Trademark Dispute Leads Lagunitas to Drop “420” Marijuana Reference from Beer Labels

Lagunitas to drop marijuana reference at behest of Atlanta brewer.

Beer, beer, glorious beer -- now free and clear of any hazy references to marijuana.

Thanks to a trademark dispute.

Petaluma-based Lagunitas Brewing is dropping use of the term "420" -- the very well-known slang term for marijuana use -- from its labels after an Atlanta brewery claimed legal ownership of the term, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Freddy Bensch, founder of Atlanta-based Sweetwater Brewing, wrote Lagunitas founder Tony Magee a letter, informing him that the Georgia beermaker's "420" pale ale -- which refers to a long-planned highway segment near Atlanta -- means that he has control of the marijuana-referring numbers, not Lagunitas, the newspaper reported.

Magee, not entirely pleased, went to Twitter to call Bensch a "dweeb" for sending a letter and not calling him directly, the newspaper reported.

There are 78 federal trademarks on the term 420, but none appear to be held by the legendary group of Marin County teenagers called the Waldos -- now all approaching retirement -- who first coined 420 to mean marijuana use, the newspaper reported.

Magee has made no secret of his penchant for and support of marijuana, the newspapr reported. The brewery was famously shut down in 2006 when undercover state liquor control agents witnessed guests at the brewery's open houses smoking marijuana, the newspaper reported. Magee celebrated the incident with a beer brewed to mark the occasion.

Lagunitas used "420" on labels for beer released on April 20th to honor the Waldos, the newspaper reported.

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