In the Courtroom: FDA Confiscates CBD Edibles at Arizona Smoke Shop

FDA Confiscates CBD Edibles at Arizona Smoke Shop

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials caught Arizona smoke shop Neverlow Glass Gallery off guard last Thursday when they seized several cannabidiol (CBD) products without providing a warrant, according to the Phoenix New Times.

The Arizona newspaper reported last week that the administration took “eight chocolate bars, 14 packs of gummies, and 23 K-cups.” Agents did not leave records and told shop owner David Murray it would be in touch in “seven to 10 business days” or they would return the products. According to Murray, agents told him CBD products were not “for human consumption” and that edibles needed to be labeled “as a pet product.”

The gummies were produced by companies CBD Living Water and Relax. The chocolate bars and coffee K-Cups were produced by Arizona-based Hempful Farms. In the article, Hempful Farms owner Chris Martin said on the same day three “jarhead-looking guys” entered his shop and asked questions about whether the products were for consumption, suggesting they may have been attempting to bait his employees to say the products were edible.

Reached by BevNET, Martin said there has been no correspondence with the FDA since Thursday and that he has retained lawyers to move forward with a lawsuit if the products are not returned.

“We were obviously surprised at first, given the Farm Bill passing,” Martin said, referring to the passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 last month which legalized industrial hemp. “We thought it would lighten the load on these regulation, but instead it’s been the opposite.”

On the day of the Farm Bill’s passage, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb released a statement saying that although hemp is now legal, the administration still reserves the right to regulate cannabis and CBD products.

Martin said he feels the bill favors large corporations, while small independent companies like his are being targeted.

“[The Farm Bill] sounded to me like it was a corporate takeover,” Martin told BevNET. “It’s all pretty suspect.”

Jammin Java Loses Appeal Against Bob Marley Family, Must Pay $2.4M

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered yesterday that coffee brand Jammin Java must pay $2.4 million to the family of reggae music icon Bob Marley, dismissing an appeal from the company that had previously produced the Marley Coffee brand.

In 2012, Colorado-based Jammin Java entered a 15-year trademark agreement with the Marley family — operating through its companies Hope Road and 56 Hope Road Music — to produce and market the Marley Coffee brand. However, Hope Road terminated the agreement in 2016, citing a breach of contract and alleging Jammin Java failed to make royalty payments and did not provide required quarterly and annual statements. In August 2016, Jammin Java filed suit against Hope Road and its former chairman Rohan Marley, the son of Bob Marley.

Jammin Java also continued using the Marley Coffee brand name until January 2017, an infringement that in June 2017 led the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to rule in favor of the Marley family.

According to the appeals court ruling, Jammin Java argued the court ordered it to pay damages “without first finding willful infringement” of trademark. However, the appeals court found that proving willful infringement was not necessary for cases where the plaintiff is seeking the defendant’s profits “as a measure of [its] own damage[s].”

“Here, the record demonstrates, and the district court correctly found, that Jammin Java’s unauthorized use of the Marley Coffee trademarks precluded Hope Road’s use of the same marks during the infringing period,” the ruling from the appeals court stated. “Moreover, Jammin Java failed to submit any evidence of costs or deductions associated with the trademarks, as it was required to do if it sought an offset against the amount of profits awarded.”

Marley Coffee is a separate entity from Marley Beverage Company, which markets a variety of ready-to-drink products featuring the singer’s likeness emblazoned on their labels. The company merged with Colorado-based New Age Beverages in 2016.

Monster Lead Counsel Removed in Bang Energy Suit

Monster Energy lead counsel Marc P. Miles and the law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon were dismissed in November in the beverage company’s lawsuit against Bang Energy maker Vital Pharmaceuticals (VPX) on grounds that Miles had previously represented VPX in a 2008 lawsuit involving the two companies.

According to documents filed by the United States District Court of the Central District of California, Monster — then operating as Hansen Beverage Company — sued VPX in 2008 alleging the company was engaging in false advertising and trade libel to boost sales of its Redline energy drink products. Although Bang, the brand at the center of this current lawsuit, did not exist at the time, the court ruled “the present lawsuit thus involve the same parties, the same subject matter, and the same legal claims.”

Miles briefly worked on VPX’s defense for about two weeks while working as a partner at law firm Callahan & Blaine. According to the court documents, Miles performed roughly 13.35 hours of work on the case, including speaking with VPX’s then-general counsel Erica Stump on three occasions during which they discussed litigation and settlement strategies and “confidential policies, practices, and procedures” for VPX’s products, including testing and clinical research.

Miles denied that he ever received any confidential information on the company.

In a press release, VPX CEO Jack Owoc praised the decision and expressed confidence that VPX would ultimately win the case, calling Monster’s suit a “pathetic and frivolous action.”

“This is far from over! Monster is ill prepared to compete with Bang Energy’s explosive trend-setting innovations and world class, paradigm-shifting marketing,” Owoc said in the release. “Bang ‘Moved the Cheese’ and Monster cannot find it. Bang ‘Zigged’ when Monster was ‘Zagging,’ leaving the feckless energy drink giant ‘Dazed and Confused.'”

Shortly after the dismissal, on December 10 the court again granted a motion by VPX, citing attorney-client privilege in agreeing to seal private VPX billing records filed by Monster to defend against Miles’ dismissal.