Marketing rules for marijuana dispensaries in Saskatchewan.

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With 51 private marijuana retailers across Saskatchewan you bet customers have choices and will develop shop preferences.  With such strict marketing rules and regulations how does a marijuana shop set themselves apart from their competition, encourage brand loyalty and repeat business?
We have researched the rules and many popular and widespread marketing strategies will not be available to cannabis marketers.  
In a nutshell here are the restrictions of The Cannabis Act:
  • Sellers are not allowed to communicate price or distribution information in any marketing except at point of sale
  • Sellers are not allowed to appeal to young people under the age of 18
  • Sellers are not allowed to use testimonials or endorsements, however displayed or communicated
  • Sellers are not allowed to promote a person, character or animal, whether real or fictional
  • Sellers are not allowed to present cannabis, accessory or any brand element in a manner that associates the product or brand with, or evokes a positive or negative emotion about or image of, a way of life, such as glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring 

    On top of these rules, sponsorships of a person, entity, event, activity or facilities are not allowed and displaying cannabis branding elements on cultural or sports facilities is not allowed.

    The Cannabis Act 
    will allow brand elements to be displayed on things other than cannabis or cannabis accessories, unless they are any of the following:

  • Associated with young people under the age of 18
  • Could be believed to be appealing to young people under the age of 18
  • Associated with a way of life such as vitality, glamourous, recreational, exciting, risky or daring. 

    Also sponsorships of a person, entity, event, activity or facilities are not allowed. 

    Also displaying cannabis branding elements on cultural or sports facilities is not allowed.

    Considering these strict rules there are still ways to increase the odds that customers will choose your shop.  Here are some marketing tools that Wow Factor Media can help you implement in your business:

    Professional social media management:  Social media management is not to be confused with social media marketing.  While spending money on advertising and marketing your business on social media is not allowed, there are ways to build and manage your social media platforms in order to gain strong followings and organic exposure.   With the many regulations and steep penalties and legal implications it has never been more important for a specific industry to leave their social media management to the professionals.  With the huge positive opportunity and equally as huge risks that social media present to your business, now is not the time to hire your cousin or assign the task to your secretary. Hiring someone who does not understand the rules of the Cannabis Act,  and the best practice rules of each social media platform will cause your social media assets to be shut down or worse. We love the way Cannabis Dispensary Magazine puts it – “Hiring an amateur to do your social media is equivalent to having an apprentice run the business.” 

    Be found organically online:  We can help your business gain optimal search engine results without spending money on marketing.  Here are a few tips to make this happen:  Make sure you have an age gated, responsive for mobile and search engine optimized website (the design of your website will be key to ensure compliance to the Cannabis Act rules mentioned above), make sure you are listed on Google my Business and make sure you maintain active social media accounts. 

    Be sure your brand is professional:  While you are not allowed to position your brand to be appealing by evoking positive or negative emotion, you can still create a brand that is professional. You have worked hard building your business, don’t fall short by displaying a brand that is inconsistent or lacks professionalism.  Our branding team are experts in making sure your brand is professional and consistent across all online channels.

    Invest in a solid staff social media policy:  Social media posts by store owners, stakeholders and staff can be a great way to spread the word organically about your business.  However, with the strict rules of cannabis promotion, a seemingly innocent post done at work by an employee can have mega consequences for your business. Did you know that if an employee has a large following, their posts about your business may be considered a “material connection” and material connections are not allowed.  This is because their large following might affect the weight or credibility that your customers give your product.  The list goes on and on about what can go wrong when a company in this industry does not set a strong social media policy. We develop policies that are straight forward, compliant and easy to implement and understand.    

    Customer service is KING:  The most important marketing asset for your marijuana business will be repeat business and good old fashioned positive word of mouth (on the street and online).  Make it your company’s mission to make customer service your number one priority.  Creating a culture and training staff to be friendly, discreet, professional with vast product knowledge will go so far.  We help businesses develop winning customer service guidelines to help launch a great reputation for solid customer service.

    Ashley Drummond

    For more information please email me at