The Steep Hill GenKit: Helping Growers Classify, Document & Safeguard Cannabis Varietals

With big business interests beginning to crowd the industry’s sidelines, many artisan cannabis cultivators are becoming concerned about keeping their unique genetics and intellectual property secure. Steep Hill Labs — an industry leader in cannabis biotechnology, research, and analysis — has a tool that can help: the Steep Hill GenKit gives breeders the ability to properly document their strain’s genetics.

At its core, the GenKit is a grower-friendly tool designed to streamline the early stages of a cannabis plant’s grow cycle. With the GenKit, Steep Hill can offer the earliest possible identification of male cannabis plants, so growers aren’t wasting time on plants that ultimately won’t produce flower — or that might even sabotage their entire harvest. According to the company, the male identification test is 99% percent accurate and only a cross contamination could result in a legitimate error.

The GenKit also offers insights into a strain’s CBD makeup, helping to identify CBD-rich varietals before they reach their flowering stage.

“Using a tiny snippet of a leaf sample, the GenKit allows our team to identify male and CBD-rich seedlings in a matter of days,” said Matthew Cote, Steep Hill’s manager of marketing.

However, the GenKit is more than just a useful tool for determining a seedling’s sex. In fact, the only real method of safeguarding a unique cannabis cultivar is by documenting and recording the scientific makeup of your strain along the way; this will always be the most important preparation when trying to patent your intellectual property. The GenKit ultimately gives cannabis growers the ability to prove that they are the true creators of a certain cultivar.

“The GenKit is any cultivator’s best first step in protecting their intellectual property,” Cote explained. “It’s extra important for people to protect their crop because they might not realize how special it is until it’s too late.”

Each GenKit comes with the ability to test up to eight different strains. The process is simple — Steep Hill requires only a leaf cutting from the plant(s) you wish to sample, and the kit itself comes with eight different sample packets to use. Within days of receiving the sample, the results will be ready. Testing can take between 3-5 business days, potentially more or less depending on the time of year and whether or not the lab is overwhelmed by harvest season.

According to Cote, Steep Hill does not maintain in-depth records for the strains they test, so growers don’t need to worry about compromising the makeup of their most prized genetics.

The GenKit is available for $99 online and in participating grow stores throughout California. However, because the service involves transporting cannabis trimmings by mail, only California growers can currently utilize the GenKit — although Steep Hill Labs has expanded to Washington, New Mexico, Maryland, Alaska, and Hawaii.

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