What a Looming Patent War Could Mean for the Future of the Marijuana Industry

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“This is your patent system.”

“This is your patent system on drugs.”


“That’s strange; there was supposed to be a difference.”


I’m fine with patenting methods IF and only IF it fits the rules for normal utility patents. IE novel, no prior art, not naturally occurring, and not obvious to someone in the field with the normal and expected skills.

I call out nearly all hybridization as bullshit. Those almost always at best trade secrets anyone could stumble across.

GMO, I’m more comfortable with.

Also the patent application has to be sufficiently detailed to reproduce the Thing. Otherwise it’s not the trade laid out, whereby the applicant gets a limited monopoly and in exchange the public gains access to their knowledge. No playing it both ways like software patents.


Patent for drying of cannabis herb for use in smoking or as ingredient in edible form.



The problem is, in the American patent system its standard practice to patent things that are not novel, has plenty of prior art, is naturally occurring, or is fully obvious to someone in the field with the normal and expected skills. You can overturn such patents - but it’ll cost you a hundred grand.

The Patent Office treats its rules against that sort of thing the same way that Mossack Fonseca treats its rules against assisting tax dodges. (And for the same reason. They make a lot of money registering those dodgy patents.)


You can’t have a patent war before a product is completely legal, man.

Make it happen, now.

I command you, human.

Human to human, we must do this.

I wondered what would be the thing to bring together civil disobedience and black markets to take on patent exclusivity. Ding ding ding.


It should be noted that this patent claims a specific variety of cannabis plant produced by hybridization, not the general concept of producing hybrid cannabis. There’s plenty of prior art on the latter, and even if there wasn’t, producing new varieties by hybridization is such a well-known practice in horticulture that applying the practice to any type of plant would almost certainly be seen as obvious, at least in my opinion as a research analyst who studies patents.

What does it mean for their marijuana industry?

Obviously, there will be an explosion of innovation as inventors flock to the field, now that they can be assured that they will receive recompense for their work.



In America (sic), new varieties of plants, produced either through traditional breeding or as genetically modified organisms (GMO), can be considered intellectual property just like music, art, books, software, and architectural design — a fact that has allowed Monsanto to sue farmers for planting patented seeds that weren’t purchased from licensed vendors.

It is not clear to me why this would suddenly be any more of a pressing issue with cannabis, as compared to thousands of other plants people breed. I can see people getting away with trademarks here, but not patents.

I am quite skeptical of this. Patent law is a huge racket, for doing something which can be easily researched without much effort. How much does it cost in administrative fees when one doesn’t hire attorneys?

It’s a concern because a lot of us like good, legal weed and the prices where I shop are already about 3 times as expensive as I’d pay on the street. But the legal system produces a consistent, unadulterated product that’s good.

And patenting,under the US system would likely only serve to hurt the market, reduce competition and incentivize inferior products.

Legal weed is still an intensely high risk business in spite of the profitability, and I don’t see people risking even more with patent issues.


I agree - but that only works so long as people take the patents seriously.

That, and I think more poor people should stick out patent fights on their own rather than pay into the lawyer racket that created the problem. Don’t settle because some gits expect it will take six figures to fight a flimsy case! And many of these cases are terribly flimsy - but they bet upon people being intimidated by the supposed costs of representation. People of lesser means who have stronger cases need to call those bluffs.


That is something I wouldn’t expect. It indicates a way for someone to make a lot of profit. Not a free market?

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Pot Tax in WA is 37%. So over a third of the price, the other third is for the privilege of actually knowing what you’re getting. I very easily could get a green card, and shop the medical dispensaries and pick up weed significantly cheaper. But I have no real maladies that science supports weed as a treatment for. For instance I have significantly elevated intraocular pressure, borderline glaucoma. But the actual science shows other drugs are far more effective treatment than pot. All this to say, I can’t stand gaming the healthcare system, even if it’s a permissive system. I’m too honest.


yup. If’n I want to hybridise some marijuana, I just a male and a female of two different species together, switch the timer to 12/12, and plant sexytimes ensues shortly thereafter. That can’t be patentable.

All taxation of raw cannabis is a disgrace. We don’t tax tomatoes or lettuce, we don’t tax botanical herbs, and we don’t tax prescription drugs. Why should a 100% safe medicine that can help to ameliorate literally hundreds of conditions be taxed (other than ignorance and greed)?

If you have occasional stress, occasional pains, occasional anxiety, occasional depression, occasional creative blocks…then you have a “real malady that science supports marijuana as treatment for”…to the extent that the science exists (cannabis science having been deliberately and maliciously suppressed for decades).

A 37% tax is a crime against all citizens. An argument can be made that much use is medicinal, and that a tax on cannabis is a tax on sick and suffering patients. Cannabis is so safe and so useful for so many conditions that we should immediately institute tax breaks to incentivize everyone to grow their own!

@xeni: How do you feel about having to pay taxes on this valuable natural herb?


Patenting of plants creeps me out. Cannabis belongs to everyone but the land grab from corporate interests is firmly underway.

Open source your research for the betterment of humanity!

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Economic chokepoint. A lot of people consider marijuana smoking a vice, so it becomes very easy to extract revenue from that market with taxes. And honestly, I’d be fine with funding the state through marijuana tax. It’s not food, like tomatoes and herbs, it’s a fun drug, like liquor and cigarettes, even if it is an order of magnitude healthier than those.