The stars might be aligning for the cannabis industry in 2021. Five more U.S. states legalized marijuana in the November election (bringing the total to 15), the new administration is perceived to be friendlier to the industry and in recognition of marijuana’s therapeutic benefits, the United Nations recently reclassified cannabis, moving it off of its list of dangerous drugs.
Financial experts are widely predicting a coming cannabis boom, fueled by growing legal markets, industry investments in research and development (and resultant tech advances) and in intellectual property.
Baystreet.ca, a Canadian investor news publication, says the epicenter of the coming cannabis boom will be California, but that the greatest financial success in the expected surge will be in patents, permits and licenses.
Baystreet.ca highlights Juva, a California company aiming to capitalize on a “science of cannabis” approach spread across R&D in cultivation, manufacturing and retail – all undertaken to develop marketable intellectual property. The company is also pinning hopes on a designer-styled boutique retail operation under construction in Hayward, about 15 miles south of Oakland.
As in other agribusinesses, companies that develop and patent popular plants stand to profit in several ways, including retail sales, licensing or by selling the patent.
The National Law Review reports that as of 2019, only three cannabis plant patents had been granted in the U.S., though there have been thousands of cannabis-related utility patent applications. In 2020, an additional nine patents were issued for cannabis plants, bringing the total to-date to twelve. The utility applications include methods of growing plants, extracting oils and vaporizing plants, as well as compositions of creams, lozenges, powders and food products.
Inventors, investors, entrepreneurs and many others will have their eyes on the skies to see if stars line up for a 2021 cannabis boom accompanied by a surge in marijuana-related IP.