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Goodbye, OCP ❤

Today is the day that Open Cannabis Project (OCP) officially closes. Many thanks again to everyone who has supported us up to this point.

Here’s what’s to expect with our remaining bits and pieces:

  • Our website — opencannabisproject.org — will remain live until our current hosting fee runs out in the fall. It’s also been archived at the Internet Archive. Our homepage has been updated to reflect our status, where to find data, and more resources. For those of you who were interested in seeing videos from our last workshop, they’re hosted there too.
  • The database will remain live on PythonAnywhere:http://ocpdb.pythonanywhere.com/. No, there is no API. Perhaps a clever developer is interested in scraping it and making one. #justsaying O ur developer is still finishing his documentation for the NCBI API, and we’ll post it when it’s ready.
  • OCP’s social media accounts will remain live but (mostly) inactive. Given the surge in interest in our work since announcing our closure, I may use these platforms to get the word out about new projects and ideas that spring up from ongoing conversations. I am, however, planning on taking over OCP’s mailing list as a primary way of reaching people who want to get involved. If you do, please sign up here. If you are on our mailing list and do not wish to get these messages, please unsubscribe anytime. Y’all know I’m not gonna spam you.

Speaking of upcoming things — many people have asked if a new project or organization is rising up from our ashes. The answer is…maybe 🙂 There are definitely lots of conversations happening and some exciting possibilities afoot.

As a first step, though — before we start any new organizations or project — it is imperative that we take a moment, as a community, to reflect on what we’ve learned from this experience and to define and codify our ethics. This kind of assessment is a critical step if we are to effectively organize ourselves and build the infrastructure our community needs. If you have any questions or want to get involved in developing this statement and code of conduct — which will absolutely have a public review and comment period — please sign up here. My goal is to complete this project by Seattle HempFest 2019 (Aug. 16–18), giving us much of the summer to work on this and go through a proper review process.

As we figure this out, I also invite all breeders and growers and community members and activists to take these surveys, which cover topics like open source, licensing, ownership, genetic data, and chemical data. They were close to being released when we announced our closure earlier this month. A lot of work went into them — many thanks to the volunteers who contributed! It seems a shame for those efforts to go to waste — particularly at a time when we could use this kind of data to help paint a picture of this community, along with its needs around these topics. The raw data from these surveys will not be shared, and they collect no personally identifiable information. Results — crunched numbers, graphs — are available to participants at the end. When there are enough respondents to be significant (hopefully 100–200 people), I will share the results publicly. Again, sign up here if you are interested in staying in the loop.

In the meantime, I will be using this summer as an opportunity to return to my work as a freelance writer. Notably, I’ve been tasked with producing a report on the Green New Deal + Cannabis for Project CBD. I am honored to get to highlight some amazing projects from throughout the cannabis community and to hopefully create a dialogue with our country’s leadership about why they need to pay attention to cannabis and to create policies that actually support us — not just big businesses and interest groups. If you know of a project or policy that would be a good fit for a report, please drop me a line and let me know.

This summer will also be a time of rest, as the timing of this fallout with the death of my mother has left me rather raw and wounded. If I am going take part in leading any new organizations or grassroots efforts, as many are looking to me to do, I must allow myself the opportunity to heal so that I can do that work with the kind of groundedness, fierceness, fairness, love, and compassion that I aspire to represent. Love and healing and compassion are all big part of what Cannabis is all about, and yet it has been missing from all sides of the discussion, including mine.

This is something I’d like to speak to, along with pushing for accountability and setting boundaries against hostility and death threats. As these thoughts are my own, independent of OCP, and because I’ve already run out of time on our last day of operations, those will have to be for another post.

In the meantime, it’s Friday! Go smoke a joint (or nibble an edible or sip on your vape) and tell someone you love them. That’s really what this whole thing is all about. May we remember that as we move into this new era — yes, we have to be smart and draw boundaries. And yes, we must continue to fight for love.

June 2, 2019 — this post has been updated to reflect that I will be taking over OCP’s old mailing list and using it as a primary mode of communication to get the word out about upcoming projects

Today is the day that Open Cannabis Project (OCP) officially closes. Many thanks again to everyone who has supported us up to this point. Speaking of upcoming things — many people have asked if a new…

Member Spotlight: Phylos Bioscience

This month, NCIA highlights Phylos Bioscience based in Portland, Oregon. Co-founder and CEO Mowgli Holmes is a molecular and evolutionary biologist and was a National Research Service Award Fellow from Columbia University. He is a founding board member of the Cannabis Safety Institute and the Open Cannabis Project, and is Chair of the Oregon State Cannabis Research Task Force.

Phylos Bioscience

Member Since:
May 2015

Business Category:
Analytical Testing Laboratory

Tell me a bit about your background and why you launched your company?

In 2013, the industry was just starting to blow up, but it had basically zero science. There was a really clear need for a company focused on studying the cannabis genome — one that would be able to make genetic tools available to the industry.

But I think it just so happened that I was one of the very few scientists at the time who was between jobs, and had a background in genetics, roots in Oregon, and an unashamed enthusiasm for weed. I was the right mix of New York and Oregon at the right time. Or the right mix of geneticist and hippie.

Most scientists are still too freaked out by cannabis to dive in. Isn’t that silly?

What unique value does your company offer to the cannabis industry?

Our team of scientists has the expertise to leverage genomic data into products and technology that growers really need. But what’s most unique about Phylos is that we have a genomic database of different cannabis varieties that is significantly larger than any other. It took years to collect it, and it took the help of the American Museum of Natural History, as well as a huge amount of trust-building in the industry. This database is the foundation of everything we do, and it would be very hard for anyone else to recreate anything like it.

Cannabis companies have a unique responsibility to shape this growing industry to be socially responsible and advocate for it to be treated fairly. How does your company help work toward that goal for the greater good of the cannabis industry?

We actually do a ton of “activist” stuff. We started a nonprofit to drive rational safety testing guidelines (Cannabis Safety Institute). We started another one to block big corporations from patenting cannabis varieties (Open Cannabis Project). And for more than a year I hung around the state capital constantly, helping to write the laws and rules that structure the Oregon industry, and serving as the Chair of the Oregon State Cannabis Research Task Force. We drafted laws that helped small growers, and laws that supported cannabis research, and we wrote the study that led to Oregon’s strict pesticide testing rules.

In general we’ve just let ourselves get dragged into this very politicized industry, and tried to fight for the idea that legalization should mean that the people who started this industry should be legalized, not replaced.

What kind of challenges do you face in the industry and what solutions would you like to see?

We’re lucky because we’ve always found ways to do our work while still staying federally legal. So obviously the whole industry needs banking, 280E relief, protection from the federal government, etc. But Phylos doesn’t directly need any of that — we just need it because we want the industry to be strong and sustainable. The biggest problem for us is the lack of research, and the federal government’s continuing unwillingness to make real cannabis research possible. And actually that’s one thing that could be fixed easily if there was just the will to do it in D.C.

Why did you join NCIA? What’s the best part about being a member?

Well, the conferences are some of the best out there. And there’s a real sense that instead of them just being another commercial conference, they’re actually run by an organization that is fighting for the industry, and taking on the hard challenges of federal lobbying and so on. I’m also on the NCIA Scientific Advisory Committee, and it’s great to see the commitment throughout the organization to working for things (like reasonable testing regulations) that the whole industry needs in order to function.

Member Spotlight: Phylos Bioscience This month, NCIA highlights Phylos Bioscience based in Portland, Oregon. Co-founder and CEO Mowgli Holmes is a molecular and evolutionary biologist and was a