CEO Tripp Keber, of Dixie Elixir, Thursday, May 24, 2012, runs the Denver-based medical marijuana company that produces medicated and non-medicated food items, beverages and salves. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)
A composite image shows the two styles of MED-a-mint packaging. (The Denver Post)
A Longmont-based maker of marijuana-infused mints said Friday it is filing a trademark infringement lawsuit against Denver edibles company Dixie Elixirs.
Bridge Marketing alleges in the suit that Dixie Elixirs recklessly packaged “MED-a-Mints” in a manner that makes them look like candy.
The lawsuit claims that Dixie Elixirs failed to use Bridge’s trademarked design for packages of the mint-like lozenges that contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
“Edible marijuana is not candy,” said Gary Gabrel, MED-a-Mints’ inventor and managing partner of Bridge Marketing. “And yet Dixie Elixirs has acted with reckless disregard to business ethics and consumer safety by removing our clear and conservative labeling, and by refusing to offer the product in childproof packaging that we have repeatedly recommended.”
Denver-based medical marijuana company, Dixie Elixir, Thursday, May 24, 2012, that produces medicated and non-medicated food items, beverages and salves. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)
The suit also alleges that Dixie Elixirs has failed to make monthly royalty payments in a timely manner.
Dixie Elixirs is a major supplier of cannabis-infused edible products and beverages to medical marijuana dispensaries and retail stores.
A Dixie Elixirs executive termed the suit “frivolous” and said written evidence exists that Bridge Marketing was happy with the mints’ packaging after Dixie changed it earlier this year.
Gabrel “was very complimentary in his praise after the repackaging,” said Chuck Smith, chief operating officer of Dixie Elixirs. “Gary was a willing participant in those discussions” that led to the repackaging, Smith said.
The legal dispute is unfolding in the wake of two high-profile deaths that may have connections to edible marijuana. In one case, a Denver man is believed to have purchased THC-infused candies and may have consumed them just prior to allegedly shooting his wife to death. In the other case, a college student jumped to his death from a Denver hotel balcony after eating six times the recommended dose of a marijuana cookie.
Dixie Elixirs stopped distributing the mints after Bridge terminated the licensing agreement March 31, even though the product still was displayed on Dixie’s website as recently as this week. Smith said Dixie has “every intention to come up with an even better product and introduce it under the Dixie brand.”
Bridge and Dixie in 2012 entered into a deal in which Bridge granted a license to Dixie to sell MED-a-Mints to retail outlets in Colorado.
The suit alleges that the original “conspicuous and responsible packaging” for the mints was changed in a way that promoted the Dixie Elixirs brand more prominently than the MED-a-Mints name, while also removing the word “cannabis” from the label.
“There is no other information to warn consumers of the presence of cannabis,” the suit said. “Rather, the packaging is suggestive of any other designer mint that consumers would purchase at Whole Foods or Starbucks.”
However, archived photographs of the MED-a-Mints new packaging do show THC printed on the front label.
Smith said Dixie Elixirs may file a defamation countersuit against Bridge Marketing.
Steve Raabe: 303-954-1948, [email protected] or twitter.com/steveraabedp
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service — if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.