Washington state has issued its first-ever research-specific cannabis license to Verda Bio, a Seattle pharmaceutical company, according to a story in The Stranger.
The more common producer license does not technically allow breeding of cannabis in the interests of developing new strains or doing research. If a producer were to grow plants just to study them, or attempt to keep the seeds, it would be illegal — anything that is not sold must be destroyed.
Verda Bio aims to develop new strains of cannabis that contain uncommon and largely unstudied cannabinoids. Recent research revealed that there are 21 or more cannabinoids that have not been formally identified, even in commercial cannabis strains.
“The first year of the project is going to focus on breeding plants that produce chemicals outside of THC. … We don’t believe that the plants that we want to do research on exist yet.” — Jessica Tonani, CEO of Verda Bio
Washington created the new research-class license in 2016. A written review of projects and scope of future research must be done for any company applying for the license. Verda Bio is the first company to navigate that process, having spent the last two years working through the approval process.
No one else has applied yet for the license.
“I think universities are still pretty scared about federal repercussion about partnering with people in what is perceived to be a federally illegal system. But we are hoping that changes,” Tonani said.