Farewell, Grape Ape, Girl Scout Cookies, Bubble Gum

Photo via Flickr user Chris Cecil

By Joan Eberhardt

Farewell, Grape Ape, Girl Scout Cookies, Bubble Gum

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission last week passed a rule that restricts the names that can be used to market certain strains of cannabis. The rule is intended to reduce the likelihood of a child mistaking cannabis for candy. Marijuana sellers in Oregon will have to come up with new ways to market familiar strains, like Grape Ape, Girl Scout Cookies, Bubble Gum and Bruce Banner, going forward. Last year, Colorado’s manufacturers voluntarily created guidelines that would prevent certain products from being confused for non-THC candy, so this is not an unprecedented trend.

In fact, as an effort to help further distance the cannabis industry from the candy industry, Colorado will begin putting a THC warning sign on all packages of edibles that contain THC. The logo, a discreet white and red diamond-shape containing “THC!”, will be displayed clearly on packaging.

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Edibles will also no longer be allowed to market themselves with the word “candy” or “candies” no matter what product it is intended to imitate, and all edibles must be sold in childproof containers.

California governor signs and vetoes MJ legislation

California Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed a piece of legislation that creates statewide standards for medical marijuana manufacturers, but vetoed a bill that would have created exemptions for certain Los Angeles-based cannabis businesses.

Assembly bill 2679, which Brown signed, further implements regulations for industry in California, in a move that will create uniformity in California law, and ideally should help to bring an end to federal raids. Currently, California municipalities are given a great deal of leeway to create their own cannabis laws, which has created a legally messy patchwork of standards that vary from town to town.

Brown vetoed Assembly bill 2385, which would have excluded some dispensaries in Los Angeles that have not obtained a license, to continue to operate without one. Storefronts in the rest of the state would still need to obtain state and local licenses. Brown vetoed the bill, he said, because it created inequalities in the way licensing is handled across the state. Los Angeles will now have to create a licensing system, or eject all marijuana businesses from the city, which it is unlikely to do.

Opiate manufacturer fighting AZ legalization

A large producer of prescription opiates is spending millions to fight legalization of cannabis in Arizona. Insys Theraputics made a $500,000 donation last week to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, which is working against legalization in that state. Insys is researching a synthetic cannabis product that has been approved by the FDA, and claims legalization of cannabis would put an end to the market for that product. Insys has also been investigated for alleged improper marketing of the prescription painkillers it produces.

Insys is producing Syndros, a synthetic drug that mimics THC and has been approved for treatment of AIDS and cancer patients’ symptoms. While Syndros has been approved by the FDA, it is still waiting to be scheduled by the DEA. Insys insists that should Arizona allow patients to use cannabis, that there will be no viable market for Syndros. Insys also produces Subsys fentanyl, and it is being investigated on state and federal levels, and sued by its shareholders, over allegations that it improperly marketed the opiate to doctors to boost sales.

Insys’ donation is likely the largest ever made in the fight against cannabis legalization.

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