The Complexity Of Trademarks In The Marijuana Business

Law360, New York (August 26, 2016, 11:34 AM EDT) -- With Ohio set to become the 25th state to legalize marijuana for medical use, there are inevitably many questions about how to legally operate marijuana-related businesses in those states. One of the most important aspects of any business is its brand or trademark. Trademarks are shorthand for the goodwill and marketing message of your business. They also distinguish your products or services from those of competitors. The world of trademarks as it relates to marijuana-based goods and services is complex due to the dual nature of trademark law. In any other industry a business may protect its brand through state or federal trademark law. However, because marijuana is still classified as an illegal substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 USC §§ 812, 841(a)(1), 844(a), protecting trademarks for marijuana-related goods and services is complicated at best and, for some goods and services, impossible....

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