With more and more states voting to legalize recreational or medicinal marijuana use, the cannabis industry has had to change rapidly. What was once primarily underground and illicit has quickly shifted to mimic other industries in terms of growth, distribution, and more. Among the many areas in which there seems to still be room for change is quality control. With more new growers and distributors of marijuana than ever before, the company Medicinal Genomics is working to create a repository of genomes for cannabis strains in an effort to secure quality control and maintain safety standards for the growing industry. These genomes are being stored on the Bitcoin blockchain, of all places.
Importance of a Name
One of the primary goals of Medicinal Genomics is to standardize the names of various marijuana strains that are either available now or are being developed. In doing so, the company hopes that it will ensure that patients are able to select the specific strains they prefer, and that those patients will then have some assurance of the quality of the product they purchase. It will also help for the future of testing and experimenting with marijuana for medicinal uses, as scientists are better able to track and document strains that are more easily categorized and recognized across the industry.
Intellectual Property Concerns as Well
Another intended benefit of the genome repository is the intellectual property rights of marijuana growers and cannabis breeders. Though the industry is just now burgeoning, it is not hard to imagine an area of legal specialization focusing on cannabis breeds and intellectual property. No doubt growers will want to protect their strains of cannabis as the industry continues to grow, and this may help them to do so.
How is Bitcoin related to what Medicinal Genomics does? Bitcoin, the digital currency that is not affiliated with any central bank. Blockchain is the technology used to track and document Bitcoin transactions. Medicinal Genomics works by collecting genetic material for various cannabis strains from growers around the country. After sequencing those samples, the company digitally compares the genome to a test sample to determine whether it is unique or a match to an existing strain. For those strains that are found to be unique, a random digital fingerprint is created and affiliated in the database. Medicinal Genomics adds the strain to its database and informs the grower. The benefit to the grower is that he or she then has documentation of a particular time in which the strain in question was recognized to be unique. This could potentially be used as proof of the grower’s ownership in legal filings later on and will hopefully help the owner to protect his or her rights.