Cannabis News

Different strokes for different folks?

By Zareefa B. Flener In  Posted 

In Illinois on December 17, 2010, a 13 year old child died at a Chicago Public School ("CPS") because there were peanuts in food that her seventh grade teacher ordered from a restaurant for a class holiday party, which was not supposed to have any nuts or nut oil. The child reacted and per CPS rules, the on campus nurse was not allowed to administer an epi pen.

The laws have now changed in Chicago, Illinois as a result giving the schools more control over the health and welfare of their wards, the children.  

Does this also include administering medical marijuana? Colorado seems to think so. The number of states legalizing medical marijuana is continuing to grow. But now, the Colorado House has passed a bill that would allow nurses in schools to administer medical marijuana to their students. According to a recent Pew Research poll 6 in 10 Americans support the use of medical marijuana.

Currently, cannabis is banned by federal law as a Schedule I substance. This means the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency assesses it as highly addictive with no medical value. However, "the people" disagree. 28 states have approved a medical marijuana program and eight have legalized recreational use of cannabis products.  In fact, Colorado and Illinois lawmakers have introduced more medical marijuana legislation in their respective states to address chronic pain and perhaps lessen opioid prescriptions. Since 2000, medical marijuana has been continuously growing. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 87,493 patients had active medical marijuana registrations as of early 2018. While some lawmakers still may not support the use of marijuana for any reason, marijuana still has a strong support system.

"When people ask me if we are not simply creating a gateway, I tell people this: I don't know if cannabis is addictive, but I do know this: Opioids and heroin kills people, cannabis does not," Senator Dan Harmon of Illinois, a sponsor of the state's medical marijuana expansion bill, told the Chicago Tribune.

When will the Federal government weigh in and make the laws consistent between states i.e. in commerce? Even the disconnect within the Federal government i.e. patents versus trademarks in terms of eligibility, needs to be addressed. 

The attorneys at Flener IP & Business Law are happy to discuss this and any other intellectual property and business law related matters with you. Please feel free to reach out to set a time/day to connect.

Pst, have you heard about California Trademark Laws?

By Zareefa B. Flener In  Posted 

California has amended its trademark laws to allow the registration of cannabis goods and services!  As of January 1, 2018, the California Secretary of State is now registering trademarks covering cannabis goods and services.  State trademark protection is available on these marks provided: (1) the mark is lawfully used in commerce within California, and (2) the goods and/or services covered in the trademark application follows the classification system adopted at the federal level by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The lawful use in California commerce element is important for businesses to be mindful of.  Lawful use of the trademark must be at the time the trademark application is filed.  This means businesses must be licensed to sell the products or perform the services covered in the trademark application and have actual sales.  Unlike the federal trademark system, there is no opportunity to reserve trademark rights based on intent to use the mark in California commerce.

These changes to California trademark law arise from California’s legalization of marijuana use, but lack of harmonization with trademark protection for cannabis business.  Literally a “wild west” where multiple companies could lawfully sell cannabis goods and services under the same or similar trademarks, potentially trading off each other’s goodwill.  Previous California trademark law tracked federal trademark law.  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has taken the position that if a trademark covers goods or services considered illegal under the Controlled Substances Act, lawful use in commerce is not possible and trademark protection is and remains unavailable.

This new California trademark law is a first, but is likely to be replicated in other states where cannabis is legal, but state trademark law continues to track federal trademark law in defining “lawful use in commerce”.  Flener IP & Business Law is continuing to track developments and to consider trademark protection strategies in California and other states.

FLIP is a women owned boutique firm specializing in intellectual property law from counseling, managing global and domestic portfolios, transactions, corporation formation and maintenance, and litigation surrounding all aspects of intellectual property.