of illegal, prescription or recreational drugs, even though medical marijuana is legal in Canada and recreational pot will soon follow suit.

He says Lift’s content on both platforms largely involved cannabis education and promotion of upcoming industry tradeshows, but believes it got lumped into the broader category of marijuana, which is illegal under U.S. federal law.

Meanwhile, Canadian licensed producer MedReleaf cancelled its Montreal launch of its recreational brand San Rafael ’71 scheduled for today after Quebec government officials expressed concern.

MedReleaf’s vice-president of strategy Darren Karasiuk says the producer heard the concerns of Quebec’s alcohol regulator, which is also tasked with cannabis distribution, and respects proposed laws which bar the promotion of “lifestyle” cannabis consumption.