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SMOK Stick X8 Review

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9.2
Final Score

SMOK have released a number of vape pens over the years and one thing they have learned is the importance of the battery life. With the new Smok Stick X8 you get a built-in 3000mAh battery which is just awesome, it also features a TFV8 X-baby tank which is a great accomplice, producing a great tasting vapor that will make you want to vape more and more! All in all this is one of the best vape pens on the market, period!

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In-depth SMOK Stick X8 Review

SMOK is back at it again, with yet another new entry in its already impressive line of great vaping products. This time, the company has brought us a new vape pen that it’s calling the Stick X8. It sells for less than $40 for the kit, which will probably spark a great deal of interest from new and intermediate-level vaping fans, especially for those who are looking for the best e cig to quit smoking with. But what do you get for that moderately-low price? Is the Stick X8 worthy of bearing the SMOK name? And why do certain members of our test team get so excited whenever they hear about a new vape pen offering, anyway? We’ll try to answer the first two questions in this SMOK Stick X8 review. That last question is one that’s better left to the psychologists…

Let’s jump right into this, shall we?

 
Colors available of the Smok Stick X8

Smok and the Power!

First, let’s stipulate something right out of the gate: we love SMOK. It’s a great company with a great reputation for providing vapers with high-quality, reliable products. Yes, they’ve focused a bit more than we’d like on subtle aesthetic changes in recent months, but that doesn’t mean that they’ve lost a step at all. They’re still one of the most innovative companies out there. So, you can imagine that we had high hopes for the X8, and fully expected it to knock our socks off.

The pen has a powerful 3000mAh battery. You heard that right: 3000mAh.

Impressed yet? You should be. In our tests, this battery provided us with all the power we needed to draw out some really impressive vapor clouds – and its charge lasted for far longer than we might have assumed if we were unfamiliar with that battery’s capabilities. Suffice it to say that SMOK made the right decision on the power front and we have no option to vote it as one of the best vape pens on the market. There are only a few things more annoying than a weak vape pen that spits out negligible spurts of vapor. This isn’t the case with this model though, thank goodness!

 

The Kit

The Smok Stick X8 KitThe pen comes in a kit, which is always handy to new vapers. After all, who wants to buy a product only to find out that they need three or four other products before they can actually use that first purchase? The kit comes in six different color options and includes a beautiful presentation box decorated in a volcano theme. It includes that powerful battery we mentioned, as well as the X-Baby tank, pre-fitted .25 Ohm coil and a spare coil rated at .13 Ohms. You also get other spare parts, charging cable, manual, and a handy vape band. Not bad at all.

The design is all SMOK sleekness, with a cutting-edge look that puts it a rung above its rivals in the marketplace. It’s 85 mm long, and easy to use. That’s because it has a single button to operate its vaping functions – a common enough design for vape pens. There’s the obligatory LED light as well, to let you know when you need to give it a recharge.

 

Performance

It’s a vape pen, so you’re obviously not going to get crazy power from it, but you can get output that ranges from 35 to 45 watts. Most diehard vapers will recognize that they can easily get large clouds of delicious vapor at those wattage levels. That great battery will ensure that you can achieve those clouds throughout much of the day, without frequent recharges and as we’ve already said this is one of the best e-cigs around for the intermediate vaper.

For a small device, it’s loaded with safety features as well. For example, there are safeguards to protect against low resistance and low voltage, as well as short-circuits. It’s always nice to know that your device is designed to protect itself and its user, right?

The SMOK Stick X8 laying on its sideThe inclusion of the X-Baby tank is brilliant, in our opinion. It offers a generous capacity of 4 ml and top airflow capability. You can also fill it from the top, which is a tremendous benefit for those who hate the messiness of using bottom-filling products – and that’s just about everyone we know.

In our tests, we had no dry hits, no leakage, and no flooding. Those are all concerns that we’ve had with other vape pens in the past, so it’s nice to see that SMOK focused attention on the smaller details. Quality matters and SMOK delivers – as usual.

 

To Conclude

Usually, we find at least one area to criticize, but this vape pen left us completely satisfied. That’s why we have no problem with giving it our highest recommendation. If you’re a pen user and want a product that offers great cloud production and reliable quality, then the SMOK Stick X8 is the right vape pen for you.

 

Smok is one of the leading manufacturers of electronic cigarettes and they have many models currently on the market:

 

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California Cannabis Contracts and the Attorney-Client Privilege: A Legislative Update

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We previously explored enforceability problems presented by commercial cannabis contracts in California, as well as some examples of how courts have strained to reconcile state-legal conduct with federal illegality. On October 6, California Governor Brown signed into law AB 1159, a short bill with important implications for commercial cannabis operators, service providers, and investors relating to the enforcement of commercial cannabis contracts in California.

