In the last few years, an industry that helps hundreds of thousand of people around the world improve their quality of life could now be under threat. Just recently, news of Monsanto’s interest in the cannabis industry has sparked some incredible reactions as people began to understand what this could mean not only for the future of agriculture, but for the environment, our health, and for the economy as well.
A Little Bit of Monsanto History
All we need to do is look a little bit into the Monsanto group and its history to find some pretty unnerving information:
Monsanto is an agriculture company that began as a pharmaceutical company. It have its hand in a number of highly contentious industries, including, but not limited to, the production of Agent Orange; a herbicide and defoliant used during the Vietnam war, which has since aided in the widespread deforestation, nuclear weapons and genetic modification of food.
Just to give you an idea, the chemicals used in Agent Orange have now been linked to:
- AL Amyloidosis
A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters and collects tissues or organs
- Chronic B-cell Leukemias
A type of cancer which affects a specific type of white blood cells
- Chloracne (or similar acneform disease)
A skin condition that occurs soon after exposure to chemicals and looks like common forms of acne seen in teenagers.
- Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
A disease characterized by high blood sugar levels, resulting from the body’s inability to produce or respond properly to the hormone insulin
- Hodgkin’s Disease
A malignant lymphoma (cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver and spleen, and by progressive anemia
- Ischemic Heart Disease
A disease characterized by a reduced supply of blood to the heart, which can lead to chest pain (angina)
- Multiple Myeloma
A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in bone marrow
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue
- Parkinson’s Disease
A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement
- Peripheral Neuropathy, Early-Onset
A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling and muscle weakness
- Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
A disorder characterized by liver dysfunction and by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas
- Prostate Cancer
Cancer of the prostate; one of the most common cancers among older men
- Respiratory Cancers (includes lung cancer)
Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus
- Soft Tissue Sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma) A specific group of malignant cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues.
It has also been linked to birth defects and spina bifida in the children of veterans and in the vietnamese population that were exposed to this noxious chemical; the lasting effects of which are yet to be determined.
This is only a very small list out of an incredible number of health and legal issues regarding Monsanto’s chemical products. Please read on here for more information about their sordid history.
A selection of our products
Genetically Modified Engineering
But, Monsanto is most commonly known for its genetic engineering of agricultural crops, known as GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms or GM), which was created in order to provide farmers with stronger crops with higher pest, fungi and bacteria resistance; in a world where space and resources are becoming further limited.
Their first foray into agribusiness was in 1974 with their weed killer Roundup, which then spurred their next product ‘Roundup ready soy’; created in order to withstand the herbicide which they had first created. Since then, Monsanto have created GM seeds for corn, sorghum, canola, alfalfa, and cotton. They own approximately 93% of the worlds GM soy market and 80% of the worlds GM corn market.
How Could this Affect the Cannabis Industry?
Just recently, Monsanto have been involved in a number of new legal battles regarding the safety of their product, Roundup. Hundreds are coming forward and claiming that Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate causes cancer, saying that Monsanto had long known but had failed to warn them.
Bayer, who is set to merge with Monsanto very shortly, is the 10th largest chemical producer in the world, residing in the pharmaceuticals and life sciences sector. Bayer is a company that has also been involved in a number of contentious and incredibly irresponsible claims and lawsuits, just like Monsanto.
Just some of these include their involvement in Nazi Germany’s chemical warfare and the buying of patients from Auschwitz to experiment on. They were also responsible for infecting thousand of haemophiliacs with HIV in the 1980’s, selling millions of dollars worth of an older version of the blood clotting medication in Latin America and Asia while marketing a newer, safer product in the United States and Europe.
Historically speaking, Monsanto have been culpable for damaging the environment through the irresponsible dumping of chemical waste that has not only affected wildlife, but ecology and human health as well.
They have also patented their seeds, meaning that corporations have control over global food supply, making it harder for farmers to find alternative seed supply. In a report published by a coalition of campaign groups, it was stated that “patents exacerbate genetic erosion as they promote monoculture by hindering the development of new seed varieties. In sum, the possible, long term consequences of patents are control of the whole food chain by a few companies.”
So for an industry that is so integral for small farmers and business owners, this could mean the extinction of grassroots cannabis businesses and the beginning of a monopolized industry with restricted frameworks.
So What Do We Already Know?
We know that Monsanto, whom we have consistently witnessed being recklessly negligent – environmentally, agriculturally, ethically and morally – have denied any interest in becoming involved with the cannabis industry, so far.
We also know that Bayer — the 10th largest chemical producer in the world, residing in the pharmaceuticals and life sciences sector — has just merged with Monsanto.
So, these two corporations Bayer and Monsanto are merging to create an even more oppressive monopoly with far greater political influence within the health and food industries. CEO Werner Baumann said of the merger:
“This represents a major step forward for our Crop Science business and reinforces Bayer’s leadership position as a global innovation driven Life Science company with leadership positions in its core segments, delivering substantial value to shareholders, our customers, employees and society at large”
But Mark Connelly, an agriculture analyst, who spoke with Business Insider, said that “These companies want to make more money, they want to raise prices. No company in this industry needs these deals in order to innovate.” So if that is the case and money is their motivating factor, then the question still remains; why wouldn’t they move in on an industry (already within their realm) that is set to be worth $31.4 billion by 2021?
It’s Only Hearsay at This Stage
At this point, there just isn’t enough evidence that Monsanto may be getting involved in the cannabis industry just yet. They have denied any involvement, but have not yet said that they won’t move in on the industry once federal prohibition of cannabis in the United States is lifted. The financial prospects of the cannabis industry are just far too big to disregard for profit-focused companies, such as Bayer-Monsanto.
At this point, it is our duty to stay informed on the movements of companies such as these, as cannabis moves closer to being legalized nationwide. All we can do is provide you with the best organic products of the best quality from the best crops that we can, while staying transparent and open with you; the person who should benefit most.