On July 2, 2019 Patent number US PP30,639 P2 was awarded to Charlotte’s Web Holding (CWB) in Denver, CO. This marks the first patent given to a cannabis cultivar. The name of their strain is CW2A.
CW2A is resistant to cold and falls below the threshold to distinguish it as hemp. Industrial hemp must have less than 0.3% THC. CW2A only contains 0.27% THC and up to 6.24% CBD. This designation makes the strain legal to grow under the 2018 farm bill. Since the use of industrial hemp for CBD production is new, most existing strains were bred for hemp seeds, hempseed oil, or hemp fiber. These general strains only yield 3% CBD by dry weight.
According to the filing paperwork:
“CW2A is a selection resulting from controlled-crosses using hemp germplasm from different regions of the United States. The primary goal of the breeding program was to develop a new hemp variety with high cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) concentrations in its mature female flowers. Of the females tracing back to the original cross, the healthiest and most vigorous individual that showed no monoecious tendencies without stress manipulation was chosen to be CW2A.”
CWB was issued a plant patent for CW2A. This is different from a utility patent, which has a broader reach. The legal protection only applies to competitors growing the same cultivar from a clone. CWB may have filed a utility patent as well, which would apply to competitors using their seeds too. With utility patents, the information isn’t made public until 18 months after filing.
Still, the ability to claim a unique product will help grow CWB in an already saturated market full of generic products. They have a leg up on the competition in the race to bring a nationally recognized brand to consumers. As the cannabis products industry continues to boom, the pull of a recognizable brand backed by a patented product could be enough to win against their competition.