Flowers, Gummies & An IP Lawyer’s Impressions of MJBizCon | Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Despite legal uncertainty (e.g., laws that have passed multiple times but never come into effect), a multitude of brilliant entrepreneurs, industrialists, investment professionals, and service providers have consciously and conscientiously advanced the interests of the US cannabis industry.

MJBizCon and CannaVest West are a positive testament – the breadth, depth and sophistication of the cannabis-related products, services and innovations on display was truly overwhelming.

About the events

MJBizCon showcased thousands of square feet and hundreds of products, services, innovations and infrastructure related to the booming US cannabis industry. Entrepreneurs and innovators displayed impressive products related to plant cultivation, extract manufacturing and processing, and a variety of consumables, from extracted terpenes to chocolate and gummies to ointments and lotions. Industrial companies showcased scalable lighting solutions, temperature and humidity control technologies, extraction systems, packaging systems, and artificial intelligence software and cultivation systems, alongside the wide range of capital equipment required to scale operations in the cannabis industry.

At CannaVest West, private investors, fund managers and savvy capitalists offered perspectives on fundraising, business strategy, taxation and accounting, and other business implications in this space. Service providers including accountants, attorneys, investment bankers and consultants have been able to highlight the sophisticated support services available to the cannabis industry.

IP Lawyer’s Takeaways

As an intellectual property (IP) advocate, I was pleased to see that at least some of the many assets used in the burgeoning industry are protected by IP protection mechanisms, but there is so much more work to be done to kickstart this industry To be on par with other progressive industries that rely on intellectual property to protect innovation and provide commercial advantage. Perceived restrictions on obtaining patents and trademarks in the cannabis industry are no excuse.

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As with other sophisticated industries in the US, there are many intellectual property implications for the cannabis industry. From trademarks to design patents to utility patent protection, it’s important to be aware of the protections available. And the need and ability to protect innovation as the cannabis industry continues to advance can/will increasingly provide value and competitive advantage. As has been the case in virtually all industries, IP protection represents commercial and technological innovation and advancement and will differentiate players in the market. Getting to know and comfortable with an IP attorney should be on every gamer’s to-do list.

Regardless of the lack of action by Congress, the “invisible hand” (of Adam Smith’s economic doctrine) has been and is vigorously at work creating entrepreneurs and inventors and leading sophisticated capitalists and capital into a robust cannabis industry here in the US. Opportunities and innovations must be protected in this rapidly growing industry.