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What happens if this mysterious company becomes the Monsanto of marijuana?

Medical Marijuana
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Biotech Institute is estimated to hold broad patents on more than half of all cannabis strains on the market.

Michigan continues to wrestle with how to regulate and license medical marijuana dispensaries.

But there’s a potentially bigger issue facing the budding cannabis industry: the prospect that someone is trying to build a national monopoly on legal weed.

As reporter Amanda Chicago Lewis writes in her story for GQ, there are some powerful people trying to turn their company into the “Monsanto of marijuana.”

“Biotech Institute is a company that has really no assets other than these very broad patents on the cannabis plant,” said Lewis.

One marijuana geneticist estimated that the company’s patents cover “one-half to two-thirds of the strains currently on the market." 

The impact of those patents could be substantial. If one company receives a wide-ranging utility patent before its competitors, it could hold major control over the entire industry.

That could result in higher prices and lower genetic diversity.

Listen to the conversation with Lewis above.

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