The TPP’s Intellectual Property Standards and Cannabis

Since day one, the licensed producers have looked to get their hands on the genetics of British Columbia‘s cannabis farmers.

The genetics are the made-in-BC strains that give each cannabis plant its unique potency.

Farmers who have spent years developing the strains colloquially known as BC Bud aren’t about to hand it all over to Ottawa’s crony-capitalist cartel.

But the Trans-Pacific Partnership could change all that.

The TPP’s intellectual property standards will empower US pharmaceutical corporations to legally prevent other drug-makers from selling generic medicines that are in competition with their brand-name pharmaceuticals.

The same might be true for cannabis.

In Canada, the LPs are the voice of cannabis regime despite an entire community of growers, trimmers, extractors, dispensary owners, and many others in the BC economy that predate corporate brands like Canopy by decades.

As the government moves to legalize, it will be in the interest of the corporate LPs to provoke conflicts over intellectual property that will result in their favour.

If not Canopy or CanniMed, then maybe some US producers will cry foul over BC’s “illicit” trade, thereby getting genetics that originated in BC patented under the domain of a corporate oligarchy.

Just as with pharmaceutical drugs, where US corporations are using the TPP intellectual property clauses to undermine New Zealand’s manufacturing of cheap-generic pharmaceuticals, it’s not unreasonable to expect large cannabis corporations to undermine the small-time entrepreneurs of the BC Bud economy.

And for many, cannabis without its potency isn’t worth consuming.

For years, British Columbia farmers have provided consumers and patients with the best possible strains. These genetics are what make the BC Bud economy unique.

Justin Trudeau could give everyone a “positive right” to grow as much as they want and without state-regulatory oversight. He could do this tomorrow.

But if all the cannabis strains have been patented by large multinational corporations, then what exactly are you growing?

Why would a legal cannabis market be different from, say, the agricultural sector, where family farms are disappearing and corporate farms are increasing their share of arable land. Where farmers pay rents for patented-seeds and are bound by the intellectual property laws surrounding these patents.

With cannabis legalization shaping up to benefit a few at the expense of many, how long will it be until BC’s genetics are captured by the LPs or a foreign competitor?

And once these strains are trademarked, patented and copyrighted – do you really think you’ll have a right to grow them?

In today’s world, where the power-elite call the TPP “free trade” and their media lapdogs don’t question them on it, it’s not unreasonable to assume that those who write the rules will put themselves at a competitive advantage.