The Oregon non-profit Open Cannabis Project is dissolving itself following a controversy involving for-profit partner Phylos. Open Cannabis Project spun off from Phylos as part of an effort to prevent companies from cornering the market on intellectual property related to cannabis genetics.
Since 2014 Phylos has solicited genomic data from growers, who understood it would not be used for breeding programs. In April, Phylos announced a program to breed newer and better strains of cannabis.
Phylos CEO Mowgli Holmes told Willamette Week the data it had collected from growers wouldn’t be important to the program. But Cannabis Now found a video from February in which Holmes bragged that the collected data would lead to the “next generation of plants.”
Open Cannabis Project director Beth Schechter wrote on Medium:
“Our story has been a key part of shaping [Phylos’] public image as altruistic and science-loving protectors of the cultivation community. We’ve been called a fraud, a scam and a cover for some kind of secret plot. At first, we thought it was simply a technical misunderstanding of the subject matter. Now we know that there is truth to some of these fears.”