Canada: Quebec retailers will not be allowed to sell anything decorated with a cannabis leaf

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Cannabis will be legal in Quebec next month, but the image of the cannabis leaf will remain prohibited in the Canadian province, writes Calvin Hughes.

Earlier this week, the provincial government announced plans to make Canada's already restrictive cannabis packaging regulations even more so.

Retailers in La Belle Province will not be allowed to sell anything decorated with a cannabis leaf—that's right anything. The decision has frustrated local shop owners, and understandably so. Imagine not being able to use music to sell guitars or beans to sell coffee. So it's no surprise that some retailers think the new rule will take a big bite out of their bottom line.

"You know, it's very disappointing," Christopher Mennillo, co-owner of several smoke shops across Quebec told CTV Montreal. "And I do feel that it will have an impact on our sales....Imagine a consumer walking in here with an innocent purchase in mind, just want(ing) to buy a cannabis t-shirt, and lo and behold, the one place he expects it to be, it won't be there."

Despite those concerns, the province plans to enforce the new rule with harsh fines. Retailers who defy the leaf ban could get slapped with a fine ranging from $5,000 to a whopping $62,500 CAD. And fines will double for repeat offenders. And in case businesses think the province is bluffing, a spokesperson for the Quebec Health Ministry says the government has 31 inspectors on hand to ticket any noncompliant businesses.

So don't expect to see any five-pointed leaves among the autumn foliage in Quebec this fall.

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