Saturday, November 27, 2010

Feminized Seed: The Terminator Technology of Cannabis

Feminized Seed: The Terminator Technology of Cannabis
Researched and Written by Conrad Justice Kiczenski - September, 2010

We live in a very pivotal point in time that will lay the foundation for the future of the Cannabis plant.

The so-called Cannabis legalization movement has become divided into two main groups of interest.

The first group consists of most people in the grassroots movement. They are sincere in that they would like to see Cannabis absolutely legalized and free for all to access.

On the other hand, the second group is made up of some of the most powerful individuals and corporations in the world. This spans through a wide range of economic interests which include international banks, military intelligence, petro-chemical industries, pharmaceutical monopolies, and especially transnational bio-tech seed companies whose main goal is to corner the Cannabis market and build a patent monopoly over every aspect of Cannabis from plant varieties, medicinal compounds, to even Cannabinoid ratio’s and breeding techniques. Further control is being intentionally implemented by disseminating patented varieties of the Cannabis species that have been artificially manipulated to genetically block the reproduction of seeds, protecting genetic copyrights and forcing growers to be dependent on a seed monopoly. Government and industry are working together to control and regulate the Cannabis species through a process of prohibition, regulatory, tax and licensing schemes, artificial plant breeding, Genetic Engineering, and patent monopolies.

The core players in this second group are the HortaPharm R&D Company, GW Pharmaceuticals, Bayer Incorporated, Monsanto, Drug Policy Alliance, billionaire financier George Soros, as well as the United States Government via the Drug Enforcement Agency and numerous other individuals, organizations, research labs and universities around the continent.

Billionaire George Soros is the financial muscle behind the modern Cannabis reform movement, he is credited for being instrumental in the creation of organizations such as the Drug Policy Alliance, in which he is a standing director of, as well as many Cannabis reform organizations and efforts across the U.S.. Soros has been so influential in this movement that the Founder of NORML has expressed the deep gratitude that the movement owes to Soros for his finances.

The fruition of this Cannabis reform movement is embodied in the upcoming California initiative called Proposition 19: the control, regulate and tax Cannabis act of 2010. On the Drug Policy Alliance website, they state that they are a leading advocate for prop 19 in California. DPA’s board of directors has included a president and chairman of the federal reserve bank, deputy directors of the defense department and the CIA, members of the Carlyle Group, IBM, the Rockefeller Foundation, and of course George Soros who is a major shareholder in the Monsanto corporation as well as other major petroleum industries.

This act is being hyped as the Cannabis legalization act when in fact this initiative allows prohibition to continue subtly under both federal and state law; implementing strict regulation, taxation, and controls over the common people; while granting a licensing monopoly for various corporate interests to corner the Cannabis market.

For example, under proposition 19, it is still prohibited to sell Cannabis strains, medicines and/or seed unless you are a licensed dealer.

This gives a monopoly for the major distribution of Cannabis seeds to those who have acquired a dealers license.

An article bunking many of the myths of prop 19 states the following:

“Myth: Anyone can obtain a license to legally sell cannabis and compete in the market."

"Fact: Few people will be able to compete in the multibillion-dollar marijuana market if the initiative passes. This is because the licensing process, engineered in Oakland, is exceptionally restrictive. Of the more than a thousand dispensaries operating in California until a recent L.A. crackdown, only a handful were licensed. In Oakland, the city that’s setting the precedent in the tax cannabis push, a license costs $30,000. Per year. Not to mention the rigorous application process, in which even well-established, law-abiding dispensaries have been denied."

"Furthermore, Oakland has started a trend of capping the number of licensed dispensaries allowed to operate (in Oakland, that number is four). This all but guarantees that the average, small-time Cannabis grower will be shut out of this multibillion-dollar industry, concentrating the profits of the potential economic boon in the hands of a small minority of wealthy entrepreneurs who are already making moves to monopolize the industry. Under this initiative, the Cannabis industry will not be a free market in which everyone has a chance to compete. Instead, the initiative could mark the beginning of the corporatization of Cannabis.”

One has to wonder, if proposition 19 is to create a statewide Cannabis commercial industry under these terms, where are the majority of seeds going to come from that will initiate this new industry?

Its interesting to note that under federal law, which is superior to any State initiative and which county governments are subject to by way of DEA subsidy contracts, the only seeds that could be attained legally in the U.S. for this newly regulated industry are from those entities which have acquired a DEA license to import and/or produce Cannabis within the U.S..