Section 1 of the bill states that “commercial activity relating to medicinal cannabis or adult-use cannabis conducted in compliance with California law and any applicable local standards, requirements, and regulations shall be deemed to be: (1) A lawful object of a contract; (2) Not contrary to, an express provision of law, any policy of express law, or good morals; and (3) Not against public policy.”

California statutory law requires contracts have a lawful object, but until now it was not clear whether this legality requirement encompassed federal as well as state law. And since cannabis is illegal under federal law, both state and federal courts wrestled with how and whether to enforce contracts that involved cannabis. Even though California law allows for commercial cannabis activity, the law pertaining to interpretation and enforcement of contracts in California remained ambiguous, and as noted in the Senate Floor Analysis of the bill, many California cannabis companies have been reluctant to litigate meritorious claims for fear the courts would not enforce their contracts. AB 1159 changes that by making clear that parties to contracts involving commercial cannabis activity can now rely on statutory law in making sure those contracts are enforceable—provided that the underlying activity complies with California state and local laws and provided the contract is interpreted under California law.

This will make it crucial you think carefully about the jurisdiction and the choice of law provisions you put into in your cannabis contracts.

The second section of AB 1159 is essentially an amendment to the California Evidence Code that solidifies the attorney-client privilege for “legal services rendered in compliance with state and local laws on medicinal cannabis or adult-use cannabis, and confidential communications provided for the purpose of rendering those services … provided the lawyer also advises the client on conflicts with respect to federal law.” The general rule in California (as elsewhere) is that the attorney-client privilege does not apply to legal services sought or obtained to enable or aid a crime or fraud. Because cannabis activity is still a crime under federal law, some thought this jeopardized the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship in the event of an indictment or litigation. AB 1159 changes that by securing the attorney-client privilege where it pertains to cannabis activity, but only if the legal services were rendered in compliance with California state and local law and only if the lawyer advises the client on conflicts regarding federal law.

Bottom Line: California is making serious and productive moves to normalize things for its cannabis businesses. But for California cannabis businesses to take advantage of these new opportunities, they must be sure to comply with California state and local laws.

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Multiple African Countries May Soon Legalize Marijuana

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Since Lesotho, a kingdom encircled in South Africa with nearly 2 million citizens, announced it would issue a license to legally grow marijuana, other African governments are considering jumping on board. On the continent of Africa, more than 10,000 tons of marijuana is produced annually. Some estimate that the value of that crop would be well in the billions of dollars.

Lesotho’s move indicates a shift in opinion to a more liberal direction, and widespread interest on the continent to legalize marijuana exists from South Africa to Morocco, reports CNN. Each region, however, has challenges of its own to get to legal status.

Morocco is well known for its hashish. It produces the second most hashish according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Afghanistan produces the most hashish. The production of hashish employs roughly 800,000 and may be worth as much as $10 billion in annual sales.

Morocco did attempt to legalize marijuana in 2014, but the bill failed. Thereafter, Ilyas El Omari, the leading legal marijuana advocate, resigned. Some are worried that legalizing marijuana in Morocco would devalue the crop.

Malawi, known for its high-quality marijuana, is experimenting with hemp cultivation. Malawi Gold is a highly sought after strain. Some think that marijuana legalization will come soon to Malawi as the Rastafarian minority is already demanding legalization.

The people of Ghana love marijuana. While marijuana is prohibited there, its use is tolerated. Legalization efforts are heating up in the country, and there is support from the former head of the Narcotics Control Board.

Swaziland is one of the poorest countries on the African continent, but it is rich in one thing: marijuana. Public leaders have attempted to legalize marijuana to boost the economy. Currently, a committee is being tasked with exploring the possibility of marijuana legalization.

South Africa is leading market demand for marijuana. Roughly 2,500 tons are produced in South Africa annually. There are ongoing legal battles to legalize marijuana in the area. The Dagga Party made a huge leap forward earlier this year when a ruling allows for individuals to use marijuana in their homes on private land. Medical marijuana guidelines are established in South Africa.

A lot of progress is being made on the African continent, and more change is expected in the near future. Multiple African governments are expected to change their policy, which could put the continent at the forefront for one of the biggest green rushes in the world.

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Much Ado About RICO and Cannabis, Part 2

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Defendants describe the lawsuit as an “attempt to put some shiny federal lipstick on an otherwise quite beleaguered pig of a state-law nuisance claim.”

