Last year, the candy industry leader sent cease and desist letters to several canna-businesses, accusing them of ripping off their popular products to market cannabis edibles. Good Girl Cannabis Co., an edible maker in northern California, and Oakland-based dispensary Harborside both received legal notices from the candy maker last year.
Last April, Harborside received a cease and desist letter demanding that they stop selling Jolly Meds edibles due to their resemblance to Jolly Ranchers. The confectionery giant demanded a $20,000 payout from the dispensary, but Harborside was not the manufacturer of these products, only a retailer. “Hershey’s came on strong,” Henry Wykowski, the dispensary’s attorney, said to NBC Philadelphia. ” Harborside filed a countersuit, and Hershey’s eventually backed down. Jolly Meds changed their product and company name to J:Meds last year.
These lawsuits are not Hershey’s first attempt to block unwelcome imitations of its branding. According to the suit, the cooperative was selling products like “Reefer’s Peanut Butter Cups” and “Mr. Dankbar,” which spoofed the popular Reese’s and Mr. Goodbar names and packaging. Hershey’s representatives accused these edible makers of besmirching their reputation, but also brought up concerns that children might accidentally ingest these cannabis products, thinking that they were real candy.
Canna-businesses that have received cease and desist letters from the chocolate giant shouldn’t take it too personally as Hershey’s lawyers have always been especially litigious. Html” target=” blank”> sued a West Virginia company named Reese’s Nursery and Landscaping for allegedly trying to cash in on their famous Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
California attorney Amanda Conley, who represented a canna-business sued by Hershey’s back in 2014, advises edible makers who might be considering a cute spoof of a popular product to think twice. “You have so much money to spend right now on compliance and other issues, the last thing you need to be doing is having a fight with Hershey’s.