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Trademark Troubles in the Cannabis Industry

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Girl Scouts USA has sent cease-and-desist letters to at least two California dispensaries—Studio City’s Buds & Roses in Los Angeles, in 2015, and more recently Oakland’s Magnolia Wellness on Jan. 6. The letters state that “only GSUSA has the right to license, endorse or sponsor a product bearing the Girl Scout Cookies name.” Both dispensaries renamed the strain upon receiving the letters.

When Magnolia received the letter, Executive Director Debby Goldsberry urged other dispensaries to also rename Girl Scout Cookies products. Magnolia’s menu currently lists Platinum GSC for $15 per gram.

“Retail stores have the responsibility to refuse delivery of any product in violation of these laws,” Goldsberry tells Freedom Leaf. “It’s essential that any business in the cannabis industry learn these laws and follow them. It should start with the suppliers. But once [a supplier] hears of the problem, they want to solve it, too.”

Goldsberry, in fact, has been involved with the Girl Scouts since she was a young girl, starting out as a Brownie in grade school, working as a camp counselor after high school and serving as a leader for her daughter’s troop. “I have nothing but respect for this revered institution, and want to do my part to help stem this problem,” she says.

Magnolia will be hosting a class this month with attorney Luke Zimmerman, whose law practice focuses on the cannabis industry and intellectual property. In offering the class to its members, the dispensary wants to help others avoid similar problems. “Dispensaries are listening, and hopefully are changing their own policies,» she adds.

In another trademark dispute, the Oregon-based Stash Tea Co. has taken issue with two cannabis companies that include “stash” in their names. While the Stash Pot Shop in Seattle changes its name to Lux Pot Shop, Stash Cannabis Co. in Beaverton, Ore. refused to make a similar change, prompting the tea company to sue. The lawsuit, filed last April in the U.S. District Court in Portland, seeks unspecified monetary damages and is scheduled to go to trial next January. Yamamotoyama Tea Co., headquartered in Japan, owns Stash Tea.

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