American chocolate maker The Hershey Co. is suing a Colorado marijuana company claiming its edible products resemble their chocolate bars and could lead to confusion among consumers.
The trademark infringement lawsuit was filed last week at a Denver district court against TinctureBelle LLC and an affiliated company, TinctureBelle Marijuanka- makers of marijuana-infused products sold in legal pot shops and medical dispensaries.
The chocolate maker alleges TinctureBelle's products Ganja Joy, Hasheath, Hashees and Dabby Patty use packaging that mimics Hershey's Almond Joy, Heath, Reese's peanut butter cups and York peppermint candies.
The company also claims that it creates "a genuine safety risk with regard to consumers" who may not distinguish between Hershey's products and marijuana edibles such as cookies and candy bars, confusing customers who may inadvertently eat them.
Colorado became the first US state to legalise cannabis for recreational use in 2012, with commercial sales beginning at the start of the year. State law limits the amount of pot’s active ingredient, THC, in edibles to 10mg per serving with no more than 10 servings in any single package sold.
Last month, Governor John Hickenlooper tightened controls on edible and concentrated forms of marijuana responding to safety issues after two adult deaths possibly linked to such products.
Hershey's is seeking damages and a court order to stop TinctureBelle selling its products.