This month, the USPTO issued a new examination guide titled “Examination of Marks for Cannabis and Cannabis-Related Goods and Services after Enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill.” In light of the passage of the 2018 farm bill, the USPTO will now consider registering trademarks for some hemp-based goods and services. According to the USPTO, marks can be registered as long as the product is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and doesn’t fall under the federal definition of marijuana. The guide breaks down which cannabis and cannabis-derived products will be eligible for protection based on their “lawful use.” The lawful use requirement, as explained by the USPTO, mandates that “use of a mark in commerce must be lawful use to be the basis for federal registration of the mark.” TMEP §907, citing to 37 C.F.R. §2.69 and §§1, 45 of the Lanham Act. In other words, if a product cannot be legally sold in interstate commerce then, according to the USPTO, the mark cannot be used legally in interstate commerce and, lacking trademark use, the trademark cannot be registered. The USPTO stated that for applications filed on or after December 20, 2018 that identify goods encompassing cannabis or CBD, the 2018 Farm Bill potentially removes the CSA as a ground for refusal of registration, but only if the goods are derived from “hemp.” Cannabis and CBD derived from marijuana (i.e., Cannabis sativa L. with more than 0.3% THC on a dry-weight basis) still violate federal law, and…

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the public to be vigilant when investing in marijuana companies due to the increasing prevalence of investment fraud and market manipulation, adding that the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy regularly receives complaints about marijuana-related investments. Regulators stated that investments offering a guaranteed high rate of return with little or no risk should be treated with suspicion. Other cautionary warnings included unsolicited offers made either through email, social media or over the phone. The SEC advised investors to conduct thorough background checks of anyone recommending marijuana investments, including their registration and license status, previous trading suspensions, and companies that have underwent abrupt changes in their name, business plan or industry. Investors were also reminded of the legal status of marijuana in U.S. and the risk of criminal prosecution as marijuana is technically still illegal in the U.S.    See more here:

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Yesterday,  the House/Senate Conference Committee for the 2018 Farm Bill  sat down for the first time to try to hash out the differences between the two versions of the bill, with the hopes of passage by September 30, 2018, when the 2014 Farm Bill expires. Under the Controlled Substance Act, hemp is currently listed under Schedule I, a federally controlled substance, in the same legal category as heroin and LSD. The bill would not legalize marijuana for recreational or medical uses, but would remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act legalizing the plant federally and allowing it to be cultivated, processed, and sold as an agricultural product. Individual states would be authorized to draft their own hemp regulations without fear of the DEA’s interference. Hemp is commonly used in clothing, food, lotion, beauty products, and most recently popularized for its uses in products made with cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid that can be extracted from cannabis in both its marijuana and hemp forms. If the 2018 Farm bull passes, it would include the legalization of the hemp derived version of CBD. If passed, the 2018 Farm Bill would remove restrictions and allow farmers to grow hemp domestically without the fear of violating the law. Proponents of the legalization of marijuana still have a ways to go, but the legalization of hemp would certainly be a step in the right direction.

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