Current issues worldwide on the Cannabis business
January 07 2020

The growing Cannabis business is not being matched by worldwide regulation. Governments seem reluctant to issue comprehensive or consistent rules for the industry. Unlike in other commercial areas, there is a lack of consensus, and this may hinder industry growth.  

Cultural views and traditional perspectives, which see Cannabis in any way as a devilish industry, get manifested in political leaders’ opinions and official positions. The financial entities, with a few exceptions, refuse to provide the industry with services. 

Black market and licensed legal products coexist, which makes it difficult for consumers and authorities to rely on legal outcomes. Cannabis remains appealing for substance abuse users while also an alternative for medically approved products. It is like having a fatal attraction at the same time as a vocational inclination to do good, both driven by the same product.

Regulations need to account for coexistence and differing market positions.  With governments needing to encourage legality, rules are acting as barriers, thereby increasing costs associated with legal compliance. 

Intellectual Property is the silver lining. Most Intellectual Property offices have understood this is the moment of protecting innovation in the Cannabis market. Clients are encouraged to protect their trademarks, methods, and inventions in general at this point. There are no legality issues anymore. Even in the US, the USPTO is allowing registration, and elsewhere, registration is not an obstacle. The tobacco industry is getting ahead, and they may end up changing their products completely.

The enforceability of the contract keeps being a different matter. Depending on the applicable law, you may find your contract void or not. When considering licensing, clients are encouraged to review possible outcomes and enforceability. Just because it’s legal does not mean you may not end up in a situation where you would need to return any royalties charged.


By: J. Felipe Acosta