Yes, you did read that headline correctly.
Last Friday, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission announced that effective immediately, “kid-friendly” strain names will be outlawed in the recreational market.
This regulation comes alongside strict packaging requirements that limit colorful and cartoon-like design.
This new rule comes despite the fact that Oregon recreational cannabis is only sold in very secure facilities 1,000 feet away from schools or parks. Only adults 21 and over may enter Oregon’s recreational shops, where all products must be sold in child-resistant packaging.
The OLCC announced, “The Commissioners and OLCC staff have reviewed a listing of about 500 marijuana strain names and believes the rule would apply to less than 20 strains.” Popular strains such as Girl Scout Cookies, Cinderella 99, Candyland, Grape Ape, Charlotte’s Web, and Skywalker OG were among the strain names officially outlawed by the OLCC.
The OLCC stated in their announcement that the strains themselves are not outlawed, however, the names on the labels must change. But in regards to strain genealogy, Oregon’s new regulation opens the door for chaos in a marketplace that cares deeply for genealogy and lineage.
Since cannabis and alcohol are so frequently compared, despite their drastic differences, it’s worth exploring this issue from the Liquor Control Commission’s point of view. Alcohol is a fatal substance when misused, whether that misuse is by a child or an adult. On the other hand, cannabis has not directly caused one single death. By this logic, alcohol should be treated with the utmost care and safety, since it is capable of causing death. Yet, if you take one look at any liquor store you’ll find colorful, cartoon-like, and kid-friendly flavors all over the shelves. So for some reason, Fluffed Marshmallow Vodka and PB&J Vodka are accepted while a cannabis strain called Death Star is outlawed because of it’s relation to Star Wars.
Now, children accidentally eating their parents’ cannabis-infused gummies or candies is rare but does unfortunately happen. However, I have never heard a single report of a young child finding a jar of weed, opening it, grinding it up, putting it in a bowl, and smoking it.
Even if a child found a jar of weed with Girl Scout Cookies on the label, opened it, and ate the raw buds, the worst thing that would happen is a stomach ache. If this happened with alcohol, that child would need to be rushed to the emergency room to have their stomach pumped to avoid death from alcohol poisoning.
Don’t get me wrong, the argument of protecting children from potentially dangerous substances is completely legitimate — I’m all for child-safety, 100%. But these industries should be treated equally and alcohol needs to be held to the same standard as cannabis.
If you think these naming issues aren’t just “about the kids,” you’re probably right.
These new regulations are suspiciously close to trademark infringement protection — a common topic in the less-than-regulated cannabis world. Since all of these strains were created in an underground culture, thought wasn’t given to the fact that some strains severely impose on international trademarks of colossal corporations like Disney. This small state law could be setting the nation up for something more significant. A nationwide regulated market will not tolerate strains named after trademarked characters such as Cinderella, Dr. Who, and Bruce Banner. But why didn’t the Oregon Liquor Commission call attention to this legitimate issue or trademark infringement? Instead, they focused on an irrational, vague, and a rather hypocritical excuse for banning certain strain names.
And we’ll just leave you with this…