Although recreational marijuana use is legal in eight US states and the District of Columbia, the federal Controlled Substance Act still bans it, meaning that the USPTO, as a branch of the US federal government, will not register trademarks for cannabis products. But now some legislation proposed in the state of California may pave the way for state trademarks there for cannabis products.
Here’s what happening: California’s legalization bill goes into effect on January 1, 2018. Proposed California Assembly Bill 64 seeks to remove marijuana-themed advertisements from California’s interstate and state highways, as a way to reduce influencing children to use marijuana. The bill also, according to Entrepreneur, expands parts of the Model State Trademark law, which allows the state to grant trademarks to businesses that deal in “medical cannabis and nonmedical cannabis goods and services.” That means that if the bill passes, brands will be able to treat the cannabis industry just as they do any traditional business.
Colorado and Washington have already passed laws similar to the proposed California legislation that offer trademark protection to marijuana businesses in those states.