A host of challenges have faced local governments, business entities, and even private citizens as Canada gears up for recreational marijuana legalization on Oct. 17.

One of those issues has been a bit more peculiar than the others, and centres around a cartoon pot leaf named “Buddy”.

Buddy - City of Leduc cannabis campaign

The City of Leduc’s old cannabis awareness campaign with Buddy

The city of Leduc, Alberta launched an outreach program in the wake of the passage of the Cannabis Act to inform citizens of how legalization would impact the community. The face of that program was Buddy, a cartoon pot leaf who explained the rules of recreational usage for adults in Leduc.

Buddy has since been removed from all Leduc literature and signage following outcry from local citizens concerned that the cartoon leaf was meant to appeal to children.

City of Leduc - cannabis pot awareness campaign

The City of Leduc’s new cannabis awareness campaign

The Cannabis Act only allows recreational usage for adults, and requires that advertising for marijuana products not be enticing to children in any way.

Following extensive public comment and a full review of the outreach campaign, Leduc decided to scrub Buddy entirely. This statement regarding that decision was posted via the city’s official Facebook profile:

The city received a significant amount of feedback from the community – both positive and negative – and we have listened to all sides. While Buddy’s purpose was to educate about responsible cannabis use in the community and not make cannabis enticing to children, we understand the concerns that our residents have about the latter. As such, the public awareness campaign will move ahead with the removal of Buddy.Mark Goliger of National Access Cannabis

Messages of thanks were posted from a handful of Facebook users, but it quickly became clear not all residents were pleased by Buddy’s removal.

One resident posted this deadpan comment: “I’m so happy to see that every other problem in Alberta has been solved, so that we could focus on a cartoon pot leaf.”

A slew of user-created hashtags have since appeared on Facebook and Twitter lamenting Buddy’s loss, including #RIPBuddy, #FreeBuddy, and #neverforgetBuddy.

A full breakdown of how legalization is expected to impact the city of Leduc can be found at the city’s revamped Need To Know campaign website.

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