DEA Cannabis import licenses have been monopolized by a relatively few number of entities. The entities that can legally provide medicinal Cannabis seeds are limited to the University of Mississippi’s Cannabis research program, HortaPharm R&D Company, and GW Pharma. These are the only legal sources to attain medicinal Cannabis seeds from within or without the U.S.. A little research into these entities shows that they are heavily influenced by the bio-tech seed industry. Mainly from the corporations known as Bayer and Monsanto.

Other then the University of Mississippi’s Cannabis research program, which is tied through contract with an affiliate of Monsanto to develop patented Cannabis compounds, as well as allegedly deriving its Cannabis seeds from Monsanto (SEE: the only other legal source to import medicinal Cannabis seeds in the U.S. is from a partnership between GW Pharmaceuticals and HortaPharm.

R.C Clarke is a co-founder of HortaPharm, who in 1981 wrote in Marijuana Botany: An Advanced Study:

“At this time it seems unlikely that a plant patent would be awarded for a pure-breeding strain of drug Cannabis. In the future, however, with the legalization of cultivation, it is a certainty that corporations with the time, space, and money to produce pure and hybrid strains of Cannabis will apply for patents. It may be legal to grow only certain patented strains produced by large seed companies. Will this be how Government and industry combine to control the quality and quantity of "drug" Cannabis? (pg.38)”

Clarke also wrote the following:

"Does the slight recombination of a plant's genetic material by a breeder give him the right to own that organ- ism and its offspring? Despite public resistance voiced by conservation groups, the Plant Variety Protection Act of 1970 was passed and currently allows the patenting of 224 vegetable crops. New amendments could grant patent holders exclusive rights for 18 years to distribute, import, export and use for breeding purposes their newly developed strains. Similar conventions worldwide could further threaten genetic resources. Should patented varieties of Cannabis become reality it might be illegal to grow any strain other than a patented variety, especially for food or medicinal uses. Limitations could also be imposed such that only low-THC strains would be patentable. This could lead to restrictions on small-scale growing of Cannabis; commercial growers could not take the chance of stray pollinations from private plots harming a valuable seed crop. Proponents of plant patenting claim that patents will encourage the development of new varieties. In fact, patent laws encourage the spread of uniform strains devoid of the genetic diversity which allows improvements. Patent laws have also fostered intense competition between breeders and the suppression of research results which if made public could speed crop improvement. A handful of large corporations hold the vast majority of plant patents. These conditions will make it impossible for cultivators of native strains to compete with agribusiness and could lead to the further extinction of native strains now surviving on small farms in North America and Europe. (pg.4)"

Its ironic that after Clarkes prophetic words in the 1980’s, he went on to partner with David Watson to start HortaPharm, who in partnership with GW Pharma and Bayer incorporated, are building patent monopolies on Cannabis compounds, processes and plant varieties, as well as developing and patenting Cannabis strains that block the reproduction of viable seeds.

GW Pharma adopts an aggressive approach to securing intellectual property rights to protect techniques and technologies involved in the development program. Protection is sought in the areas listed below:

• Plant variety rights
• Methods of extraction patents
• Drug delivery patents
• Patents on compositions of matter for delivery of cannabis
• Methods of use patents
• Design copyright on devices
• Trademarks”

GW States on their website:
“In the last few years our intellectual property portfolio has developed considerably. The patent portfolio has more than doubled in size and comprises 42 patent families, within these families there are numerous granted patents both in the UK and in various territories around the world. GW has also developed a trademark portfolio of 21 UK registered trademarks with equivalent marks registered in many other territories around the world. GW also holds nine registered design rights and nine plant variety rights.”

It appears that "Patents on compositions of matter for delivery of cannabis" means "Patents on cannabinoid ratios".

Their ratio is 51% CBD and 49% THC

Under current U.S. law, A plant patent can be granted by the Government to any inventor who has invented or discovered and asexually reproduced practically any distinct or new variety of plant. The grant, which lasts for 20 years from the date of filing the application, protects the inventor's right to exclude others from asexually reproducing, selling, or using the plant so reproduced.

A small handful of Cannabis varieties literally make up the pillars in which the entire cannabis industry is built upon. Its easy to see how a partnership between DEA enforcement and federal licensing laws, State licensing laws, HortaPharm R&D Company (which holds the largest Cannabis strain library in the world), and the streamline patent machine known as GW Pharma, Bayer and Monsanto could easily lead to a patent monopoly over Cannabis strains within the U.S., Bringing the words written by R.C. Clarke in the 1980’s to a frightening reality.

