Here’s the intro from Willamette Weekly – it’s a sad story but one that we’re sure will be repeated
…He told investors he had a head start.
“It would be impossible for anyone else to collect this dataset at this point,” Holmes told the venture capitalists in February. “We are fully integrated in the cannabis industry. We have more trust in the cannabis industry than any other science company.”
Holmes appeared to imply to the Florida investors that Oregon cannabis farmers had handed him the genetic passwords to unlock their secrets and get filthy rich by selling to Big Ag.
Holmes says that is a misunderstanding, because Phylos will not use the data it collected from customers to breed. He also says Phylos won’t compete directly with craft farmers. But to Schechter and now much of the Oregon cannabis community, the pitch undermined every promise he had ever made to growers.
Describing the effects of the video as “shock and anger,” Schechter announced May 6 that she was quitting and the Open Cannabis Project would shut down at the end of the month.
Beth Schechter announced her nonprofit, the Open Cannabis Project, would shutter after she was surprised by a video of Mowgli Holmes pitching investors on his company’s genetic data. (Wesley Lapointe)
Phylos had misled her, and a tight-knit community of growers, Schechter says, by presenting itself as a testing company that would never breed plants.
“No matter what we do as an organization going forward, Open Cannabis Project will never escape this deception,” Schechter said when she announced her nonprofit would close.
The Phylos video reverberated through Oregon’s tightly knit cannabis industry. Not only did the company sacrifice all of its goodwill among small, craft growers, but it took down a nonprofit, cost at least one grow operation $50,000, ended friendships—and may soon result in lawsuits.
“[Phylos] ingratiated themselves in our community as a way to protect genetics that some of us have been developing for years and years,” says Myron Chadowitz, who owns an award-winning cannabis grow called Cannassentials near Eugene, and has given strains to Phylos to be genetically tested.