We’ve previously discussed a RICO case that is slowly worming its way through federal court in Portland, Oregon. Styled as McCart v. Beddow et al., the case was filed by an attorney who is fed up with two neighboring cannabis grow operations next to her rural home. But rather than focusing solely on the allegedly troublesome cannabis producers, the McCart plaintiffs have filed suit against anyone even tangentially related to the producers’ business, including many dispensaries (“Dispensary Defendants”) that only purchased their product. We counted over 70 named defendants!

In our previous discussion, we suggested that the plaintiffs’ case against the Dispensary Defendants is fairly weak and our opinion hasn’t changed. Since we last checked in, the plaintiffs have filed a substantially expanded amended complaint, and numerous defendants have filed motions to dismiss. Although the Court won’t consider the motions to dismiss until January, it is worth checking in on the parties’ current positions. We are going to continue to focus on the Dispensary Defendants because there could be serious repercussions in the industry if the Dispensary Defendants are found liable even though they apparently didn’t have anything to do with the grow operation.

The Law

RICO law is complex, but as a general matter the RICO statutes allow a plaintiff to recover treble damages in a civil claim if the plaintiff can prove the following:

  • The existence of an “enterprise” affecting interstate or foreign commerce;
  • The specific defendant was employed by or associated with the enterprise;
  • The specific defendant conducted or participated in the conduct of the enterprise’s affairs;
  • The specific defendant’s participation was through a pattern of racketeering activity; and
  • Plaintiff’s business or property was injured by reason of defendant’s conducting or participating in the conduct of the enterprise’s affairs.

Of course, the devil is in the details, as the Dispensary Defendants point out in their motion to dismiss.

The Amended Complaint

The plaintiffs filed their amended complaint on September 1, which added 95 paragraphs onto their hefty original complaint. The amended complaint adds many new defendants, including employees at the farms and it alleges that nearly all of the defendants were exporting product out of Oregon.

In broad terms, the plaintiffs’ claims against the Dispensary Defendants have not changed in that they still allege the following:

  1. The cannabis grow operation (“Marijuana Operation”) is an enterprise affecting interstate commerce, as defined in the RICO statutes;
  2. All of the defendants were associated with and conducted the Marijuana Operation’s affairs through racketeering activity;
  3. Plaintiffs suffered a variety of kinds of harm as a result of the Marijuana Operation:
    1. Physical Injury to Real Property: littering, driveway damage, tire tracks, damage to some trail cameras, and unreasonable use of easements.
    2. Diminution of Property Value: noise pollution, light pollution, vibration, odors, exhaust fumes.
    3. Personal Injuries: harassment and damage to plaintiffs’ use and quiet enjoyment of their property.

The Motions to Dismiss

Eighteen Dispensary Defendants joined together in a single motion asking the Court to throw out plaintiff’s entire case against them. Their motion is well worth the read, not least for its colorful language, such as the lipstick-on-a-pig quote below the pig picture above. The arguments in this motion fit into two general categories:

The Dispensary Defendants are not part of a racketeering enterprise.

To establish an “enterprise” exists for RICO purposes, plaintiffs must show there was an ongoing organization with a common purpose. Both of these elements get to the same idea: a criminal enterprise is a group of people all working together to enrich themselves. Courts have found “ongoing organizations” among disparate businesses when there are legitimate interconnections between the entities, such as similar ownership and overlap in personnel. Similarly, courts have found a common purpose where the alleged members are working to promote a single economic interest, and not where they are simply pursuing individual economic interests. There don’t appear to be any of these kinds of links in this case. The Dispensary Defendants appear to be owned, operated, and staffed by distinct individuals working towards their own individual business purposes. This ties back to our initial read of this case: mere supplier-purchaser relationships like these do not rise to the level of RICO enterprises.

In any event, plaintiffs need to establish that the Dispensary Defendants were associated with and conducted or participated in the enterprise. Yet plaintiffs have not alleged that the Dispensary Defendants had any say over the operation of the farms. Their case against the Dispensary Defendants will likely die here.

Plaintiffs’ alleged harms cannot be recovered as a matter of law.

Even assuming plaintiffs can get over the hurdle of establishing that the Dispensary Defendants directed the farms, plaintiffs still must establish that their specific harms are actionable. The Dispensary Defendants also seem to be on the right side of the law here, arguing that the alleged harms and the speculative claim that the value of plaintiffs’ home has decreased cannot form the basis of a RICO claim against any of the defendants and cannot form the basis of a state-law claim nuisance claim against the Dispensary Defendants, in particular.

