Trademark practitioners, hemp producers, and hemp-derived product manufacturers have long struggled with the clash of federal and state law regarding protection of trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Historically, the USPTO has refused registration of marks that include cannabis, hemp, CBD or derived products on the basis that these marks were unable to have lawful use in commerce under existing federal law. These waters became even murkier after the passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (known as the 2018 Farm Bill), which removed “hemp” from the list of controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). On May 2, 2019, the USPTO issued Examination Guide 1-19, outlining the USPTO’s policies with respect to trademarks including legal CBD and hemp-derived goods and services since passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. This appears to open the door for registration of marks that include legal CBD, hemp or hemp-derived products (such as hemp oil), or services such as the cultivation or production of hemp.
Last Friday, Husch Blackwell’s Steve Levine talked with James Dornbrook of the Kansas City Business Journal about the unclear rules and regulations of the medical marijuana business in Missouri. With the state deadline for accepting applications Aug. 3, there is no way a comprehensive set of regulations will all be ready in time. Another area of concern is the tricky (and sketchy) subject of leases.
Read the article to find out why Levine focuses on helping people make smart decisions about these unsettled horizons.
On Wednesday, April 3, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced plans to hold a meeting to discuss its regulatory approach to products that contain cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds, including cannabidiol (CBD). The public hearing, which is scheduled to be held on May 31, 2019, is intended to obtain scientific data and information about the safety, manufacturing, product quality, marketing, labeling and sale of products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds.
Husch Blackwell attorneys Seth Mailhot and Steve Levine issued a legal alert about this announcement. Find out what this means for the safety, manufacturing, product quality, marketing, labeling and sale of products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds.
As almost 40 states have legalized medicinal and recreational use of cannabis, there is much to learn as the trend toward full legalization continues. Husch Blackwell’s Steve Levine will participate in a webinar on April 18, 2019 hosted by the International Economic Development Council that will explore the current regulatory environment in both U.S. and Canada and explain how cannabis businesses have generated revenues.
On January 1, 2020, entities doing business in California will have to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a first-in-the-nation consumer privacy law that grants numerous privacy rights to California residents. The CCPA will require thousands of businesses, including cannabis businesses, to undertake significant compliance efforts or risk substantial penalties. For cannabis businesses, however, compliance efforts must be considered in light of other applicable privacy laws.
The State of Colorado has taken a major step towards opening its marijuana industry to outside investment in what could be a transformative piece of legislation.
On Monday, March 4, bipartisan legislation unanimously passed the House Committee on Finance that would allow for an increase in marijuana investment in Colorado. The legislation seeks to address the need for investment dollars while maintaining strict regulations and oversight of the industry. The legislation removes the statutory requirement of background checks for owners of less than 10% of a marijuana business, thus opening the state’s marijuana market to outside investors as well allowing marijuana businesses to offer their employees equity in the company. In addition, the legislation outlines requirements for publicly traded companies to both invest in licensed marijuana businesses and to hold Colorado marijuana licenses. The legislation will next face a floor vote, where it is widely believed to have the support needed to pass, then it will go to the Senate and if passed, on to the state’s governor for final passage.
Cannabis industry participants face heightened risks when purchasing and using insurance products.
Generally speaking, disputes between carriers and insureds are not infrequent; however, coverage disputes in the cannabis industry can be of a different caliber altogether. There is ample evidence suggesting that, on a very basic level, cannabis industry participants face heightened risks when purchasing and using insurance products, with the end result being that many operators believe they have adequately insured potential risks when in fact they haven’t.
In this white paper we discuss several key areas for cannabis industry operators to consider when purchasing insurance:
- Make sure all risks are insured
- Be wary of exclusions
- Choice of law provisions
- Choose advisors & business partners carefully
Chapter 1 – The Double-Edged Nature of the FDA Approval Process
2018 proved to be a very busy (and frankly dizzying) year for the cannabis industry as three more states, including Missouri, passed laws legalizing some form of cannabis use, bringing the total number of such states and U.S. territories to well over thirty, despite the fact that cannabis, and its use, remains unlawful, under federal law that is. Today, there are thirty-three states that allow for medical use of cannabis, while ten states have legalized the recreational use of cannabis. What is more, several state governments and governors are expected to prioritize new cannabis-related policies in 2019. As more states decide to permit various uses of cannabis, one issue that remains generally unanswered lies at the intersection of these emerging state laws and U.S. patent law, which falls within the exclusive purview of the federal government, both statutorily and in enforcement of patent rights.