Photo Credit: Jesse Dodd

Cannabis is in danger of going the way the rest of agriculture has gone: toward monoculture, centralization, and restrictive patenting.

The Open Cannabis Project (OCP) was established by industry leaders to resist these forces and to protect the genetic diversity of the Cannabis plant as well as the economic diversity of the cannabis industry.

The Problem

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has started granting patents on cannabis varieties. Agricultural patents are generally bad for the environment, for farmers, and for the future of crop plants themselves.

For cannabis, they’re a disaster. The first cannabis patents issued by the USPTO are the kind of overly broad patent protection that kills innovation instead of incentivizing it. They’re called utility patents, and they don’t cover single varieties: they cover huge categories of cannabis. Which means that just a handful of such patents could potentially lock up all of cannabis.

What We Can Do

The USPTO can’t legally grant patents that would cover existing varieties – but there has to be proof that they exist. We can block this process by providing this proof: documenting genetic and chemovar data for all of the cannabis varieties in existence today.

As collective evidence of prior art, the OCP database and our curation of public cannabis documentation will help keep cannabis varieties where they belong: in the public domain, free for anyone to breed and grow.

You can help!

We need volunteers, developers, growers, data scientists, lawyers, and laboratories to help us collect data and protect cannabis diversity. Want to help? Here’s how you can:

Sign up for our newsletter and stay in the loop about volunteer and design research opportunities.

•  Make a donation! We are a tiny organization with a big goal. Every dollar helps us get there.

Have other thoughts or ideas? Get in touch.