The plaintiffs face a number of legal obstacles that seem insurmountable. First and foremost, Oregon has long since decided that it is in the best interests of the state to protect farming uses and it has decided to treat cannabis the same as any other farm crop. Accordingly, Oregon’s Right to Farm Act likely bars plaintiffs’ nuisance and trespass claims for damages based on odors, noise pollution, light pollution, vibrations, and smoke fumes. The Dispensary Defendants rely on ORS 30.936(1), which provides farmers in farming areas with immunity from suit for any trespass or nuisance claims, defined elsewhere as claims “based on noise, vibration, odors, smoke, dust, mist from irrigation, use of pesticides and use of crop production substances.” Since RICO case law suggests that harms to property interests should be determined by state law, plaintiffs’ diminution of value claims are likely dead on arrival.

In any event, plaintiffs’ specific diminution of value claims are likely too speculative. The Dispensary Defendants argue that a RICO plaintiff must plead and prove that plaintiff has suffered a “concrete financial loss” but that plaintiffs’ complaint only contains pure guesswork that the odors, etc. diminished the value of plaintiffs’ property. Even if the plaintiffs could plead a specific dollar amount of diminished value, Oregon law bars claims for diminution of property value if the nuisance can be stopped. In other words, if the harm would disappear if the grow operations shut down, plaintiffs cannot recover damages for loss of value. Instead, plaintiffs should be asking the court to shut down the grow operations, which would have little to no effect on the Dispensary Defendants.

Plaintiffs will also likely fail on their claims for loss of quiet enjoyment and harassment because personal injuries like these are not compensable under RICO.

We will have to wait until next year to find out if the Court agrees with the Dispensary Defendants but we predict vindication for the dispensaries. In fact, we predict the claims against all of the defendants will get tossed, except possibly some small state-law claims. It seems that if you are a good neighbor and you don’t set up your operations next door to property owned by a lawyer, then you’ll likely never be drawn into a mess like this.

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Increase in Patients Using Marijuana for Gastrointestinal Health Issues

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The endocannabinoid system plays a major role in gastrointestinal (GI) health. Cannabinoid receptors are located throughout the body, including in the brain, immune system and the GI tract. Several GI issues stem from immune system disruptions, deficiencies or weakness. Medical marijuana can provide relief of some of these GI disorder symptoms such as inflammation, nausea and vomiting.

Patient interest in using medical marijuana to treat gastrointestinal disorders is rising, according to Healio Gastroenterology. Multiple states already include some type of GI disorder on their medical marijuana qualifying conditions list. Some of those disorders include severe and persistent nausea, hepatitis C and inflammatory bowel syndrome.

Dr. Mark E. Gerich of the University of Colorado Anschultz Medical Campus said, “The endocannabinoid system’s endogenous signaling molecules and receptors are present throughout the body, and specific to GI, they’re present in the immune system and in the GI mucosa, both in the luminal GI tract and also in other digestive organs. The plausible premise is that through the use of exogenous compounds, many of which are present in cannabis, the endogenous system could be modified to potentially ameliorate GI disease or symptoms related to other diseases.”

Dr. David T. Rubin of the University of Chicago Medicine said, “Medical marijuana has reached the mainstream in terms of patient interest. For the most part, it’s my younger patients who are asking about it, and fewer physicians are resistant to the idea now that they’ve learned more about how the process works. Most gastroenterologists who take care of patients with chronic nausea or IBD will be asked about it at some point, and they have a responsibility to understand what treatment options are available for patients, what the limits of those options are, what the risks are, and how to appropriately support and provide them when they can.”

Doctors are adamant about more research being needed in able to determine just how beneficial medical marijuana can be for GI disorders.

“In terms of high-quality evidence, most of what we know is extrapolated from clinical trials of THC, predominantly for nausea and vomiting and AIDS-related conditions,” said Dr. Gerich.

Clinical trials have resulted in the formulation and FDA approval of several synthetic forms of THC such as Marinol, Cesamet and Syndros. The primary uses for these synthetic options are to treat those with HIV/AIDS or chemotherapy-related nausea, vomiting and anorexia.

Dr. Gerich pointed out that those with Crohn’s disease may benefit from using medical marijuana for more significant symptoms.

When it comes to gastrointestinal disorder relief, much of determining the effectiveness of a medication, alternative treatment or procedure is based off of patient reporting. Dr. Gerich said, “There are anecdotal reports from IBD patients suggesting that cannabis may alleviate certain symptoms, but we have yet to see convincing evidence that cannabis can change the course of the illness in terms of inflammatory markers, biopsy findings or endoscopic disease severity, so we’re still in the domain of subjective response. It’s plausible that cannabis can have therapeutic benefits in the disease, but it’s also plausible that cannabis can cause some harms in the disease.”

