Perkins Coie Partner Barak Cohen is joined by Natalie Papillion, a drug policy expert and organizer who serves as the executive director of The Equity Organization and sits on the Board of Directors for the Last Prisoner Project. Natalie and Barak discuss the disparate impact that the war on drugs has had on marginalized communities, particularly communities of color, and how the cannabis industry can help address this through social equity legislation.

Listen to “Race, Social Equity, and the Cannabis Industry” on Spreaker.

Note that all episodes are available on Apple, Google and Spotify.

Legalization of marijuana continues at the state level including in several new states this November, but it remains illegal at the federal level. Given this illegal status, businesses and individuals directly involved in the marijuana industry have often been unable to obtain relief in federal bankruptcy courts—with bankruptcy courts dismissing marijuana cases because the purported debtor’s conduct is unlawful under federal law. Three cases decided in 2020 highlight potential barriers to bankruptcy protection faced by debtors even when they are only indirectly involved in the marijuana industry. Continue Reading Marijuana Industry Takes a Big Hit in Federal Bankruptcy Court in 2020

On October 27, 2020, the New York State Department of Health issued proposed regulations regarding cannabinoid hemp products. These proposed regulations (available here) are open for public commentary until January 11, 2021. They would change how products containing hemp-derived cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD), are manufactured and sold in New York State. While the industry continues to await federal guidance from the FDA, these proposed regulations offer a glimpse into what actions the federal government might take with regard to CBD. Continue Reading New York State Proposes New Cannabinoid Product Regulations

Legalized recreational marijuana was on the ballot in four states last night, and it won in all four. Arizona, New Jersey, Montana, and South Dakota now bring the total number of U.S. states that have legalized recreational marijuana to 15, along with the District of Columbia. Notably, these changes were primarily the result of ballot initiatives, which is typical of the “grassroots” (pun intended) way in which marijuana has been legalized in most states, suggesting a rare point of democratic consensus in otherwise divided times. A fifth state, Mississippi, legalized medical marijuana, as well. Continue Reading Marijuana on the Ballot: Four More States Legalize Recreational Pot

To kick off our new podcast, Perkins Coie Partner Barak Cohen is joined by Yoko Miyashita, CEO of Leafly. Yoko and Barak discuss her transition from General Counsel of a leading cannabis company to CEO. They dive into the unique features of the cannabis industry compared to other industries, the unique business challenges of the cannabis industry as well as predictions for the industry’s future.

Listen to “From General Counsel to CEO: A Conversation with Yoko Miyashita, CEO of Leafly” on Spreaker.

Note that all episodes are available on Apple, Google and Spotify

A recent Trademark Trial and Appeal Board decision confirmed that, for now and the foreseeable future, companies selling CBD-infused products intended for consumption, including CBD derived from hemp, will not be able to obtain a federal trademark registration covering such use.

The Lanham Act, the federal statute that regulates federal registration of trademarks, requires use of a trademark in commerce to qualify for federal registration. Accordingly, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will refuse registration of a trademark that is not in lawful use in commerce. Currently, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has interpreted the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act (FDCA) to prohibit the use of CBD in products intended for consumption. As a result, federal trademark registration for various goods that contain CBD, including dietary supplements, foods, and beverages, will be refused registration by the USPTO as unlawful under the FDCA. Continue Reading Consumable CBD: No Federal Trademark Registration

A former part owner of a failed venture sued the venture’s former CEO, Paul Smith, alleging he misappropriated trade-secret hemp strains, selling them to a Canadian cannabis company for nearly $4 million.

In its September 21, 2020 complaint, Big Wuf Enterprises, LLC and its principal, W. John Short, allege their former venture, YCG Holdings LLC, owned the trade-secret hemp strain “Relief Now” as well as its trademark, equipment, and other assets. Big Wuf asserts that YCG was formed by Big Wuf, JP Consulting, and the non-party Kelly Martin.

Read the full article on our sister blog Trade Secret Tracker.

As part of its ongoing efforts to address “unanswered questions about the science, safety, and quality of products” containing cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a multi-disciplinary conference to be held on November 19, 2020.  Hosted by the FDA’s Office of Women’s Health, the public meeting will discuss potential biological and psychosocial differences in use and responses to CBD and other cannabinoids. Continue Reading FDA Announces Scientific Conference on Sex, Gender, & Cannabinoids

A recent putative class action regarding edible cannabidiol (CBD) products reminds potential plaintiffs of the importance of pleading with particularity.

On behalf of a putative class of consumers, a purchaser alleged that Bhang Medicinal Chocolates contained a smaller quantity of CBD than the product advertised. Plaintiff asserted that he had independent lab testing to support this claim. On this basis, the purchaser alleged violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”), False Advertising Law (“FAL”), and Consumer Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”), and he also lodged claims of breach of express warranty, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation. Continue Reading Putative CBD Chocolate Class Action Dismissed: Allegations Must Be Plead with Particularity

Amid sustained legislative pressure for regulatory guidance and the FDA’s recent submission of draft enforcement guidance regarding cannabidiol (CBD) to the White House, signs from the FDA indicate increased momentum towards a federal pathway for the CBD market. This momentum from the FDA is affected by the approach to CBD taken by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). While the industry awaits the FDA’s forthcoming guidance policy on CBD enforcement, the FDA’s approach articulated in two recent guidance documents contains important signals. Continue Reading FDA Guidance Offers Clues Regarding Future Federal CBD Policy