What’s in a name? Ask Nutritional High, the Toronto-based company that wants to take the Jimi Hendrix brand and tie it to a new line of edible marijuana products that it has big plans to market. But that name may not come easy. Nutritional High inked its edible marijuana branding deal with Purple Haze Properties. Purple Haze, which currently operates under the consent of Jimi Hendrix’s brother Leon, believe they have full rights to sign over the Jimi Hendrix brand to Nutritional High for the purposes of marketing one of their latest edible marijuana lines set to include a variety of goodies including gummy bears, health drinks, and other assorted candies and treats. However, Experience Hendrix, the organization managing Jimi Hendrix’s musical licensing as well as copyrights and trademarks, argues that Nutritional High has overstepped its legal boundaries.
Nutritional High has fired back that its deal with Purple Haze not only allows it to use Jimi Hendrix’s name and likeness in its edible marijuana product line, but also for marketing accessories and clothing. While they have yet to elaborate on those accessories, Nutritional High has described in a recent press release specific plans for their edible marijuana line which will be dubbed the “Edibles Experience” and feature two distinct sub-banners; the “Purple Haze” line which will feature THC-based edibles and the “Stone Free” line which will include CBD-based edibles. Though Nutritional High is a Canadian company, they plan to market their Hendrix-influenced edible marijuana products in the U.S. states that have legalized marijuana as well as Canada.
Without a will in his name, Jimi Hendrix left years of bitter legal battles in the wake of his death in 1970. Experience Hendrix and Purple Haze Productions have mostly existed in a gentle balance until this recent upset with Nutritional High. However, the late superstar’s estate is no stranger to branding disputes. In 2009, Hendrix Electric Vodka was yanked from store shelves due to trademark violations. The duo on the losing end of this legal dispute was Leon Hendrix and Andrew Pitsicalis, the current CEO of Purple Haze. Despite the past, Purple Haze and Nutritional High remain optimistic that they retain the rights to market the Edibles Experience product line without legal recourse. Experience Hendrix have voiced their disapproval over tying Jimi Hendrix’s brand to edible marijuana but have yet to officially file a lawsuit. However, Nutritional High remain confident that if challenged, they can successfully show that Experience Hendrix’s rights don’t extend beyond Hendrix’s music, citing that song titles such as “Purple Haze” and “Stone Free” are not copyrights in themselves.
Nutritional High have not only stirred up the Hendrix Estate with their edible marijuana marketing plans. They’ve made arrangements to manufacture a line of hard blue edibles based on the colorful crystal meth produced in the acclaimed AMC drama Breaking Bad
. Trademarks have yet to be finalized on the novelty edible marijuana candies, dubbed “Breaking Bud”, so it remains to be seen whether Nutritional High will actually be able to cash in on the branding.