Following the 2018 Farm Bill, the landscape of trademark registration for cannabis-related products has undergone significant changes, particularly for goods derived from hemp with THC concentrations of no more than 0.3%. This legislative shift has opened new avenues for businesses in the cannabis sector, albeit with a complex set of challenges and considerations.


Impact of the 2018 Farm Bill

The 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act, better known as the Farm Bill, has redefined the legal framework for cannabis by removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act’s definition of marijuana. This pivotal change has enabled the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to issue trademarks for hemp-derived products, provided they comply with the threshold of 0.3% THC on a dry-weight basis and adhere to regulations set by federal agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the path to securing federal trademarks for cannabis-related goods remains fraught with hurdles, primarily due to the ongoing federal prohibition of marijuana and the intricate web of state-specific laws.

Strategies for Cannabis Businesses


Cannabis companies looking to protect their brands and navigate the federal trademark landscape have several strategies at their disposal. While direct federal trademark registration for marijuana-related products is not currently possible, businesses can pursue protection for ancillary goods and services. This includes items traditionally associated with tobacco use, such as rolling papers and pipes, which may be eligible for federal trademark registration. Companies are also advised to seek state-level trademark registrations in jurisdictions where marijuana is legally permitted, offering a layer of protection within those specific markets.

Legal and Regulatory Considerations

The ever-evolving legal status of cannabis at both the state and federal levels presents ongoing challenges for businesses in the industry. The dichotomy between state legalization and federal prohibition requires companies to tread carefully, ensuring compliance with a complex patchwork of regulations. Engaging with experienced trademark attorneys who specialize in cannabis law is crucial for navigating these waters successfully. As the legal landscape continues to shift, staying informed and adaptable will be key for businesses aiming to secure and maintain trademark protection in the cannabis sector.

The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill marks a significant turning point for the cannabis industry, offering new opportunities for brand protection and market expansion. However, the complexities of federal and state regulations demand careful navigation. Businesses in the cannabis space must remain vigilant, informed, and proactive in their approach to trademark registration and brand management. As the industry evolves, so too will the strategies for securing and enforcing trademark rights, highlighting the importance of specialized legal guidance in this dynamic market.


 Explore the complexities of trademark registration for hemp-derived cannabis products following the 2018 Farm Bill. Understand the legal shifts and strategies for businesses.  Read More