Our Federal Government’s Patent Absurdity | Marijuana

Our Federal Government’s Patent Absurdity


While claiming that marijuana has no medicinal application, our federal government has maintained a patent on marijuana cannabinoids for the last 10 years – while nationwide marijuana arrests continue to soar.

Archaic, confused and out of touch – Uncle Sam is having a hard time keeping his convoluted story straight. Whether the cause is old age or Alzheimer’s…no one can be sure.

Regardless of the reason– October 7, 2013, will mark the 10 year anniversary of one of the more two-faced documents in the sleazy history of U.S. intellectual property law. US patent # 6630507 is almost too hypocritical to believe until you consider its author – the federal government.

Sometime in the late 1990s the United States federal government, which defined cannabis as having “no currently accepted medical use in treatment” decided to take out a patent on medical marijuana. By 2003 it was officially on the books. Titled “cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants,” the research was as explicit as it was comprehensive. Cannabinoids, the organic compounds within the cannabis plant, were found to be useful in the treatment of brain damage resulting from stroke, concussion, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV wasting syndrome, dementia, even Parkinson’s disease. The authors employed all of the evasive techno-jargon they could to confuse the masses – but the medicinal ramifications remained unmistakable.

Noting that “it is an object of this invention to provide a new class of antioxidant drugs that have particular application as neuroprotectants, although they are generally useful in the treatment of many oxidation associated diseases.”

After decades of denouncing marijuana as a gateway drug, what possible motivation could our government have in owning a patent on a “drug” we’ve always assumed it was generally dedicated to eradicating?

If I was conspiracy minded (and I am)…it would be easy to assume this is an all too typical corporate scheme, in which big business conspires with big government to get a financial leg up on the lucrative medical marijuana market. In 2011, as medical marijuana dispensaries were raided by the DOJ, the NIH – office of technology transferred the exclusive license for the commercialization of patent # 66305072 to a New York-based pharmaceutical company. With its prearranged agreement with the federal government in place, Kannalife sciences, Inc., was given the ‘green light’ to utilize the patent grant in the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy, a neurological disease thought to be the byproduct of alcohol-induced liver failure. Regardless – a precedent with a predictable path ahead had been set.

With the scope of the clandestine arrangement so narrowly tailored some believe this suggests that the federal government intends to milk their patent for all it’s worth, slowly selling out to the highest bidder, brokering agreements with multiple deep-pocketed drug companies for their own monetary gain.

Or it just might represent something deeper, wider, and more sinister than your typical Washington palm greasing buffoonery. Maybe patent # 6630507 represents an insurance policy – an escape clause, if you will – for the medical industrial complex should its patients start looking for “greener” pastures. Assuming that medical marijuana will eventually hit critical mass, or enjoy full-fledged federal legalization, authorities could still continue to jail/fine marijuana growers and smokers for violating patent law – thereby perpetuating the current pharmaceutical paradigm and the profits that go along with it.

About Author

My name is Monterey Bud and I was born in Long Beach and raised on the central coast. I surf, dab, burn and write. I'm a husband, a father and a lifelong consumer of connoisseur grade weed. I have been writing about marijuana strains, science, and politics for Marijuana.com since 2012. A Big Sur cultivator from the pre-helicopter days, I'm a big fan of new strains and breaking news. I can be reached on Twitter @MontereyBud