by John Vibes, The Free Thought Project:
A group of scientists is using blockchain technology to stop Monsanto from patenting cannabis strains.
As The Free Thought Project reported last week, blockchain startups have been offering interesting solutions for the cannabis industry, which is facing strict regulations from the government, as well as constant take-over attempts by large corporations.
One major concern of cannabis advocates is the possibility of large biotech corporations like Monsanto patenting seeds or even DNA for different strains. A creative solution to this problem is a sort of cannabis genome project, in which researchers use technology that gathers the genetic information of the plant. Medical Genomics, the group behind the project, is publishing all of their results at Kannapedia.com using their StrainSEEK Identification and Registration service.
Medicinal Genomics is a 15-person start-up best known for first sequencing the cannabis genome and open sourcing its genome as a scientific charity to the world.
According to their website:
“Kannapedia will provide the identity, heritage, and chemistry of the cannabis and hemp plants that have been tested using the StrainSEEK service. For the first time, growers, consumers, patients, and clinicians will be able to identify the exact strain and key characteristics of the cannabis and hemp they are purchasing, enabling confidence in the quality and reliability of the product.“
In addition to protecting strains of cannabis from corporate patent trolls, this registry will provide vital information to customers so they can finally know exactly what they are getting. Despite the fact that most dispensaries attempt to provide information about their products, that information isn’t always reliable and it isn’t easy for a customer to actually verify the quality of their purchase.
Kevin McKernan, Cheif Scientific Officer of Medical Genomics, said in a recent proposal to Dash that he wants to integrate his research with blockchain technology.
“Some jurisdictions are discussing mandating DNA fingerprinting of mother plants to enhance the seed to sale tracking system while IBM is publishing whitepapers encouraging the cannabis industry to adopt blockchains. We have also published our own whitepaper on the importance of genomic information in any Cannabis Blockchain and the enhanced utility delivered with DNA fingerprints. A barcoding system based on genetics offers maximal scientific utility to the grower and user community compared to the present RFID tag via arbitrary number barcoding systems,” McKernan said.
Medical Genomics and its partner organizations are now a part of the Dash network and will be integrating all of the information on Kannapedia over to the Dash blockchain and it is all being funded by Dash.