Posts tagged ‘medical marijuana’

Pot Chocolate and the Saving Kids from Dangerous Drugs Act

These candies look vaguely familiar, right?

That’s what Hershey Chocolate thought too. So in 2007 they filed a suit for trademark infringement against the manufacturer, Kenneth Affolter, and his company Beyond Bomb. Affolter was already in prison for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana plants. The Hershey rip offs were technically legal under California law. But Hershey understandably was disturbed. Imitation being, in this case, not exactly the kind of flattery they were looking for.

Beyond Bomb has a special market niche: creating marijuana-laced products for the pseudo-legal “medical marijuana” market in California. I say “pseudo-legal” because although California law allows for the sale of marijuana for medical purposes, the Feds still consider it illegal.

But in the grey area of California’s standards, a whole industry has sprung up. It isn’t just baggies and pipes. It’s brownies, cookies, ice cream, peanut butter, and granola bars. And yes, lollipops and candy bars, all laced with cannabis.

Beyond Bomb quickly withdrew these candy bars after Hershey got on their case. But they made a reappearance last week in the passage of S.258, the Saving Kids from Dangerous Drugs Act that was passed in the Senate. When the bill was first crafted in 2007, the big scare was candy meth. Candy meth turns out to have been mostly a fantasy, so keeping hope alive for this bill needed new culprits. Enter the medical marijuana business.

When this bill passed the Senate last week, Senator Feinstein’s office refered explicitly to the marijuana candy products that the bill would penalize, products with names like Rasta Reese’s, 3 Rastateers and Munchy Way. Pot brownies are on the suspect list as well. While college students fear the worst, the Senator’s office has reassured them that the penalties only apply to anyone selling these drug-laced candies to kids under 18.

So here’s the problem: who was selling 3 Rastateers and Munchy Way bars to kids under 18? It’s not like dealers package these up and roam the school yards. These were being sold in heavily regulated, very carefully run medical dispensaries. I’m not saying all the dispensing was strictly “medical,” but what the pot industry in California is trying very hard to do is be a normal business, not to be drug dealers. Earlier this year the patent office briefly approved a trademark category for marijuana related products; entrepreneurs rushed in to grab the best trademark names before the higher ups realized that, insofar as pot is still illegal, it didn’t look good for a federal agency like USPTO to be encouraging things with trademark protections.

And I think this why the Saving Kids from Dangerous Drugs Act finally went through this year. The development of the pot business is drawing a lot of attention. The Act is a way of putting pressure on the marijuana advocates and doing everything possible to prevent that business from normalizing. Kids are just an excuse, a smokescreen. The California experiment suggests that “medical marijuana” is a pretty flexible category. Those who would like to keep pot on the illegal side of psychoactive substances get a lot farther with “save the children” than with “save the stoners.”

This whole episode reminds me of the dust-up over Camel Orbs earlier this year, see my comments on Tocacco Candy.

See also my post on the background of this bill and the “candy meth” myth.

August 6, 2010 at 10:41 am 4 comments

Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

Welcome to Candy Professor

Candy in American Culture What is it about candy? Here you'll find the forgotten, the strange, the curious, the surprising. Our candy story, one post at a time.

(C) Samira Kawash

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