Despite the lack of scientific evidence, between 16 to 50 percent of IBD patients said they’ve used marijuana to treat their symptoms. Some patients have an incomplete response to traditional treatment options, Dr. Timna Naftali and Dr. Fred M. Konikoff say. Corticosteroids have side effects making them less than ideal for long-term use. It’s said that 50 to 60 percent of those using corticosteroids are likely to achieve remission, however, this is a low rate. With Crohn’s disease, nearly 70 percent of patients will have to have surgery at some point in their lives based upon the efforts of traditional medicine.

Because patient interest regarding medical marijuana for treating gastrointestinal disorders has increased, Dr. Naftali and several colleagues chose to dig deeper. They found, in 2011, that a study was conducted which included 30 Crohn’s disease patients. Of those patients, 21 that used medical marijuana found relief and a decrease in symptom severity. Their reliance on traditional medication decreased as did their chances for requiring surgery in the future.

Dr. David T. Rubin believes medical marijuana should be used to complement traditional treatment when it comes to gastrointestinal disorders, not replace it. He said, “I try to be very clear with patients that we want to optimize their existing therapies, use appropriate strategies to manage their condition, and support the idea of cannabis as a complementary treatment to enhance symptom control. We cannot ignore that we want their disease to be under control because frankly, symptom management in the absence of appropriate disease management is a losing battle. It will spiral into progressive complications and lead to problems that we can’t get under better control.”

When a patient wants to use only medical marijuana to treat IBD, Dr. Rubin suggests the “treat-to-target” method. This method uses negotiated short term trials of some alternative approaches, including medical marijuana.

In combatting the chronic pain associated with some gastrointestinal disorders, doctors do question the effectiveness of cannabinoids for visceral pain. Dr. Itai Danovitch said, “One question is whether they are indeed effective for chronic visceral pain, and another question is whether they can help lower reliance on opioid analgesics and therein reduce opioid related harms.”

Opioids aren’t always a good option for those with pain associated with IBD. Dr. Rubin believes that if medical marijuana is helping someone with chronic GI pain and gets them off of the narcotics then it’s a good idea. He said, “We know that narcotics have an adverse effect on people with IBD. Those who need narcotics for managing their IBD are a challenging group of patients, and those who are narcotic-dependent are a very challenging group of patients. Every study that has listed adverse outcomes, whether it’s infection or even death, has demonstrated that narcotics are associated with the worst outcomes. Therefore, treatments that enable us to avoid narcotics or get patients off narcotics are extremely important and helpful.”

When it comes to medical marijuana working for those with gastrointestinal disorders, it can be very individualized. Furthermore, the type of marijuana strain and method of delivery both play a role, as does dosage, but, it appears that marijuana does seem to be helping many people heal.

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VGOD Elite Mech Mod Review

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8.4
Final Score

For mechanical mods this is one of the best. The VGod Elite ouses quality and feels great to hold. Due to the hybrid tank connection and copper connections throughout to reduce resistance, the power and performance achieved can only be described as awesome! Be warned though, make sure you know what your doing, these types of mods are for the pro’s only!

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In-Depth Review of the VGod Elite Mech Mod

If your a mechanical mod fan, then the chances are you’ve tried the odd mechanical mod or two! Most have pretty basic functionality with somewhat cool designs, however, when it comes to the VGOD Elite Mech Mod, nothing else comes close. This vaping masterpiece has the quality that only true vapers can appreciate with only the top quality materials used to not only improve the look but to enhance your vaping experience. If your looking for a high-quality mechanical mod, then you’ve found it with the VGod Elite.

Please Note: Mechanical mods are unregulated, so it’s important you have some idea about the resistance of the coils you use vs. the power of the battery. If your unsure, then check out our guide on mechanical mods.

 
The packaging, case and spares of the Elite Mech mod

Packaging

As soon as this thing comes to your door, it just sings “quality”. In my view, whenever I see expensive packaging like this I just wish they put the money on the device itself, in the VGOD Elite though, their strategy is not to take any shortcuts, and that includes the packaging!

You get a basic cardboard box which is huge! Almost the size of a shoe box with pictures of the Elite Mod on, but inside sits a canvas like satchel that opens using a zipper, this is pretty big considering the size of the mod, but also has pockets and other useful compartments to hold spare batteries, other mods and just a general convenient box to house your mods when travelling!

Inside the satchel features; instructions, a tie pin with the VGod logo (I don’t know why), a spare gold spring and the mech mod itself!

