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Registering Trademarks for Cannabis: Some Restrictions Lifted

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has generally taken the position that a trademark may not be registered for cannabis-derived goods and services because use of such goods and services violates federal law. The 2018 Farm Bill removed varieties of Cannabis Sativa L. and its derivatives having a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of 0.3% or less from the definition of controlled substances, making their use no longer generally unlawful. On May 2, 2019, the USPTO issued new guidance for the Examination of Marks for Cannabis and Cannabis-Related Goods and Services that reflect the changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill. Now trademark applicants who specify that their cannabis-based goods and services contain 0.3% THC or less (e.g. many cannabidiol-based products) can obtain a federal trademark registration.