Quebec’s Cannabis Accessory Ban – The business owner is trying to lift it

Quebec’s sweeping ban on the sale of cannabis products was challenged in the provincial Supreme Court last Thursday. The Quebec cannabis accessories ban came into effect after legalization and has been harming small businesses ever since. Unless you are a retailer in the province, it is illegal to sell anything considered a cannabis accessory, including lighters, shirts, and books.

With the encouragement and support of other cannabis companies, a head shop owner opposes the ban on cannabis accessories in Quebec. The Cannabis Ordinance Act has gone to court, but the verdict has not yet been finalized. In the meantime, here are the details on this situation.

Quebec Cannabis Accessories Act

Cannabis was legalized in 2018, and Quebec soon passed the Cannabis Regulatory Act. Under the heading “Specifics Regarding Use Restrictions” there is a section entitled “Regarding Cannabis Accessories”. Not long and very vague, it contains only two main points, the first allows the creation of a monopoly, while the second excludes competition:

  1. SQDC outlets can sell supplies, cannabis-related publications, or any other product specified by government regulations.
  2. The operator of a company, a cannabis producer as well as a distributor and manufacturer of accessories is prohibited from selling, giving or exchanging an object that is not cannabis, on which a name, a logo, a distinguishing mark, a design is on , Image or slogan related to cannabis, a cannabis brand of cannabis, the SQDC, or a cannabis producer. For example, it is forbidden to sell a t-shirt or an ashtray with a cannabis leaf on it.

Note – SQDC stands for Société Québécoise Du Cannabis and is translated as Quebec Cannabis Corporation in English.

Reefer Madness to steal the market

Quebec lawmakers, when you see one, you want one and that’s legally unacceptable … unless you buy it from them. This law was designed to protect minors from cannabis. It’s about the perception of additional pressure.

It comes from the idea that seeing pictures of cannabis will encourage its use. But with such a wide range of words, a cannabis accessory can be anything from a slogan to a number. create a larger ban than necessary. It is strictly enforced throughout the province with one exception to the rule, government business.

Oddly enough, Quebec lawmakers seem to believe that peer pressure isn’t an issue when the province is making a profit. To ensure nobody steps on QC turf, fines for violating this law range from $ 2,500 to $ 62,500. Worse, this law is open to interpretation and fines can double for repeat offenders.

Legal challenge to Quebec’s ban on cannabis accessories

With the support of the cannabis business community, one head shop owner has had enough. Christopher Mennillo is the vice president and co-owner of the head shop chain Prohibition.

On Thursday April 15, 2021, he took the matter to the Supreme Court to contest it. His argument is that the provincial ban on cannabis-themed products is a violation of an individual’s freedom of expression and in fact has no basis. In addition, there must be exceptions, especially when it comes to access to information about medical cannabis.

Currently, cannabis books and magazines are banned across Quebec. The process Challenging the Quebec Cannabis Accessory Ban ended Thursday, but the judge ponders before returning with the decision.

Quebec's ban on cannabis accessories Christopher Mennillo, Co-Owner of Prohibition – Photo Credit: CBC

“We really didn’t think that the coming legalization day would suddenly make products that we’ve sold for the past 30 years illegal,” said Christopher Mennillo, vice president and co-owner of the head shop chain Prohibition.

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