This is especially true with the introduction of Cannabis seeds and pollen similar to Monsanto’s terminator seed technology, which is being developed and patented by GW Pharmaceuticals. These seeds are commonly known as feminized seeds, and represent the beginning of David Watsons vision to create varieties that produce only “one-off sterile females” which can not reproduce viable seeds. It works like this:

Prohibition and regulation of Cannabis in the U.S. leaves growers with a very small space to grow Cannabis for medicine. The best medicine comes from female plants. On the average, 50% of Cannabis seeds will be female, the rest will be male which do not produce the desired medicine and are therefore usually removed. This process wastes valuable growing space to the grower. So in order to get the most out of a small space grow, there is an incentive to increase the number of female plants so that growing space can be used more efficiently. Dutch seed companies have exploited this incentive and claim to have developed seeds which will have a higher percentage of females. The companies who market these seeds call them ‘feminized seeds’ and describe them as follows:

“Female marijuana seeds have been created to satisfy the need to have only female plants out of seeds. Below we will give you a technical explanation of how we do this."

"The X and Y chromosomes naturally determine the sex of a plant. Male plants carry xy chromosomes while a seed with xx chromosomes will become a female plant. To produce seeds carrying only xx chromosomes a selected female plant is forced by chemicals to produce male flowers. The pollen from these flowers contain only x chromosomes. When this plant then inbreeds with itself through self-pollination, the plant will produce 100% female seeds."

Dutch Passion says "it's a lot harder to produce feminized seeds than regular cannabis seeds, and has to be careful about feminizer technology and its resultant pollen. As with Terminator Seed technology utilized by greedy corporations like Monsanto (the company has designed food crops that produce sterile seeds, forcing farmers to buy new seeds from Monsanto every year), plants grown from feminized seeds cannot reproduce naturally; at best, they can be cloned."

"If you are growing Cannabis so you can produce your own seeds, Dutch Passion's feminized varieties are not for you. “

These kinds of seeds are not marketable in places like Amsterdam because there is less regulation of Cannabis cultivation, and therefore no need for these types of growing methods. With proposition 19 allowing a mere 5 by 5 square feet of growing space per residence or parcel, this is an ideal environment to pressure growers to rely on feminized seeds.

One article on this subject wrote the following:
“The concern that should be made aware is the fact that natural male plants and their pollen will be moving out of production in lure of chemically treated female inbreeding. This will cause repercussions with breeding in the long run and possibly cause serious diseases or infertility to future generations. At this stage there are no long term studies so it is impossible to foresee or predict. But for the moment people run to buy feminized seed “

“The future repercussions of serious diseases and infertility, based on the increasingly popular trend of feminized seed is not something one should take lightly when dealing with a plant that, prior to the feminized seed trend, was successful in spreading itself across the globe for thousands of years via means of natural male to female sexual reproduction.”

An investigation into the origin of feminized seeds leads to the Dutch seed industry, particularly to David Watson and HortaPharm, the article goes on to say:

“One has to wonder just how deep Hortapharms connections run in the marijuana industry itself in connection with cornering the Dutch cannabis seed industry and ultimately providing lines of alleged highly select varieties through the feminization seed trend in an effort to stifle the global cannabis seed trade with varieties of cannabis which may open the door for genetic bottlenecking through means of inbreeding depression, which may also lead to serious diseases and even infertility later down the line!”

“With the increasing demand for feminized seed, which leads to intersexed or hermaphroditic varieties which can theoretically easily pollinate localized and indigenous populations of cannabis through anemophily, the opportunity for agricultural interest to then seize control over crops accidentally or otherwise pollinated by genetically patented strains becomes another tool in which corporative interest use to further monopolize an already shrinking gene pool. A reality which has already played itself out in courtrooms across Middle America with other popular agricultural crops such as maze, where cultivators are sued and suffer financial hardship due to the discovery of genes on their property from crops protected by genetic patent which one way or another managed to find themselves into the seed these unsuspecting farmers used to plant their garden or farm with that season. So Just say no to feminized seed!”

The feminized seed phenomena is being fueled by two incentives, one is the pressure put on growers through strict prohibition and regulation of Cannabis cultivation, the other is to block the reproduction of seeds to protect genetic copyrights in patented varieties.

The real threat to Cannabis and Cannabis growers is not merely prohibition through Drug Enforcement and licensing laws, but prohibition through plant variety patent laws which serve to create legal monopolies over the Cannabis industry.

The real tenants that the legalization movement should be striving for is not only absolute legalization and free access, but an abolition of plant patent laws. This is the only path to attain true legalization and freedom of access to the Cannabis species. Yet because the legalization movement has been heavily financed by major shareholders in the global bio-tech seed patent industry, this has fueled a trend far removed from legalization, and heavily towards an absolute private corporate monopoly of the Cannabis genome.




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