Feds close to granting medical marijuana patent to NY-based research company?

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Update: KannaLife did receive exclusive rights to the US patent on marijuana, but CEO Dean Petkanas told our sister blog Toke of the Town last night that it only applies to a very specific medical condition and that they have no plans to expand their research. "We don't want to be involved in the production, growth or dispensing of marijuana at the retail level," Petkanas said.

For more of Steve Elliot's interview with Petkanas, click over to Toke of the Town.

Original post, 4:28 p.m., Dec. 19: The U.S Department of Health and Human Services is about to give exclusive rights to the government-owned patent on marijuana to a single pharmaceutical company based in New York -- a state that doesn't even recognize medical marijuana as a valid therapy.Think that's unfair, fellow Colorado medical marijuana patient? Well, you've still got a few hours left to write in and tell the government your thoughts.

Since October 2003, the U.S. government has owned the patent on marijuana when used medically as an antioxidant and neuroprotectant. Currently, the NHS is planning to grant exclusive rights for US patent 6,630,507 to KannaLife Sciences, Inc. Michael Elliott, director of Colorado's Medical Marijuana Industry Group, say it's insulting to patients and growers living in medical marijuana states currently being prosecuted under a federal system that doesn't recognize any medical value to the cannabis plant.

"This contemplated grant of an exclusive license to develop and sell cannabinoid based medicines under a patent owned by the federal government shows the incoherence in the federal government's position toward the medicinal value of cannabis," Elliott said. "It's unfortunate that this incoherence has to be determined on the backs of Colorado patients and compliant Colorado businesses."

According to the LinkedIn profile of KannaLife Science's CEO Dean Petkanas, the company's "plan for generating revenue" is to use the patent to create anti-oxidant skin care lotions and "biopharmaceutical" products to treat neuro-degenerative disorders. They also plan on developing a proprietary, automated packaging system for their products.

Others are concerned that the government is ignoring research and treatments currently going on legally in states that do allow medical marijuana. While most in the medical cannabis community would argue that further research into medical cannabis is needed, few would agree that a single company should have exclusive rights to do so. Not only does that put profits back into the $500 billion pharmaceutical industry, but as our friend Steve Elliot over at our sister blog, Toke of the Town, points out in his excellent post on the subject, this could be a way for the federal government to "bulldoze the cottage medical marijuana industry.

Public comment on the possible licensing ends today. Comments need to be submitted in writing and will be accepted through Dec. 19 (today). We take that to mean email as well, so send your thoughts on the matter to:

Betty B. Tong, Ph.D. Senior Licensing and Patenting Manager Office of Technology Transfer National Institutes of Health 6011 Executive Boulevard, Suite 325 Rockville, MD 20852-3804 Email tongb@mail.nih.gov

Telephone (301) 594-6565 (note that NIH will only accept written comments for consideration) Fax (301) 402-0220 Website http://www.ott.nih.gov/contactus/licensing_and_patenting.aspx

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.