BY RANDY SANDERS
It could be argued that the success of the Farmer’s Market phenomena — gathering steam across big cities and tiny towns of America — is due to the distaste of Monsanto. Chances are that every grocery store in your area has at least one type of Franken-fuit Monsanto engineered. More and more consumers are finding it most distasteful eating genetically modified food, especially when they have no idea of the disease or medical repercussions that could eventually occur from altering nature. Furthermore, do you really feel that if Monsanto were to discover something horrid — God forbid — with their engineered food, they’d come clean with us in a forthright and timely manner? I thought so. My guess is they’d take the “tobacco road.” That would be same lowly highway the tobacco industry and their lobbyists slithered down when concerns begin to mount that cigarettes caused cancer. How many times have you seen, heard or read about tobacco company PR pros telling us cigarettes were safe? And in some instances, good for us! (see menthol cigarettes good for colds)
Struggling, American Farmers have been dealing with the devil for decades; take for instance Roger, Rodney and Greg Nelson, two North Dakota farmers who Monsanto lawyers have been roughing up, simply because they “saved seed.” Now, certainly I agree that we can square off and take up sides in the debate over: the rights of farmers to grow crops just as they have for centuries vs Monsanto and their hard-earned research dollars; but that’s not what this story is about. I’m not here for the soybean farmer, I’m here to warn the marijuana farmer.
For the past two decades, marijuana has evolved both politically as well as biologically. During the sixties there were really only two strains, crap and Acapulco Gold — above average crap. Back then, marijuana was sold as a lid (a three-fingered baggie) for about $15, a dime bag (two-fingered baggie) for $10 and a nickel bag (one-finger baggie) for five bucks. You used an album cover to separate the seeds form the buds because farming hadn’t advanced to the point where we realized that the female plants is where the THC came from. Ten years later, Hawaiian and Northern California marijuana became the Glenfiddich of reefer. Big, fragrant buds with purple and strawberry hairs, sticky and sweet. Once we sampled those starins, why there was simply no going back. Prices jumped to anywhere from $250 to $400 and ounce and gone was the caveman scaling system of using fingers to weigh out the goods. A dealer now had to invest in a serious professional scale, and 28 grams made up an ounce. If it were during the week and you were short till payday, yet you wanted to get a nice stinky bud to watch the Yankees and Reds World Series game, a mere $15 got you a gram; certainly enough to get you and a couple friends toasty.
As the 80′s and 90′s rolled around, marijuana became very sophisticated. I remember driving up to Humbolt University in Northern California from San Francisco to purchase an ounce of locally grown herb from a few forestry undergraduate students. Purple Haze, Bubblegum, NoCal Stink were just some of the specially crafted strains that local master marijuana farmers had developed, then dutifully surrendered cuttings to other farmers hoping their new strain would propagate and flourish. Perhaps you can see where this article is heading?
Fast forward to the present; with legalization in Washington and Colorado, legalized medical grows in 19 states, decriminalized in 15 others, hundreds if not thousands of strains fully developed and the Monsanto corporation bigger, nastier and greedier than ever.; what could possibly stop Monsanto from gathering up strain after strain and patent for their own bottom line? Nothing. Think of the countless, talented and hard-working marijuana master farmers over the years who have painstakingly spent their time, energy and knowledge developing Sativa and Indica strains for fragrance, taste, production levels all all so that Monsanto can expand their genetic portfolio. With more attorneys, engineers and PR whores that even the GOP or Democrats could muster; all they would need is to gather, decipher, diagram and patent each of of those wonderful strains and from then on we’ll all be paying Monsanto to consume or grow it.
Then there’s another layer of evil “what if” to consider; what if they went even further and manipulated each strain so that even if we purchased a plant, we couldn’t use the cuttings because they Frankensteined it up so that one could only propagate with seeds? Seeds, of course, that we would have to purchase from them!
Look, I’m no conspiracy theorist, but with decades of biology already completed for them — that means no research and development dollars — all Monsanto would have to do is tweek a few things and order their lawyers to fill out the proper patent paper work. Do you think they’d do it? Should we start a conversation about this now, before its too late? Maybe I’m making something out of nothing, ya think? So if you are legally able to do so (because I would never advocate for the breech of any marijuana laws) twist up a stinky and relax; I wouldn’t want to make anyone paranoid.