Cannabis Watch: Drake is trying to trademark Canada’s pot warning label, and may be in for a fight

Drake wants to trademark the Canadian warning label for weed in the U.S., but he may be in for a fight with his native country.

Through his Dream Crew company, Drake is seeking a trademark application for a red “stop sign” displaying a cannabis leaf and the letters THC, according to a document filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as THC, is a psychoactive component in cannabis.

That image is the same one that Health Canada, the federal agency that oversees the cannabis industry, requires as a warning label on all recreational cannabis products that contain THC. The image included with the trademark filing appears to be an exact replica. Drake intends to use the image for apparel, including suits, shoes and hats, according to the filing.

The trademark is designated in Canada for pharmaceutical products that are classified as “herbs for smoking,” the document says. The trademark application also indicates that “to the best of the signatory’s knowledge,” nobody else has the right to use “the mark in commerce either in identical form or in such near resemblance as to be likely, when used on or in connection with the goods/services of such other persons, to cause confusion or mistake, or to deceive.”

In a statement provided to MarketWatch late Friday, Health Canada asserted its own rights over the image.

“The standardized cannabis symbol is protected by Crown copyright and intended to be used for public health and safety purposes only and not for private commercial means,” Eric Morrissette, chief of media relations for Health Canada, wrote in an email. “It can be an infringement of Crown copyright to reproduce the symbol for commercial purposes without permission to do so from the copyright owner.”

Cannabis Watch: Stay up to date on the cannabis industry with MarketWatch

Drake, whose real name is Aubrey Graham, is one of the most successful rappers in the world, with seven platinum albums and more than 70 platinum singles, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. He is closely associated with his home country of Canada — the first industrialized nation to legalize recreational marijuana — after first receiving notoriety as an actor on the Canadian television series “Degrassi: The Next Generation.”

Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth Corp. CGC, +12.47% WEED, +12.69%  announced earlier this week that it is launching a cannabis wellness company with Drake, and Dream Crew has filed several other trademarks in the U.S. related to cannabis and that partnership. The new company will be called More Life Growth Co., and will be based in Toronto. Financial details were not immediately available, and Canopy said it would release further details in the next several weeks.

A Canopy Growth spokeswoman referred questions about the trademark to Drake’s publicist, who declined to provide a statement.

U.S. shares of Canopy Growth closed up 12.5% Friday at $21.36. Canopy stock has fallen more than 20% this year, as the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ, +4.36%  has fallen 21%. The benchmark S&P 500 index SPX, +0.26%   has gained 23% in 2019.

MarketWatch staff writer Jeremy C. Owens contributed to this article.

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