— You can help! —
Thanks to nearly 80 years of prohibition, cannabis is suffering from a bad case of both misinformation and missing information.
Open cannabis data can fill the information gap.
Through aggregating cannabis lab results, and making this data publicly available, we can start to answer some important legal and scientific questions:
What are the chemical and genetic characteristics of all of the cannabis plants that exist? What does this reveal about the kinds of innovative and distinctive breeding opportunities that have yet to be explored?
What are the differences between varieties with the same name? Just how similar – or different – are 100 or 1000 unique samples of Blue Dream?
What are the differences between data sets from different labs, and how do those results play into the greater world of cannabis data? Are there opportunities for creating data standards?
These questions only begin to scratch the surface of what we might be able to learn this open data set.
Open cannabis data → Evidence of prior art & defensive documentation
One very important reason to create an open data set is to create evidence of prior art, which helps to ensure that patents are not issued on plants that already exist. This need became apparent in 2015, when the first utility patent on a whole category of cannabis plants was issued by the USPTO. The plant described in the claims resembles plants that people had grown before; evidence that could counter the patent has reportedly been rejected because it had not published publicly.
We never want to see this happen again.
This is why creating prior art for cannabis is so important.
The USPTO and other patenting bodies internationally can’t legally grant patents that would cover existing varieties – but there has to be proof that these varieties DO exist. We can block this process by providing this proof: documenting genetic and chemical data for all of the cannabis varieties in existence today.
To ensure our work is viewed by the USPTO, we aim to publish it in a format listed as Prior Art per the Manual of Patent Examination Procedure – such as an academic article, a prior art database, or another technical publication.
If you have ideas for this kind of publication or would like to work together on such a project, please get in touch.