Thursday, November 8, 2007

Tobacco Companies Trademark Marijuana Names

National Lampoon, May 1970, p. 37.

The Gall Street Journal

[Douglas Kenney's parody of The Wall Street Journal contains this short item.]

What's News

Business and Finance

The cigarette industry denied that its trademark applications for the names "Acapulco Gold," "Panama Red," and "Vietnamese Green," all commonly used terminology for marijuana, in no way indicated an interest in the legalization of the drug. "By claiming the rights to these names," explained a PR representative, "we are simply prohibiting their use by irresponsible parties who may wish to crassly exploit the youth market with this untested and possibly harmful substance." [accessed 8 November 2007]

Acapulco gold

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[...] The popular culture interest in this strain was reinforced by the frequently played and quoted advertising parody performed by comedians Cheech and Chong with the refrain "No stems no seeds that you don't need, Acapulco Gold is (inhale) badass weed." Rumors abounded in the 1970s, perhaps predating this skit, that a major tobacco maker had trademarked the term "Acapulco Gold" and was prepared to sell cannabis under that brand name after the coming legalization. [...]

[The track, "Acapulco Gold Filters," appears on Cheech and Chong's self-titled debut album from 1972.]

Chris Barnett, "Who'd Profit From Legal Marijuana?", Playboy, March 1980, pp. 202, 204.

Pop quiz: What would happen if marijuana were legalized? The usual answer: Tobacco companies would reap a multibillion-dollar harvest. They already have the expertise, the rolling machines, the trademarks, the distribution system -- and they're secretly buying up land, just waiting for the big day.

If that's what you think, you flunk. Although the black-market marijuana industry is probably half as big as the tobacco industry (bigger than that, if you believe the DEA figures), there isn't a shred of evidence that tobacco companies are ready to pounce on pot.

And no hints are to be gleaned from talking with the tobacco companies themselves -- they absolutely refuse to discuss the subject. [...]

Not surprisingly, such silence only fires up the often-repeated rumors that every tobacco company has a secret research-and-development marijuana lab buried somewhere deep in its corporate bowels or in some abandoned missile silo in New Mexico. [...]

[Industry experts] laugh at the one marijuana myth most often bandied about; namely, that tobacco companies have quietly trademarked the choicest brand names -- words like Maui Wowee and Colombian Gold -- that would have a familiar ring to heads and straights alike. It's a legal impossibility, they point out. Under Federal law, you cannot register a trademark for an illegal product. Nor can you reserve a trademark long before the product hits the market place. (Actually, Acapulco Gold has been registered as a legal trademark -- but not by a tobacco company. Charmer Industries of Long Island City, New York, owns the mark for an Acapulco Gold tequila it distributes primarily in the Northeast.)