Actor and social activist Sacha Baron Cohen has brought forward a legal case against cannabis company Solar Therapeutics for using his image in an advertising campaign.
Court documents, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, reveal that Cohen is taking legal action against the company for wilful copyright infringement, false advertising and violation of the Massachusetts statute against misappropriation of rights publicly after the company used his character’s image and catchphrase “It’s Nice” on a commercial billboard.
The document claims that Solar Therapeutics knowingly misappropriated the image to increase revenue, noting the company “took a gamble” by thinking that Baron Cohen would not see the advert.
Baron Cohen is “highly protective of his image and persona, and those of his characters” and has never taken part in advertising any commercial products in the US or the UK, despite having ample opportunity to do so, having once turned down a $4m deal to advertise a car.
The document further highlights that Baron Cohen does not believe cannabis is a healthy choice, pointing out that one of his characters Ali G, from TV series Da Ali G Show, “made a mockery of stoner culture”. Additionally, it states that Baron Cohen is an observant Jew born into an Orthodox Jewish family, and does not want to be embroiled in the Jewish debate on whether cannabis can be used under Jewish traditions, customs and rules.
The document goes on to note that people in the US are still being imprisoned for the sale of the products that Solar Therapeutics is advertising, and that the Biden Administration recently terminated White House staff members for once using cannabis.
Baron Cohen is seeking market value compensation, statutory treble damages, and punitive and other damages, which is estimated at a value of $9m. He is seeking the compensation for both himself and his company PYCT, which is the owner of all applicable copyright and other intellectual property interests in the Borat character.
Solar Therapeutics have not responded to a request for comment at the time of publishing.
MediPahrm completes cannabis extract delivery to Germany’s Vayamed
MediPharm has announced another GMP cannabis extract delivery to Germany.
MediPharm Labs has completed its medical cannabis extract to German-based Vayamed.
The company says the export is a key milestone in its goal of leveraging its pharmaceutical GMP licenses to increase consistent international medical sales. The extract has been shipped to Vayamed from the Company’s GMP facility located in Victoria, Australia.
Warren Everitt, CEO Asia Pacific, MediPharm Labs, commented: “As a pharmaceutical company specialising in precision-based cannabinoids MediPharm Labs continues to execute on delivering to its international partners.
“Making the deliveries to a leading company like Vayamed shows not only the demand for our quality products but the ability to navigate the complex regulations of international medical cannabis trade.
“It further demonstrates the value provided by our Australian business, which is already becoming a key asset for the Company as it continues to ship GMP product to a growing international market.”
“MediPharm Labs convinced us with a high level of product competence and a company philosophy that fits perfectly to our portfolio strategy and with the brand vision of Vayamed: Medicine from Nature – customised for patients,” added Thimo Schmitt-Lord, director of market development and sector innovation at Vayamed.
MediPharm said that it will be completing additional deliveries to Vayamed under the strategic partnership agreement, assisting them in providing more access to medical cannabis for German medical patients.
ASTM launches new international cannabis subcommittee
The subcommittee will be aimed at supporting the exchange of information in the global industry.
ASTM International’s cannabis committee has launched a new subcommittee in order to ‘facilitate dialogue’ in the global industry.
The subcommittee will be aimed at supporting the exchange of cannabis information and knowledge between global policymakers, regulators, scientists, and the general public.
Recently, at the request of the US Senate, the cannabis committee’s executive subcommittee provided public comment on the proposed Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.
The subcommittee shared key information on ASTM International’s cannabis efforts, including, the history and scope of the cannabis committee, definitions of cannabis terms and published standards related to cannabis facilities.
ASTM International is a not-for-profit, international standards organisation that develops voluntary consensus standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services.
In 2017, it formed the ASTM Committee D37 on Cannabis with a group of industry leaders, to begin developing international standards for cannabis.
“With a patchwork of regulations across state, federal, and international levels, this subcommittee will be valuable to industry and government stakeholders as a means to collaborate,” commented David Vaillencourt, current chair of the new government liaison subcommittee.
“It’s really going to facilitate dialogue that will be key as we look ahead to a global marketplace in the coming years.”
Economic sovereignty for indigenous farmers through cannabis cultivation
The NACA has signed three groundbreaking agreements which support the use of tribal farmland for cannabis cultivation.
The Native American Cannabis Alliance has signed three groundbreaking agreements that aim to support the use of 500,000 acres of tribal farmland for cannabis cultivation in a move that the Alliance says will provide economic sovereignty to indigenous farmers.
Native American Cannabis Alliance (NACA), a joint venture of Tim Houseberg, the executive director of Cherokee Nation-based Native Health Matters Foundation, and Everscore, the first direct-to-consumer marketplace for THC and CBD products, has signed three memorandums of understanding (MoU) with indigenous farmers from tribes such as Mohawk Nation, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Nations.
These agreements will support the use of tribal farmland for cannabis farming with agricultural services, the development of manufacturing campuses to process cannabis grown the land, workforce development, and access to offtake agreements by brands selling on the Everscore online marketplace.
Houseberg commented: “Our people come from a rich heritage of cultivation and the cannabis industry provides an historical opportunity for First Nations to work together to shape the future of the industry and provide sovereignty to our communities.
“Through NACA, indigenous farmers will be known worldwide for their quality products by brands and consumers alike.”
“The cannabis industry is experiencing explosive growth and is expected to be a $100 billion-dollar industry by 2030, but the opportunity is not shared equally,” said Jeffrey Sampson, CEO and Founder of Everscore.
“We use modern technology to bridge the fragmented supply chain and create a more collaborative, sustainable ecosystem while benefitting indigenous communities. Brands selling on Everscore will now have a one-stop option for high-quality supply built on transparency.”
Nathan Hart, Secretary of Agriculture, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, added: “The core of our agriculture operations is the health of our soils.
“We believe in a relationship where we take care of the soils, healthy soils produce healthy vegetation which produces healthy products for human consumption. We desire that our hemp programme be involved in educating others from the producers, to the processors, to the end consumers. This system of reciprocity is a core value we greatly respect.”
“As many of our traditions, cultivation has been passed down from generation to generation,” said Roger Jock, representative of the Mohawk Bear Clan people. “NACA is operated in the spirit of the tribal alliances formed hundreds of years ago with the benefit of modern technology.
“We invite our fellow tribes to explore joining NACA to activate the next generation of indigenous farmers and secure sovereignty for all.”
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