Cannabis consumption in 2019 looks very different depending on where you’re standing. It’s hard to overstate the gap between walking into a sleek chain dispensary to browse branded, optimized products and hopping into your plug’s car for a $50 eighth of whatever, or between worry-free consumption and the looming threat of legal trouble.
But, maybe more importantly, it’s clear that cannabis consumption also looks very different because it’s 2019. Thanks to years of activist work and the always-reliable systematic thirst for the Next Big Moneymaker, U.S. cannabis prohibition is in greater jeopardy than it has been in decades. If everything continues according to trend, recreational legalization could be a nationwide reality in the not-too-distant future anyway. Fingers crossed we make it there before the global water wars kick off.
This week’s pot news deals with shifts in perspective on the legal and illicit side of things.
Sour Patch Kids Sue ‘Stoney Patch Kids’
Despite the fact that nobody over the age of 13 has ever purchased their product without the assistance of cannabis, the Sour Patch Kids makers over at Mondelez Canada, Inc. have filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Stoney Patch, a company currently selling edibles clearly modeled after their non-infused namesake.
This isn’t the first time a candy company has sued a cannabis company over a jokey homage — Hershey’s has brought several lawsuits against people selling “Reefer’s Cups” and “Mr. Dankbar,” cases that were settled out of court per Canna Law Blog. And earlier this year, the United Postal Service (UPS) filed a similar suit against the people behind United Pot Smokers. Given this precedent, it’s hard to imagine Stoney Patch coming out on top.
I’m of two minds on this case. On the one hand, this feels like kind of a petty battle to pick. Sure, there are the ever-present concerns about kids in search of a sugar fix accidentally eating edibles, but at the end of the day it feels more likely that Mondelez is concerned about parody products tarnishing their image — or even cutting into their profits.
But on the other hand, this pun is so corny that I kind of want to sue Stoney Patch too.
Court Rules Marijuana Smell Not Enough to Justify Search
In a (rare) positive policing update, the Court of Appeals in Maryland ruled 7-0 that police officers are not allowed to use the smell of cannabis alone to justify a search — in contrast to previous rulings in other states like Kansas.
The ruling stemmed from a 2016 case where, according to The Hill, a man was charged with cocaine possession after police searched his vehicle upon sight and smell of a “marijuana cigarette.” The crux of the argument rested on the fact that officers admitted they knew the joint was less than 10 grams — and possessing 10 grams of cannabis or less in Maryland was decriminalized back in 2014.
According to the ruling, “[in] the post-decriminalization era, the mere odor of marijuana coupled with possession of what is clearly less than engrams of marijuana, absent other circumstances, does not grant officers probable cause to effectuate an arrest and conduct a search incident thereto.”
Translation? In states where small-time possession isn’t illegal, the sniff test isn’t sufficient. Talk about a breath of fresh air!
TELL US, do you ever smell weed in public?