St. Louis, MO — The Monsanto Company announced this week that it plans on developing and eventually selling genetically modified cannabis seeds. The move, which was widely expected by industry insiders, comes at a time when many States are considering legalizing the controversial plant.
“Monsanto has been the agriculture leader for over 115 years,” said spokeswoman Bethany Millbright during a press conference at Monsanto headquarters in Creve Couer, a suburb of St. Louis. “We have led the revolution which has fed a hungry world through science and innovation. As we look forward, it has become clear that embracing emerging opportunities like sustainable and drought-resistant cannabis seeds will provide unique growth opportunities for the company and our shareholders.”
Details are slim, but according to insiders the United States Department of Agriculture or USDA has worked closely with the agribusiness giant for the past 3 years under direction from President Obama. The USDA program, code-named “Pin Kushion,” was designed to help American industry “catch up” with traditional artisanal farmers and to help facilitate distribution problems which will undoubtedly arise once cannabis becomes legal in all 50 States. The first GMO cannabis seeds out of the gate will be a Round-Upâ„¢ Ready version of Girl Scout Cookie and OG Kush.
Local reaction was predictable.
“This is terrible news for people like me,” said farmer Thomas Kevlin outside his North San Juan, CA trailer. “We pride ourselves on a 100% organic product. And this is exactly what legalization will get us: more corporate greed. It’s best if we just keep it marginally illegal to keep big business from screwing everything up.”
According to commodity analyst Jim “The Jeff” Bremfall of Morgan Stanley, this move by Monsanto make perfect economic and strategic sense for the agribusiness giant.
“The ‘grow local’ market is expanding rapidly,” said commodity analyst Jim “The Jeff” Bremfall of Morgan Stanley. “The big boys are starting to notice all the chickens and other livestock in backyards as well as marijuana. So rather than fighting the trend, the segment leaders are embracing and supplying the need. It’s pretty smart. And you know Monsanto will create a product that will grow anywhere.”
And although Monsanto faces stiff competition from do-it-yourself “grows” and even larger private industrial farming operations, the company insists that they’re targeting growth markets and not existing “niche” ones.
“We are aware of the current cannabis marketplace,” continued Ms. Millbright. “We have no desire at this time to disrupt those operations. Our goals are always economies of scale, and not small time outfits. So we plan on marketing our products toward third world markets for import back into the United States. The [profit] margins are higher overseas where our growing partners like Cargill and Dole operate.”