Hershey sues Colorado company over look-a-like marijuana edibles

Rows of Hershey candy bars are seen inside the Hershey Store in New York, June 17, 2008. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

DENVER (Reuters) - Hershey Co has sued a Colorado maker of marijuana edibles, saying the packaging of its products is too similar to those made by the Pennsylvania-based chocolate and candy company.

The trademark infringement lawsuit, filed this week in the U.S. District Court in Denver, says the Ganja Joy bars made by TinctureBelle LLC and TinctureBelle Marijuanka LLC too closely resemble Almond Joy produced by Hershey.

It also says three other marijuana edibles - Hasheath, Hashees and Dabby Patty - are knock-offs of Hershey’s Heath, Reese’s peanut butter cups and York peppermint patty candies.

In addition to trademark infringement, the lawsuit said TinctureBelle’s behavior “also creates a genuine safety risk with regard to consumers, including children, who may not distinguish between Hershey’s candy products and defendants’ cannabis” and might eat the marijuana edibles by mistake.

It was not immediately possible to contact TinctureBelle for comment on Friday. A website in their name was out of action.

Voters in Colorado approved a landmark ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana for adults in 2012.

Last month, Governor John Hickenlooper tightened controls on edible and concentrated forms of marijuana as concerns mount about safety issues over pot-infused goodies after two adult deaths possibly linked to such products.

Among the steps taken was the creation of a task force to design packaging for marijuana edibles such as cookies and candy that makes them easily distinguishable from regular foods.

Reporting by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Paul Tait