Business Insider reports last year a Phylos Bioscience research team started a Cannabis Evolution Project in an attempt to map the genetic composition of cannabis. This being done to protect marijuana from corporations like Monsanto so as to prevent the dissemination of specific strains of the plant in order to dominate the market.
For many years rumors were afoot that Monsanto was manufacturing a genetically modified version of cannabis in anticipation of marijuana legalization. Despite accusations and rumors of a GMO-style marijuana plant, Monsanto denied the allegations. But scientists are taking steps to prevent it none the less.
Researchers fear that a genetically modified version of marijuana could be manufactured and one or a few companies (like Monsanto or Syngenta) could make it so only a specific brand of pot is the product of choice among cultivators. Because of marijuana’s farming in other parts of the globe, scientists say, it has gotten to a point unparalleled in its evolution, similar in many ways to what has happened to corn. Therefore, some scientists are taking steps to ensure if a GMO marijuana plant comes about resulting from legalization it won’t be easy to monopolize it.
I understand the concern but Monsanto was not trying to monopolize the manufacture of GMO’s. The disputes were over contracts the farmers had with Monsanto only to use the company’s seeds and products. When farmers were caught trying to mix or use different seeds it violated the contract so Monsanto sued the farmers based on that premise. The organizations hostile to that effort were environmentalist group who hate any kind of scientific genetic modification. In this case they would, most likely, oppose the manufacture of a biotechnological version of pot.
Even though GMO’s use less resources and pesticides and are more nutritious than their organic originals, environmentalists oppose their production and manufacture due to their disdain for mankind being able to scientifically bend nature in order to enhance our lives. Bio-technology was developed to help meet the demands not just of growing populations but also to ensure healthier and quicker means of being able to produce food. In this case, it is to cultivate marijuana that is used as a means for people to derive pleasure from the experience of smoking it or even use it for medicinal purposes. As a species humans have a moral right to bend nature in order to survive and, in this situation, for people’s enjoyment or even health. While I do not advocate growing marijuana while it is illegal, however, modifying crops for consumption or pleasure is a practice that has gone one for thousands of years. Using bio-technology is an extension of our knowledge to create and enhance our food supply and lives. We are better off overall because of it.