The Cannabis Industry Has A Serious Trademarking Problem

Cannabis doesn’t have the same protections as say Advil or Snickers

Since selling cannabis is still illegal on a national level, cannabis companies can get federal trademarks on some — but not all — parts of their business. They can’t trademark the marijuana itself, including the wacky and easy-to-remember names that companies have given to various strains, like Alien Bubba, Candyland and Granola Funk.

The predicament weed companies find themselves is akin to if Frito-Lay were able to trademark Cheetos but not the name of its Flamin’ Hot flavor.

But since nothing keeps knockoff products and customer confusion at bay like a federal trademark, companies are doing what they can to protect their growing national brands.

“We want to have the same protections for our brands as Advil, Snickers and Miller Lite do,” said Jason Erkes, spokesman for Cresco Labs, which sells its products in more than 600 dispensaries in seven states. “Being able to protect the brand you’re building equity in is one of your most important assets.”

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