 
Design of the VGOD Elite Mech front and back

Design

Firing button on the VGOD Elite Mech ModThis is a copper mechanical mod with a black cerakote coating, which is probably why it feels pretty heavy, weighing in at around 0.2kg. The paint job looks like a dull black powder coat but the cerakote makes it hard wearing, but also less likely to drop due to its anti-slip properties. Along the shaft has the logo engraved out of the coating to reveal the copper, which looks pretty cool, it has a copper firing button with carbon fiber inlay making the best possible connection with the battery. The top has engraving stating it’s an original VGOD USA product and has a hybrid 510 connection, which basically means there’s no pin inside the thread to make connection to your tank pin and the battery, that is, the pin on the tank will make direct contact with the battery and thus needs to be protruding. This is a great design because wherever they can limit the resistance of the power going through the device the better the device is!

Hybrid Pin connectionSafety Checkpoint! Make sure the tank your using has a pin that is protruding from the base and not spring loaded or flush. You only want the positive pin to be hitting the positive side of the battery. If both the pin and the housing around the pin (which is the negative) both hit the battery then that tank is going to get hot and can be dangerous.

 

Power

The Elite mod holds a single 18650 battery but has no regulation so you can’t control the voltage. For this reason, it’s probably best to put the least amount of resistance in your coil to get a quick ramp-up time. Remember the voltage is going to be high, with no 510 pin to loose voltage, and superconductive copper materials as connections, this is the best you’re going to get. If your not a fan of unregulated mechanical mods, then we suggest sticking to the box mod vapes instead.

 
The advantages

Pros

  • Performance hard hitter up there with the best
  • Switch is smooth and great connections never had a miss fire
  • Quality of the material ouses quality along with the badge and logo placement
  • Carrying case is handy for both this mod and all your spare mods, batteries and tanks!
  • Self-adjusting to fit battery, simply unscrew the cap, place your battery in and it fits with no rattle

 
The disadvantages

Cons

  • Tapering design may not be liked by everyone
  • Clear coating on the logo on the housing rubs off and can, therefore, look dirty and patina
  • Cost is quite high, but considering the quality and performance, you get what you pay for!
  • Mech mods are considered dangerous due to no safety regulations, use only if you know what you’re doing!

 

To Conclude

The VGOD Elite Mech Mod is the second in the Series of VGOD mods. It has a unique shape, a tight grip, and the quality of this mech mod cannot be faulted. The design, weight, and feel is just awesome and is one of the best e cigs in the mechanical mods category. For Vapers, the VGOD Elite Series Mech Mod is definitely a must buy if you’re looking for both quality and performance.

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Cannabis Trademarks: How to Coexist with Large Hairy Primates

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Can they live together?

A recent post here looked at the “Gorilla Glue” trademark dispute between a cannabis business and a glue maker. As we’ve often seen, the cannabis business gave up its brand, rather than litigating. Sometimes a settlement is the best choice. When the cannabis business is the smaller, newer, less financially-sound company, facing an established brand holder with more resources for litigation, it may be smart for the cannabis business to spend its money on rebranding rather than on litigation. But settlement is not the only option when a cannabis business uses a mark similar to the mark used by a non-cannabis business.

Imagine a hypothetical business, “Naturewave Furniture, Inc.” (“NFurn”). NFurn has been selling furniture for 25 years throughout the United States to consumers who want environmentally-friendly products. In 1995, NFurn federally registered “Naturewave” in international trademark class 20, “furniture.” Though NFurn is a player in the enviro-friendly products market, it is not a household name. Now imagine Naturewave Cannabis, LLP (“NCanna”), an Oregon cannabis producer that also sells branded rolling papers. In June 2016, NCanna registered “Naturewave” with the Oregon Secretary of State under class 131, “agricultural products,” and class 134, “tobacco & smokers articles.”

NFurn sues NCanna in federal court, alleging 1) NCanna’s use of Naturewave infringes on its trademark because confusion with NFurn’s Naturewave® mark is likely, and 2) NCanna’s use of Naturewave® to sell cannabis and rolling papers is diluting or tarnishing its mark. But NCanna has invested heavily in marketing its cannabis products and accessories under the Naturewave name, and its Naturewave cannabis products are popular and profitable. Does NCanna have good defenses to either claim? You bet it does.

The basic question for trademark infringement is whether consumers would mistake the source of the goods. Here, the goods offered by each party—furniture and cannabis—are unrelated. No stores sell both furniture and cannabis and the marketing channels for these two products do not overlap. The customers for both goods are sophisticated, careful shoppers. People looking for enviro-furniture usually spend at least 10 hours before buying a particular item. Cannabis consumers are known for research that borders on the obsessive, as shown by the proliferation of sites like MassRoots, Leafly, and Fresh Toast. Neither company is going to move into the other’s product line. Though NCanna had heard of Naturewave Furniture, the words “nature” and “wave” have different connotations in the different industries. NCanna isn’t branding itself as environmentally friendly, and NFurn isn’t suggesting its furniture will let the buyer “ride a wave.” It is unlikely a customer would think NFurn is the source of the cannabis sold by NCanna, or that one of NCanna’s customers would walk into a natural furniture store looking to buy cannabis.

