Change can seem fitful, if not absent entirely, particularly in light of recent events, but it's still doing its work in society — not always quickly, and often not in the areas in which it's most needed, but things do change. Take cannabis: once the scourge of parents and authority figures everywhere, it's now not only legal in a ever-expanding number of states and localities, it's a big business, generating millions in tax revenue for the governments that have been at the leading edge of the legalization movement. For those that grew up with the D.A.R.E. program and other anti-drug messaging, it's astounding to see how pot has been recast from an insidious poison to a reputable industry in many areas.
Cannabis has become so legitimate, in fact, that its purveyors are getting in on the intellectual property side of the business. Chris Roberts at Forbes reports on the efforts of Charlotte's Web, a Colorado-based CBD and hemp company, to patent a second strain of cannabis plant along with its production and cultivation processes; this, after the company was awarded the first patent for a hemp strain back in 2018.
The purpose of the patent may be less about protecting its methods and more about goosing interest among investors. Roberts reports that Charlotte's Web has hit a lull as a publicly-traded entity and that another patent is as much a publicity tool as a protection against infringement, although the company is no stranger to the latter; Roberts also details the ongoing trademark case Charlotte's Web is pursuing against another CBD maker marketing products under the "Charlotte's Web" name.
While the PR benefits aren't explicitly part of the bargain when filing a patent, than ancillary benefits are both legitimate and important. Patents and other intellectual property protections speak as much to responsibility as creativity, demonstrating to investors that the company is built upon solid ground. One can wonder at how those efforts may play out for a cannabis company, given how new the industry is, but the methods have a tried-and-true track record. More than anything, it remains striking to see the cannabis industry engage in the quotidian business of patents and stock prices and everything that goes into running a company with storefronts beyond the 7-Eleven parking lot. Fortunately, some things change, and future generations may look back at past periods of prohibition as benighted times.