8 February 2017

From BNA’s Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal – Daily Edition

 Joyce E. Cutler writes for the journal

California is turning to homegrown trademark protections for the state’s projected $18 billion legal marijuana business in the face of federal prohibitions.

The Patent and Trademark Office doesn’t allow the registration of marijuana-related trademarks because selling marijuana is illegal under federal law. That doesn’t stop cannabis-related trademarks from being registered at the state level, but California will have to tweak its own rules first to make it possible.

A bill pending in the state legislature ( A.B. 64) ….

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……..will allow California businesses to register their marijuana-related trademarks with the secretary of state by adding classes of goods and services covering medical and recreational marijuana. Currently, California law requires applicants to list one of the federal-level classes.

California is set to be the largest of legal marijuana market in the country with voters last fall approving Proposition 64, the Control, Regulate and Tax Cannabis Act of 2016 also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Recreational marijuana will be legal starting in 2018. Medicinal marijuana use was legalized in 1996.

“We obviously have a huge marketplace for many products and services and certainly cannabis,” said the legislation’s author, Assembly member Rob Bonta, a Democrat. “Because California is so big, it matters to have a cannabis trademark in California,”

…/….

Assembly Bill 64, pending in the California Assembly, would authorize a certificate of registration for marks related to medical cannabis and nonmedical cannabis goods and services lawfully in commerce under state law. The legislation creates a new section in the California business and professional code to permit cannabis-related registrations to be issued after Jan. 1, 2018, when recreational marijuana is legal in California.

“We’re in a time of massive transformation for cannabis policy and the cannabis industry and all stakeholders related to cannabis in California,” said Bonta, who co-authored one of a trio of bills that became the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act enacted in 2015 creating the regulatory framework for medical marijuana.

Full article at https://www.bna.com/california-rolls-own-n57982083453/