On Friday, House leadership confirmed that the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019 (the “SAFE Banking Act”) is scheduled to receive a floor vote this week. This announcement follows a strenuous legislative process to normalize banking for the cannabis industry.
Beginning this summer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through its Office of Criminal Investigations, launched a criminal probe to investigate the vaping-related lung illnesses that have affected over five hundred people across the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a parallel investigation tracking the incidences of the illness. Both the FDA and CDC are working with state and local health officials to investigate the increasing number of cases nationwide.
A California federal judge recently reminded cannabis trademark owners that the manufacture and sale of cannabis products remain illegal under federal law, so they cannot challenge federal trademark registrations based on common law prior rights.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent Warning Letters to three companies that sell products containing cannabidiol (CBD) and advertise that the products prevent, treat, or cure disease without substantiation of the purported health benefits. In a post on Husch Blackwell’s Food & Ag Insights blog, Emily Lyons explains the FTC’s actions and the effect they have on the advertising of CBD products.
Denver Startup Week runs September 16-20, 2019 and Marshall Custer is pleased to join a panel of esteemed speakers to inform startups on how to capitalize on cannabidiol (CBD). The session takes place on Tuesday, September 17 at 10 a.m. To register and learn more about the line-up of educational and social activities, visit the organization’s website.
Steve Levine, leader of Husch Blackwell’s national cannabis practice, will be in Fairview Heights, IL on August 29, 2019 to speak at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) Downstate Illinois P3 Luncheon. He will moderate a roundtable discussion covering regional industry developments concerning cannabis.
In our previous post, we touched on some of the interesting issues related to the enforcement of cannabis patents through litigation. In this post, we turn to an alternative to litigation to discuss some of the unique cannabis-related issues that could arise before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”).
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) reiterated once again that you cannot register marijuana marks at the federal level. The TTAB announced its decision on July 16, 2019, rejecting Canopy Growth Corporation’s, a Canadian corporation, trademark filings for marijuana vaporizers “Juju Rx” and “Juju Hybrid.” In re Canopy Growth Corporation by assignment from JJ206, LLC, Serial Nos. 86475885 & 86475899 (TTAB, July 16, 2019).
Marijuana is classified as an unlawful drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”), and marijuana vaporizers are also classified as unlawful drug paraphernalia under the CSA. Even though several states have legalized the use of marijuana, federal trademark applications for marijuana marks will continue to be rejected until the drug is legalized on the federal level.
As a basis for the decision, the TTAB relied on the CSA and a 2016 precedential TTAB decision. In re JJ206, LLC, 120 USPQ2d 1568 (TTAB 2016). Trademark registrations are based off of actual use or intended use in lawful commerce. So, as long as marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia remain unlawful in commerce, you are better waiting to file your trademark applications.
Husch Blackwell’s own Kris Kappel was recently featured in an article, written by reporter James Dornbrook and appearing in the Kansas City Business Journal, on the “gray areas” of securing trademark protection for cannabis-related products, even industrial hemp, cultivation of which was recently approved in 2018 by Congress.
According to data by Quest Diagnostics, marijuana use in the workforce is on the rise. Usage increased 10% last year to 2.3% of the U.S. workforce according to an analysis of 10 million urine, saliva and hairs samples. In a post on Husch Blackwell’s Safety Law Matters blog, Donna Pryor explains the safety hazards involved with marijuana use in the workforce and outlines how employers should respond to safety risks. Learn how the Husch Blackwell Safety & Health team can help.