Patent protection in the cannabis industry can be confusing, at best, given the dichotomy between federal prohibition and state legalization, and the Trump administration’s renewed interest implementing federal enforcement mechanisms against cannabis at the state level. Industry players interested in patenting their cannabis strains and/or cannabis-related products may not be sure about how and whether patent protection extends to cannabis. For clarity, let’s explore some of the basics of patent protection as it pertains to cannabis and cannabis-related products.
Patent Protection for Cannabis and Cannabis-Related Products
At the federal level, cannabis is categorized as a Schedule I drug that has no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Still, despite the fact that the federal government and its agencies do not necessarily accept the value — both medicinal and otherwise — of cannabis, patent protection has been extended to various applicants for cannabis strains, growth/breeding processes, and cannabis-related products.