Crabcakes & Cannabis said it received a “threatening” letter from Hunt Valley, Maryland-based spice company McCormick and Company, stating that the sticker, which had the words “420 BUD,” violated their trademark and threatened to tarnish their reputation.
As a result, Jennifer Culpepper, who founded Crabcakes & Cannabis, told WTOP that the company made the decision to stop selling the sticker instead of fighting it in court.
“It would probably cost me around $300,000 in legal fees,” she said. “So that was basically the impetus to say, ‘Well, I obviously can’t fight this. I can’t afford to fight it.'”
The sticker was designed as a parody to honor the cultural and traditional elements of Maryland, which includes Old Bay seasoning and cannabis, according to Culpepper.
She said that the company will make changes to its parody sticker process to avoid being in the situation with McCormick and Company again.
“One thought we have is to change it a little bit more and maybe do a black and white version and make it not exactly the same, so maybe they won’t have as much of a problem with it,” Culpepper said. “Another thought is that we just don’t include Old Bay in the things that we pay homage to and hope that people understand.”
Culpepper said she’s hopeful that this experience will start a conversation “about the importance of protecting parody and freedom of expression in our society.”