Ferrara Candy Company, the corporation behind Nerds, filed a lawsuit against state-licensed weed delivery service Tops Cannabis in Los Angeles federal court last week. The lawsuit alleges that Tops has been selling “Medicated Nerds Rope” candies that infringe on the trademarks for its original Nerds Rope. The lawsuit also claims that these infused candies contain 500mg of THC per package, five times California's legal THC limit of 100mg per edibles package.
The lawsuit alleges that Tops Cannabis is trying to "benefit off the goodwill embodied by the Nerds (trademarks) and in doing so are endangering consumers' well-being'' by marketing these knockoff candies, KFI AM640 reports. "Ferrara especially has marketed its Nerds and Nerds Rope candy products to parents as a fun and enjoyable treat for children of all ages. Therefore, Ferrara would never condone or authorize the use of the Nerds marks in connection with products that could be harmful to children.''
The company alleges that children have been sickened by ingesting THC-infused Nerds that they thought were legitimate candy. The court document reportedly does not include evidence of these claims, but this spring, two children in Utah were briefly hospitalized after eating THC-infused Nerds that someone donated to a local food bank.
Tops Cannabis does not actually manufacture the edibles named in the lawsuit, but Ferrara apparently singled them out after learning that they are “a significant seller of unauthorized Medicated Nerds Rope products.'' The candy company claimed that they reached out to Tops directly before resorting to legal action, but were unable to resolve the dispute.
In the lawsuit, Ferrara is asking a federal judge to stop the weed retailer from selling the Medicated Nerds. The suit also demands that the delivery service fork over all profits made from distributing these edibles.
Lookalike Nerds have been causing headaches for Ferrara for years now. Last summer, California cops raided a black market weed operation and seized 500 pounds of illegally-produced “THC Medicated Nerds Rope.” These illicit candies soon began to pop up all across the US, from Massachusetts to New Jersey to Pennsylvania. The federal government issued a public warning about these edibles, and Ferrara was forced to release a statement distancing their products from these counterfeit candies.
Ferrara is not the only company that has sued a weed business for trademark infringement. In 2014, Hershey's sued a Washington dispensary for selling products named “Reefer's Peanut Butter Cups” and “Mr. Dankbar.” And in 2018, the candy conglomerate sued a California edible producer and a dispensary for selling “Jolly Meds” that resembled their own Jolly Ranchers candy.