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Grant supports the first-ever coalition of state universities, nonprofits, and researchers to conduct a community-driven two-year study of legacy cannabis genetics. LeafWorks will lead the genetic analysis to characterize and promote protection of community-held legacy cultivars.

LeafWorks Inc. joins the first state-funded multidisciplinary coalition across the California cannabis industry to research the genetics of legacy cannabis and provide a comprehensive picture of the impacts of legacy cultivation, policy and criminalization on the cannabis community. In the study titled ‒Legacy Cannabis Genetics: People and Their Plants, a Community-Driven Study– awarded $2.7M by the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), the coalition will identify, document, and help preserve the history, value, and diversity of California’s legacy cannabis genetics and the communities that steward them. The research awardees include Principal Investigator Dr. Dominic Corva, Sociology professor and Cannabis Studies Program Director at California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt; Co-Principal Investigator Genine Coleman, Executive Director of California nonprofit public policy and research institute Origins Council; Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Eleanor Kuntz, Co-founder of Canndor, the world’s first cannabis herbarium, and Co-founder and CEO of LeafWorks, a genomics and plant science company, Co-Principal Investigator DR. Rachel F. Giraudo, Associate Professor of Anthropology at California State University, Northridge; Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Todd Holmes, historian with the Oral History Center at the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. Research partners include the Canndor Herbarium and the statewide equity advocacy organization Cannabis Equity Policy Council. With California as the hub for the largest, most diverse collection of legacy cannabis in the country, this state grant will be a substantial contributor to characterization and preservation of this important legacy community and germplasm for the industry. Of the 16 California DCC awardees (16% fund rate), this innovative study was the largest award winner, representing over 12% of the entire grant budget.

This community-based participatory research (CBPR) study will be the first such study of its kind, and is intended to establish a replicable research model for documenting legacy genetics in cannabis communities in California and beyond. The grant will be a two-year study that will implement the standard methods and systems used across agriculture to define, document, and legally protect as intellectual property (IP) the individual and collective genetic resources of legacy breeders and legacy cultivation communities. The goals of the grant are to (a) establish community-driven plant cultivar definitions and documentation through herbaria in partnership with the Canndor Herbarium, the world’s first cannabis herbarium, to protect cannabis plant diversity, and to ensure that cannabis cultivation communities are acknowledged for their breeding work and can leverage these resources for their own agricultural futures; (b) to understand the connection between social and genetic history of cannabis plants in legacy cultivation regions; and (c) to develop, evaluate, and refine a methodology that serves as a model for working with legally marginalized and often underserved communities to document and preserve historic cannabis cultivars in California.

Research outputs include:

  • A special herbarium collection of community-held cultivars in the Canndor Herbarium
  • Cannabis genomic and chemical data for important legacy cultivars
  • Oral histories and ethnographic interviews of the legacy community
  • Educational webinars and publications on methods and tools for intellectual property protection for legacy genetics
  • Research-based public policy recommendations based on impacts of criminalization and regulation on cannabis community
  • Research-based, community-driven consensus on the definitions of legacy cannabis cultivars

‒LeafWorks is proud to be part of this groundbreaking study documenting legacy cannabis genetics in California. It is exciting to see a community-led, multidisciplinary approach to understanding and documenting the immense amount of plant variation the legacy cannabis community has created. We believe strongly that protecting the plants and the people that steward them is critical for the survival of both and that this study is a first major step toward advancing that cause.–

– Eleanor Kuntz, PhD, CEO of LeafWorks.

 

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