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The Battle for Cannabis Strain Naming Rights

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cannabis strain name battles

We are presently in the wild west era of the semi-legal and fully legal marijuana market. And as it stands, the height of creativity, cleverness, and chaos of cannabis culture is experienced the most on the terrain of strain names. However, as cannabis becomes more popular, there’s now the need to find a modern system of strain naming.

 

Certainly, we all have our favorite cannabis strain – the legendary Northern Lights, classic Sour Diesel, and the graceful White Widow. But the question remains how do people come about these names. To properly answer the question, there’s the need to go back in time to where it all began – the origin of strain naming. With that, we will be able to see how the practice evolved.

 

HISTORY OF STRAIN NAMING

Strain naming began in the 1960s when cannabis growers moved across the globe in search of cannabis with quality genetics in the bid to meet increasing demands. At that time, the strains were primarily named based on their country of origin. Early strains had names like Durban Poison, Columbia Gold, Panama Red, Afghan Kush, and so on.

 

As time went by, various cannabis strains were bred to enhance yield, pest resistance, flavor, and effects. Cannabis growers then creatively named their descendants: some for their effects like Blue Mystic, Blue Dream, and Painkiller XL. Some also for their flavors such as Skunk, Blueberry, and Sour Diesel, and others were named after weed icons, celebrities, and fictional characters like Bruce Banner and Jack Herer.

 

When new strains are bred, the names are often coined to reflect the parent’s name. For instance, the White Berry is a progeny of White Widow and Blueberry. Dr. Who was coined being an offspring of Time Wreck and Mad Scientist and Purple Haze from Haze and Granddaddy Purple.

 

DILEMMAS WITH THE PRESENT NAMING SYSTEM

As explained, breeders make use of various rules when naming cannabis strains, but in truth, the process is somewhat random. While it can be captivating when growers come up with creative names like the ones above, the story changes when growers choose names like Cat Piss, Abusive OG, and Purple Monkey Balls – all strain names.

 

Frankly, even when growers choose quality names, the absence of standard guidelines can cultivate confusion. This can both be deliberate and innocent like when unrelated cannabis strains are bestowed identical names. For instance,  a lot of strains in the 1990s went by the name “Diesel” giving a false impression that the strains were related to Sour Diesel, a very popular strain during that era.

 

Terribly still, no rule is curbing unethical breeders from naming a different strain the same as a valuable or popular one. Considering the surge in the cultivation of cannabis and the breeding of new strains across the globe, a lot of advocates have suggested. That the can is community adopt ala standardize the system of naming.

 

 

FORGING THE PATH TOWARD STANDARDIZED GENETICS

 

Jorge Cervantes is a renowned and well-celebrated cannabis researcher and writer. His debut book titled ‘Indoor Marijuana Horticulture’ was awarded the Gold Benjamin Franklin Award in 2015 and since then has been translated to six different languages. He is a proponent of Phylis Bioscience, a company bases in Oregon that he believes will drive the industry to the next paradigm in regularizing cannabis genetics.

 

Phylos Bioscience is committed to genetics certification for the marijuana supply chain. The company developing an in-depth open-source map to establish genetic relationships between cannabis strains. The firm also carries out genetic testing of cannabis strains, enabling sellers, consumers, and breeders to ascertain the strain they have.

 

According to Cervantes, he’s confident in the works of Phylos Bioscience. The company is gathering every available information from various sources as much as they can and by so doing, they are helping everybody out. Cervantes believes everyone should take part in genome registration.

 

He won’t on to say that identifying and sorting the varieties is vital as, without that, there would be no consistency.

 

AN APPROACH FOR STANDARDIZING STRAIN NAMES

 

Enabling accurate genetic mapping will curb breeders from claiming their strain is something that it isn’t. It could also help establish a standardized naming system. As it stands, Phylos’ galaxy map has pointed to a way forward. Phylos suggests that shared genetic markers of related cannabis strains should be used to name each strain.

 

But could this revolutionize the current naming system? Will breeders have their strain sequences before they can add ‘Jack’, or ‘Diesel’, or ‘Kush’ in the name? In that case, would copyright law come into effect, playing a bigger role in cannabis naming?

 

Copyright law has already affected cannabis names like GSC which was previously called Girl Scout Cookies. The breeders behind the strain were compeled to change the name with the Girl Scouts of America issuing legal threats. We can now think of a situation where traders get to trademark their names and then sell the rights to use such names. This is only a small nudge forward as regards breeders copyrighting strain names.

 

The possibilities are truly endless. Another scenario would be genetic labs assigning names to cannabis strains themselves based on complete standardized testing. Genetic lans can then send notes back to breeders notifying them of the strain they’ve bred. For example “Congratulations! The strain sample suggests you’ve cultivated Blue Kush 20-D”. Sure this would take the fun out of naming cannabis but it sure leads to adequate consumer protection.

 

But that’s not the end of it as further questions are still left unanswered: what body would enforce this standardization? Would it be the government or the industry itself?

 

 

Conclusion

It’s now clear that the cannabis industry needs to come up with a solution as soon as possible. Otherwise, the industry would be exposed to plenty of lawsuits in situations when genetic testing turns out to be wrong. If that happens, the government could be forced to step in and anyone familiar with lawmakers’ debates on cannabis knows the result might not be favorable. To this end, the cannabis industry needs to act now and find a clear standardized naming system.

 

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