Portland’s Willamette Week dives into the controversy which has enveloped cannabis biotech company, Phylos and led the non-profit Open Cannabis Project to dissolve. The incident is being described as a loss of innocence for Oregon’s tight knit cannabisindustry.

  • The short version: For years, Phylos solicited cannabis genetics from growers as a way to combat patent trolls. The growers now feel betrayed after video surfaced of Phylos CEO Mowgli Holmes (Ph.D telling investors the information it had collected would enable it to develop genetically superior plants.
  • “It would be impossible for anyone else to collect this dataset at this point,” Holmes told the investors in February. “We are fully integrated in the cannabis industry. We have more trust in the cannabis industry than any other science company.”
  • The piece determines that the information Phylos collected is not necessarily of great value. Nonetheless the incident has stirred up a great deal of bitterness.
  • Holmes says it’s a misunderstanding. “People we love and support…Think we’re evil all of a sudden.”
  • “Is [cannabis] like every other trade?” asked Nathan Howard of East Fork Cultivars which severed its business with Phylos. “Or is this actually something special? There is a big pot of money, and some shitty decisions are being made right now about the soul of Oregon cannabis.”
  • “I will never be as easily taken advantage of again by a business partner,” says Jeremy Plumb, a prominent figure in Portland’s industry who spoke at a WeedWeek event in February.
  • In High Times, a former Phylos employee described Phylos’ “script” to growers: “We are not out to steal your work. We are here to help you protect it, to prove prior art. We’re a different type of cannabis company. We fucking hate Monsanto.”
  • Phylos, has raised $14M from venture capitalists, and will likely be able to survive.