The Open Cannabis Project (OCP) is a community-led, research-driven non-profit with a simple mission: to defend the richness and diversity of cannabis from overbroad patents.

Decades of careful stewardship and breeding have made cannabis into one of the most varied, interesting and powerful plants in the world. The growing wave of legalization – and the intellectual property competition that comes with it – may have the unintended consequence of narrowing and restricting this diversity.

OCP is building a transparent and open source repository of cannabis data that will one day grow into an archival record of all existing cannabis varieties. This documentation effort is a critical step in ensuring that these plants remain available to all, unrestricted by commercialization or patenting, free for anyone to grow and sell.

This documentation work is just one part of the puzzle that we, as a community, need to solve.

Documenting existing cannabis plants and publishing it as prior art helps to make sure that no more patents get issued that may infringe on plants that exist in the public domain. But there are more questions that the cannabis community needs to answer and address when it comes to protecting genetic diversity and protecting the IP of craft cannabis farmers.

  • What strategies should we employ for preserving and documenting older genetics? Seed libraries? Herbaria? Nurseries? A combination? Could we make a an archival registration system for a network of genetic preservation operations?
  • Are there ethical and effective IP options that both protect new varieties and promote genetic diversity? If these options do not exist, what can we do to create them? Is open source breeding the only option?

If you have answers to these questions or ideas for collaboration and partnership, please get in touch. (We’re looking at you, universities, seed libraries, and herbaria!)

Our Values

Openness & Transparency.

We believe transparent and unrestricted sharing of information is key to protecting cannabis biodiversity. It is our duty to create an open dialogue and to oppose any approach that stifles collaboration or harms biodiversity.

Inclusivity.

We believe a culturally and economically diverse cannabis industry is crucial to ensuring that we unlock the full potential of this unique plant. Humans are NOT a monoculture, and neither is cannabis.

Innovation.

The courage and relentless curiosity of a unique group of people has helped shape our relationship with cannabis today, and we will fight for a legal framework that encourages this spirit of innovation.

Evidence-based practices.

It is necessary to take an informed, scientific approach to studying as many cannabis varieties as possible. We advocate for this approach among scientists, breeders, farmers, patients, and medical professionals.