Intellectual property protections – like trademarks or innovations on creative marketing – is one of the many federal benefits afforded to legitimate businesses. Unfortunately, L.A. marijuana dispensaries have long been shut out from these sort of protections precisely because they haven’t been treated as if their operation is in fact legitimate.
Thankfully, that is starting to change as states pass reforms that bolster the position of marijuana dispensaries – medicinal and recreational – in our communities.
The effect that is having on the marijuana industry is being explored in the Winter 2016 issue of the Washington and Lee Law Review. The study, “Trademark Laundering, Useless Patents and Other IP Challenges for the Marijuana Industry,” delves into some of the intellectual property challenges the marijuana industry faces and how the industry is tackling those issues today. Because cannabis remains a Schedule I narcotic under federal law, despite progressive state-level reforms, those who grow and sell the drug or its derivatives have found themselves unable to secure banking services, saddled with onerous tax burdens, unable to count on the enforcement of contracts they sign and trouble finding good marijuana lawyers who are willing to take on the complex and ever-changing regulatory landscape. In all of this, intellectual property protection has been largely put on the back burner. Continue reading