Trademarking a unique product is often an essential way for businesses to thrive.
There are quite a few standard business practices that are not available to those operating in the cannabis space. The lack of access to the banking system is often the first one that jumps to mind, but there are additional issues that make success in cannabis a difficult prospect.
As we reported previously, the inability for cannabis businesses to trademark products has become a nagging issue. Because it remains illegal under federal law, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office won’t register trademarks for marijuana retailers or products that contain cannabis. Companies may spend big money to research and develop their ideas only to see a competitor copy their finalized product for a fraction of the cost. (A German glass maker, for example, is suing U.S. based companies for using their name and branding on products.)
“Not being able to trademark your brand is a huge setback if you’re trying to get capital investment,” Nate Bradley, Executive Director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, told Calmatters.com. “If you’re not able to protect what you’re asking people to invest in, you’re not likely to get investments.”
Some California lawmakers are looking at a potential fix for this situation. Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta has introduced Assembly Bill 64. If approved, AB64 would expand the Model State Trademark law to cover “medical cannabis and nonmedical cannabis goods and services.” It would seem intentional that AB64 and the recently passed Prop. 64, which legalized recreational cannabis in California, share the same number.
AB64 is similar to bills passed in Washington and Colorado. The first two states to legalize recreational cannabis in America allow businesses in the industry to apply for trademark protection.
The cannabis industry is growing at a historic pace, despite the legal hurdles in its way. Potential improvements to banking, trademarks, business tax deductions and more are bright spots on the cannabis horizon.