Cannabis Brand Facing Steep Fines Over Cartoon Mermaid Logo

Maine officials say that the mermaid logo used by South Portland-based SeaWeed Co. violates a state law that prohibits cannabis packaging or labeling from depicting humans or animals or any images that might “reasonably” appeal to someone under the age of 21, the Portland Press Herald reports.

Scott Howard, owner of SeaWeed, said the logo emphasizes the company’s roots and harkens to the state’s seaside. The Office of Marijuana Policy contends that the logo depicts both a human and animal and it “is generally known that mermaids are featured in a number of stories, movies, toys, costumes and other popular culture items and marketing aimed at young children and teenagers, and so images of mermaids have inherent and particular appeal to individuals under 21 years of age.”

During an October inspection, Vernon Malloch, compliance director for the Office of Marijuana Policy, noted that the logo ran afoul of the rules and said all of the products with the logo would be placed on an administrative hold but officials reached an agreement with SeaWeed to allow them to continue sales of products with the logo “for a short period of time.”

Regulators ultimately denied the request to use the logo and now Howard faces a $10,000 fine and an order to “immediately halt” use of the mermaid logo, which is already in use on the company’s merchandise. Howard argues that the rules are “vague and open to interpretation.”

The state Attorney General’s office told the Press Herald that the case is currently the only one pertaining to cannabis industry violations of labeling or advertising.

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