Federal Law versus State Law

What was once illegal is now a thriving industry. That’s right—I’m talking about cannabis. But my initial statement isn’t entirely accurate. Although Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington have legalized cannabis, the drug remains a Schedule I narcotic under the federal Controlled Substances Act. While buying, selling, and using cannabis is legal under state law in certain jurisdictions, such conduct is arguably a federal crime in every jurisdiction due to the Controlled Substances Act. It’s a lot to take in, and it gives rise to numerous issues and questions concerning our government’s federalist system. But you all know this blog focuses on intellectual property, so by now I’m sure you’re wondering: what’s the significance to intellectual property of the dichotomy between the way federal and certain state law treats cannabis? Well, to oversimplify the problem, it means that businesses in the cannabis industry are without federal intellectual-property rights, which are by far the most powerful and expansive intellectual-property rights in the country.
Continue Reading Navigating the Hazy Intersection of Federal and State Law on Cannibis and Advising Clients on Protecting Their Trademarks

What was once illegal is now a thriving industry. That’s right—I’m talking about cannabis. But my initial statement isn’t entirely accurate. Although Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington have legalized cannabis, the drug remains a Schedule I narcotic under the federal Controlled Substances Act. While buying, selling, and using cannabis is legal under state law in certain jurisdictions, such conduct is arguably a federal crime in every jurisdiction due to the Controlled Substances Act. It’s a lot to take in, and it gives rise to numerous issues and questions concerning our government’s federalist system. But you all know this blog focuses on intellectual property, so by now I’m sure you’re wondering: what’s the significance to intellectual property of the dichotomy between the way federal and certain state law treats cannabis? Well, to oversimplify the problem, it means that businesses in the cannabis industry are without federal intellectual-property rights, which are by far the most powerful and expansive intellectual-property rights in the country.
Continue Reading Navigating the Hazy Intersection of Federal and State Law on Cannabis and Advising Clients on Protecting Their Trademarks