The claim for tarnishment requires a different analysis. Under trademark law, the owner of a famous trademark can sue for using its mark in a way that dilutes or tarnishes the mark. There is no need to show a likelihood of confusion in a tarnishment claim; you only need to show that your mark is famous and similar to the accused mark. Although it is easier to list famous trademarks—Coke®, Amazon®, Google®, Starbucks®, Xerox®—than it is to define “famous,” generally a highly distinctive mark that is very well-known throughout the market, and has been used extensively and continuously for a long time, can be found to be famous. NFurn argues that NCanna’s use of Naturewave® with a traditionally illegal product will tarnish or dilute its mark. But is Naturewave® “famous” under trademark law? Arguably not, at least on our hypothetical facts. In that case, NFurn would not have a claim for dilution.

The upshot of this imagined case is that NCanna could evaluate NFurn’s lawsuit and know it had solid arguments to defend the case. The strength of the litigation position is, however, only one factor. Ultimately, whether to litigate a trademark dispute or settle or seek a coexistence agreement is a business decision for the cannabis company.

Related posts:

 

 

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Study: 60 Percent of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Patients Who Used CBD Products Saw Significant Reduction of Seizures

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A new study has found promising results in CBD oil used as a treatment for patients suffering from seizures—primarily people with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.

Results from the trial showed that 60 percent of participants who used CBD products saw a clinically significant (80-100 percent) reduction in the frequency of their seizures.

The recent clinical study was conducted by renowned Mexico neurologist, Dr. Carlos G. Aguirre-Velazquez. Mexico’s advancements in medical cannabis made international headlines this summer after when the State of Mexico announced it would provide cannabidiol (CBD) oil to citizens.

The trial utilized THC-free CBD oil product Real Scientific Hemp Oil-X™ (RSHO-X™) by Medical Marijuana, Inc. (OTC: MJNA), the first publicly traded cannabis company in the U.S., which launched subsidiary HempMeds® Mexico this summer.

Dr. Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc. said “We applaud Dr. Aguirre for his work in unveiling, like he did in this study, that not only is CBD effective in relieving seizures, but also exhibiting that CBD can be used over long periods of time without harm, compared to antiepileptic or broad-spectrum steroids that can have dangerous side effects if used for several years, including vision and damage to major organs.”

Patients with varying forms of epilepsy participated in the trial, with the majority having TSC, a genetic disorder characterized by the growth of noncancerous (benign tumors) in many parts of the body, including the brain, which can lead to convulsive crises. TSC affects 1 million people worldwide, 50,000 in the U.S. and 20,000 in Mexico.

Research targeted the reduction in frequency, intensity and duration of convulsive crises in people with tuberous sclerosis complex. Other factors observed in the study were quality of life, dependence on heavy prescription drugs and long-term sustainability of treatment with CBD.

Additionally, quality of life metrics such mood, appetite and cognition saw substantial increases among the patients using CBD. Finally, no serious side effects were reported, only mild ones such as drowsiness and increase in appetite, which eventually disappeared with the need to reduce the dose.

The study concludes that, “The experience of parents and patients with medicinal cannabis (CBD), as reported in our survey, suggests that CBD reduced the frequency, intensity, and duration of convulsive crises secondary to TSC.”

Dr. Aguirre will present his findings to an online audience on Thursday, October 12, 2017 on a live event on the Por Grace Facebook.

This isn’t the first time CBD oil has been proven to reduce seizures. A 2017 study by Dr. Saul Garza Morales, pediatric researcher and neurologist in Mexico, found that 86 percent of the 29 child patients with extreme epilepsy experienced statistically significant (greater than 50%) reduction in motor seizures. Seventeen percent of the children were fully seizure free for a four-month period.

Nearly half of cannabidiol patients stop using traditional medicines according to a recent report on CBD oil user experience by Brightfield Group and HelloMD, who anticipate that the total cannabidiol market will reach $467 million in 2017.

“Each time new study results are published showing the positive effects of CBD on a new indication is a victory for showcasing the therapeutic benefits of CBD and people around the world suffering from a multitude of debilitating conditions,” said Dr. Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc.

Mexico legalized the cultivation, production, and use of cannabis products with less than one percent THC for medical use when President Pena Nieto signed a bill into law on June 19.

