Food & Drink | May 23, 2021 5:41 pm

Packaging Prompts Candy Manufacturers to Face Off Against Cannabis Companies

A lawsuit taps into a number of heated debates

Cannabis
Cannabis packaging has opened a few legal battles lately.
Jeff W/Unsplash

Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company does not, in fact, make a line of Skittles infused with THC. And yet if you do a search for, say, the phrase “weed Skittles,” you’re liable to find something that looks to be exactly that — a shrink-wrapped package with a Skittles logo and a whole lot of marijuana leaves in the background. You might not think that this is an officially licensed product, but you also might wonder if the makers of actual Skittles take umbrage to the riff on their packaging.

Answer: they absolutely do, and they’ve brought their lawyers with them. Earlier this month, Wrigley filed lawsuits in Chicago and California accusing multiple companies of trademark infringement.

Writing in The New York Times, Valeriya Safronova took a deeper look at the underlying issues here. “Though the suit focuses on intellectual property rights,” Safronova writes, “the plaintiffs also argue that the copycat products could lead people, particularly children, to mistakenly ingest drugs.” And Wrigley is far from the only company to file such a lawsuit — the article points out that marijuana-themed riffs on the likes of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Sour Patch Kids have also prompted lawsuits.

The article points out that Wrigley’s lawsuit brings up a number of issues around the world of legal cannabis, from whether warning labels for kids are necessary to what the appropriate way of packing edibles is. As more states legalize recreational cannabis, however, this issue is unlikely to dwindle any time soon.