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Can You Trademark a Cannabis Brand? ‘Stash’ Case Offers Two Answers

(WWeek) That, sort of, is the conundrum facing a pair of Pacific Northwest cannabis companies. Both built their brands around the term “stash,” a familiar phrase in cannabis culture. Now, in response to legal pushback from Oregon-based Stash Tea Co., both are working to find a way forward. One retail store is adopting a new name. The other store would rather fight than switch. Seattle’s Stash Pot Shop, for its part, will abandon the name entirely, reinventing itself this week as Lux Pot Shop. The owners of Lux made the move in response to multiple cease-and-desist letters from the Beaverton, Ore.-based tea giant. In Oregon, on the other hand, Stash Cannabis Co. is doubling down on its original name. Stash Cannabis is preparing to defend its brand in court after being slapped with a lawsuit by the tea company on—no joke—April 20, 2016. A trial is scheduled for late 2018. “My feeling is, we’re different industries,” Stash Cannabis owner Chris Matthews told Willamette Week after the suit was filed. There are thousands of businesses nationwide that use the term “stash,” he told the paper. “Just because we sell pot, they think we’re hurting their brand.”

Related: Law