California Looks To Launch Cannabis Trademark Protections

Facing a projected $18 billion legal marijuana business after passing legal cannabis last year, California state legislators are pushing for marijuana trademark protections.

So reports Bloomberg. The problem is that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office forbids trademarks for cannabis products because those products remain illegal under federal law. Such trademarks are legal at a state level in states where the drugs has been legalized.

In California this first requires a new bill that would tweak state laws. The state mandates that applicants requesting trademark protection file their claim under one of the federal-level classes. This is impossible for cannabis products, of course, so lawmakers are looking to add classes of goods and services covering medical and recreational marijuana.

“We obviously have a huge marketplace for many products and services and certainly cannabis,” says this legislation’s author, Assembly member Rob Bonta, a Democrat, in the Bloomberg article. “Because California is so big, it matters to have a cannabis trademark in California.”


Washington, Oregon and Colorado have already implemented similar measures. However, as these trademark licenses exist only on the state level, they technically are not binding outside the borders of the state.