Should cannabis websites be forced to have ‘age gates’? Is that a reasonable approach to keeping youth out? Is our industry best served in fighting for full openness and transparency (even if accessible to youth, like the alcohol model in Canada) or turn to tech-heavy solutions like retina scans, rigorous adult-only PIN numbers and usernames and passwords? Which side of the debate are you on? Warning: this article may make you laugh or cringe.
“Age gates are an attempt to comply with the federal Cannabis Act, which says that cannabis can only be promoted ‘by means of a telecommunication’ if the seller ‘has taken reasonable steps to ensure that the promotion cannot be accessed by a young person.’ – P. Cain, Global News.
Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation uses a different – more stringent – process. It forces adults who are seriously interested in purchasing cannabis to visit a NSLC store, show ID/age and then receive a PIN number that allows them to access the corporation’s e-commerce store.
“Even if you show a picture of what cannabis is, why is that a bad thing? That’s like saying we don’t want kids to see a bottle of wine,” Ottawa-based cannabis lawyer Trina Fraser.
The law is the law and, in this case, I’m referring to the Cannabis Act, Prohibitions, Obligations and Offences (Division 2, sections 16 and 17). In this case, believe it or not, the regulations are actually clear. For example, “…a person [that is authorized to produce, sell or distribute cannabis] may promote cannabis by means of informational promotion or brand-preference promotion if the promotion is communicated by means of a telecommunication, where the person responsible for the content … has taken reasonable steps to ensure that the promotion cannot be accessed by a young person.”, Section 17, 2:c.
Navaya will grow, package and sell spec cannabis to intermediaries such as the medical community or developers/marketers of products containing cannabis. We currently do not sell to consumers. When we do, and these regulations re: telecommunication apply to us, we have committed to integrating innovation and true ‘reasonable steps’ to ensure that our content does not reach underage youth.