HempMeds® Mexico’s zero-THC product RSHO-X™ was the first-ever cannabis product to receive approval from the federal government of Mexico, COFEPRIS, for importation into the country. 

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Cannabis Business Registration: The Delaware Myth

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R.I.P.?

As business and corporate cannabis lawyers, we have registered and structured a large and ever-expanding number of pot businesses up and down the west coast. Most of these businesses are corporations or LLCs, and most of the time, these businesses are incorporated in the state where they will obtain a license to trade in marijuana. Occasionally, though, someone will come to us with a company shell they have registered in a state like Delaware, South Dakota or Wyoming, or they will insist on incorporating their cannabis business there. The question becomes whether foreign registration is worthwhile? Most of the time, the answer turns out to be “no.”

As a preliminary matter, it is important to note that registering a cannabis business in a far-off state cannot insulate the owners from legal liability for violations of the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). That is true regardless of whether one is building out an LLC or a corporation, regardless of the tax election made, and regardless of whether the new business is nested within a holding company. The federal government is well within its rights to bring a claim against business owners and seize assets under the CSA, and company domestication or paperwork cannot serve as a shield.

Still, people have a fondness for foreign companies, and for Delaware companies in particular. People will say things like “half of all public companies are registered there,” or “my other company is a Delaware company,” or “Delaware has no state income tax.” Most of the time, none of these are great reasons to register a cannabis company in that state. This is because nearly all cannabis companies are small, privately held businesses that receive no tax benefits and no meaningful liability protection by registering in Delaware, or anywhere out-of-state.

Large, publicly traded companies, on the other hand, may prefer Delaware registration for various reasons, including: 1) Delaware law protects directors and officers from derivative liability (to shareholders and non-managing members); 2) Delaware has a dedicated “Court of Chancery” solely dedicated to corporate law disputes and significant business cases; 3) Delaware has no state corporate income tax; and 4) Delaware’s LLC Act and General Corporation Law are both perceived as cutting-edge, on topics from fiduciary requirements to series LLCs.

New marijuana businesses may see themselves as just a few years away from being large and even publicly traded, and they may hope to grow into the perceived benefits of a Delaware company. But in the short term, their primary goal should be asset protection, avoidance of unnecessary company paperwork, and sound tax strategy. If a privately held company is run correctly, the Delaware statutes are not likely to afford meaningful protection beyond local state statutes in any of these categories. In fact, out-of-state registration may cause complications that produce improper governance, defeating the purpose of out-of-state registration entirely.

As to specific factors that may weigh against a Delaware registration, it should be noted that: 1) filing in Delaware requires payment of Delaware franchise tax; 2) the home state will require “foreign” registration of the Delaware entity, often at fees that are double or triple that for a native company; 3) in addition to dual registration, both the home state and Delaware will require ongoing reporting; and 4) formation of the company out-of-state has no impact on where the owners pay income tax. If the company is operating in Oregon, for example, all of the activity will be taxable there.

None of this is to say that Delaware, Wyoming, South Dakota, or any other state are never worth a look when it comes to forming a cannabis company. A founder may have access to venture capital that insists on seeing a Delaware C-corp, or perhaps she is motivated to keep her name off formation documents at all costs, given the status of federal law. (Delaware allows this; certain states do not.) The bottom line is that forming a cannabis company, like any new venture, brings numerous considerations. But it’s important to actually consider them, not just default to Delaware.

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The Dabaratus Is Revolutionizing How People Dab

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The Dabaratus by Bakked is a one-click apparatus for dabbing that is quickly revolutionizing concentrates in the marijuana industry. Each click delivers a clean, consistent dose of Bakked’s high-potency marijuana oil, a concentrated distillate.

The distillate incorporates the entire cannabinoid spectrum and also reintroduces same-strain, same-batch terpenes to provide amazing flavor.

Bakked’s marijuana oil is produced from high-quality marijuana. The raw material is processed through a supercritical, closed-loop, organic CO2 extraction system that ensures a safe and pure product. Next, the oil is triple-refined with low heat to preserve the naturally occurring terpenes.

The Dabaratus makes dabbing an easy, clean and convenient process. After dabbing, consumers can simply reattach the cap to the Dabaratus and store or transport their oil anywhere.

Features:

  • Contains 1 gram of pure, high-potency marijuana distillate (up to 90% potency)
  • Heat-resistant metal tip is ideal for dabbing
  • Consistent dosing at the push of a button
  • Each Dabaratus is available as strains (indicas, sativas, hybrids)
  • The Dabaratus is also available in CBD-only varieties

Currently, Bakked’s products are only available in a few states, but soon they will be available in more.

Dabaratus

Photos: Bakked