Tim Blake, founder of the Emerald Cup cannabis competition, smells a sample of his Berry White strain of marijuana in a drying room at his farm. Image: Ramin Rahimian, Special to the Chronicle

While a Silicon Valley company can legally protect its most valuable technology with federal patents, cannabis companies cannot secure their core products as long as the federal government continues to classify marijuana as an illegal drug on par with heroin — one with “no accepted medical use.”

Tim Blake has grown marijuana for 41 years in Northern California, becoming a major figure in the industry as a grower, activist and founder of the 12-year-old Emerald Cup cannabis competition.

But no matter how popular the winning strains of marijuana are at next month’s Emerald Cup or at his Mendocino farm, there is little that can be done to secure their value as intellectual property.

And that’s a major challenge for the booming, multi-billion-dollar weed business.

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Joe Garofoli ~ San Francisco Chronicle ~

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