The Open Cannabis Project is building an archival record of all existing cannabis strains, in order to ensure that they remain forever in the public domain, available to all, and will not be restricted by commercialization or patenting.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has begun granting patents on cannabis varieties. The agency has been granting patents on plants for many decades, and nothing in patent law requires them to consider illegal plants differently. The only thing that can block a plant patent is proof that the plant is not new. Anything that has been public for more than a year cannot be patented. It’s in the public domain, and it belongs to everyone. But for most of today’s cannabis varieties, there is no proof of this.
The patents granted for cannabis are unnecessarily broad and restrictive. They cover much more than individual plants; they cover entire ranges of variation that potentially include thousands of plants. They’re the kind of patents that favor wealthy corporations, encourage destructive lawsuits and kill innovation.
Only if we rapidly build a database of cannabis “prior art” can this process be stopped. Proof of prior art protects existing varieties from any kind of patent, and it makes these broad and dangerous patents hard to obtain, because it stakes out territory that can then no longer be claimed in patent applications.
Terry Gross is a First Amendment lawyer with many years of experience at the intersection of free speech issues and intellectual property law. He is the Chief Legal Advisor to Burning Man, and was the first General Counsel to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Jeremy Plumb is CEO and founder of Newcleus Nurseries, a state of the art cannabis farm practicing leading edge ag tech in harmony with regenerative farming practices. His dispensary, Farma, is widely considered to be among Oregon’s best. He has consulted with cannabis researchers in Israel, is a co-founder of the Cultivation Classic, Oregon’s leading craft cannabis competition, and has advised members of Congress on cannabis policy.
Dale Hunt is a patent attorney with a doctorate in Biology and extensive experience working with the USPTO and the US Plant Variety Protection Office on agricultural intellectual property issues.
Board of Directors
Rick Doblin, PhD
Rick Doblin is the nation’s leading proponent of scientific research into the benefits of Cannabis, and the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his Master’s thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients.
Mowgli Holmes, PhD
Mowgli Holmes is the Chief Scientific Officer of Phylos Bioscience, a biotechnology company studying the Cannabis genome. He is also a founding board member of the Cannabis Safety Institute, and Chair of the Oregon State Cannabis Research Task Force. He received his PhD from the Columbia University Department of Microbiology and Immunology, where he was a National Research Service Award Fellow.
Valerie Corral is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) which is the oldest continuously operating medical marijuana collective in the nation. WAMM was described as “the gold standard for medical marijuana” by a federal judge. Val is California’s leading medical marijuana patient advocate, and was deeply involved in the passage of Prop 215 which legalized medical marijuana use in the state.
Chris Conrad is an author, a museum curator, a court-qualified Cannabis expert witness, and an international authority on cannabis, industrial hemp, and medical marijuana.
Tim Gregory is Chairman of the Advisory Board of Directors for the University of California Botanical Garden. He was one of the earliest scientists at Genentech, and recently retired as Senior Director of the Process Sciences Division there.
Nat Buttrick is an expert cultivator with over a decade of experience in the Cannabis industry from farm to dispensary, and is CEO of Madrone Collective, Inc.
Mcnair Scott is a social justice activist and a key leader of Occupy Wall Street movement. He is the Co-Founder of Mayday Space in Brooklyn, NY, a member of the Riseup.net collective, and the Executive Director of the LEAP Encryption Access Project.
Teri Robnett is Founder and Executive Director of Colorado-based Cannabis Patients Alliance, and is one of the foremost experts on medical marijuana policy in Colorado. She currently sits on Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Scientific Advisory Council and the Marijuana Education Oversight Committee, and has served on four rule-making Working Groups for the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED). She was recognized as 2013’s Most Valuable Advocate by the Cannabis Business Association.
Jorge Cervantes, cannabis cultivation author and YouTube personality, is the nom de plume for George Van Patten. His pioneering work during the last four decades has helped millions around the world grow more and better cannabis.