Imperial Tobacco threatens CC with lawsuit

Cannabis Culture received a lawsuit threat from Imperial Tobacco Canada this March, in reference to an illustration accompanying the article Radioactive Tobacco (CC#35). The illustration was of a pack of cigarettes with a resemblance to a pack of Player’s cigarettes, except that it was called “Chernobyl’s” and had warnings about radioactivity.
Imperial Tobacco owns Player’s, and claims that the illustration is a trademark violation which has “depreciated the goodwill” associated with their products and “deceived the public.” They have demanded that Cannabis Culture recall all copies of the issue and destroy the offending page.

“We’re not going to start ripping pages out of our magazine just because some tobacco giant doesn’t like an article,” said Marc Emery, Cannabis Culture publisher. “They can forget that idea.”

The Imperial Tobacco letter also complains that “the effect of the juxtaposition of the image of our client’s cigarettes and the content of the article suggests that our client’s tobacco products are radioactive.”

“The Radioactive Tobacco article doesn’t just ‘suggest’ the radioactivity of tobacco products,” said Dana Larsen, Cannabis Culture editor. “It contains over 20 footnoted references, most to major scientific journals, showing that smoking cigarettes is without doubt a major source of radiation exposure.”

Cannabis Culture had their lawyers send back a response indicating that they did not feel they had violated Imperial Tobacco’s trademark, and would not comply with their demands.
In late May, days before this issue went to press, Imperial Tobacco responded that they would indeed be launching a lawsuit. We will report on more details as they arise.

? For the original article online: