Sunday, July 17, 2011

GMO Hemp Monopolies & California's SB 676

"Imagine if any farmer in the world could suddenly grow a magic plant whose fruit could feed every starving person, its fiber could clothe every freezing child, it could be burned as industrial biomass fuel, giving cheap electricity to every factory and small town in the world, its pulp could replace the need for wood building materials and paper, make natural cellulose plastic that is 10 times stronger than steel, and it could supply non-toxic methanol fuel for every car on the road today. According to Popular Mechanics in 1938, this miracle plant not only existed but had been known for more than 12,000 years as Cannabis (Hemp), and could completely reverse the painful death of American family farming since the Depression."
http://www.jcrows.com/prouty.html

Emerging from the bowels of the California state senate is a bill entitled SB 676, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act. The LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST pertaining to this act states the following:
.
“This bill would revise the definition of "marijuana" so that the term would exclude industrial hemp, as defined… having no more than 3/10 of 1% [0.3%] tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in the dried flowering tops… The bill would enact certain provisions relating to growing industrial hemp which would apply only in Imperial, Kern, Kings, San Joaquin, and Yolo Counties , except when grown by an established agricultural institution…”

“The bill would require industrial hemp to be cultivated only from seeds imported in accordance with laws of the United States or from seeds grown in California from plants, cultivated plants, or plants grown by an established agricultural research institution. “

“The bill would require…the person growing the industrial hemp to obtain…a laboratory test of a random sample of the crop to determine the amount of THC… The bill would require that samples to perform the testing be taken in the presence of, and be collected and transported only by, an employee or agent of a laboratory that is registered with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.”
[SEE: http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/billtrack/text.html?bvid=20110SB67696AMD]

SB 676 goes on to site California House Resolution 32, passed in 1999, which states:

“Resolved, That the Assembly finds and declares that the Legislature should consider directing the University of California, the California State University, and other state
agencies to prepare studies in conjunction with private industry on the cultivation, processing, and marketing of industrial hemp.”
[SEE: http://www.votehemp.com/PDF/hr_32_19990816_introduced.pdf]

SB 676 - THC REGULATIONS FORCE FARMERS TO BE DEPENDENT UPON THE LIKES OF UC DAVIS, MONSANTO, DEA, NATIONAL GRANGE AND SCOTTS MIRACLE GROW FOR SEED.

It is clear from reading the foregoing excerpts that California’s future Hemp industry, under SB 676, will be born from a limited number of exclusive ‘pilot’ programs, initiated by State Agencies in conjunction with ‘private industry‘, as well as universities such as UC Davis, and other ‘established agricultural institutions’. These institutions could include everything from the State and National Granges to Monsanto and Scotts Miracle Grow. If one thing is for sure it does not include small, independent farmers and collectives.

It is also made clear that the only legal Cannabis strains that will be available for this new Hemp industry, are strains which have THC levels less then 0.3%, and which must be certified by a DEA registered laboratory. These strains would either have to be imported to California under DEA import licenses, or bred using defunct artificial breeding practices and/or genetic engineering. The reason for this is because there is no Cannabis growing in California that has a THC level less then 0.3%. All of California's strains have been bred for very high levels of THC. Furthermore, THC levels in Cannabis are unstable and hard to control, with increases as much as 100% in one generation being a common phenomena. [SEE: http://www.hempreport.com/issues/17/pdf/australia16.pdf]

It has also been shown that low THC varieties are much weaker and pest ridden compared to high THC strains. [SEE: http://www.hempfood.com/iha/iha03209.html] This could be due to the fact that THC has been shown to be a defensive mechanism in Cannabis. Everything from UVB radiation, drought, soil health, to insects and other pests all contribute to the environmental stress which increases THC production in Cannabis. [SEE: http://www.hempfood.com/iha/iha01201.html] THC is a UVB protectant for developing seeds, thus high THC varieties have been shown to produce much larger seed yields, with over 1 kilogram of seed per plant. [SEE:http://www.hempworld.com/hemp-cyberfarm_com/htms/research_orgzs/iha/ihagenetic.html]

With an understanding of the chemical ecology of Cannabis, we can see that limiting the production of THC can result in less yield, less vigor and less resistance to pests and diseases. Weakening the immunity of Cannabis serves to benefit the chemical agricultural establishment for it creates more of incentive for farmers to utilize pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and biotechnology to fight disease, rather then relying on the natural immunity of the plant.

THC regulations serve as a bureaucratic tool to monopolize the Hemp industry. All known low THC varieties grow only in temperates north of the earths 45th parallel circle of latitude [SEE: http://www.hempworld.com/hemp-cyberfarm_com/htms/research_orgzs/iha/ihagenetic.html] This is due to the low UVB radiation coming from the sun at those climates. California’s climate receives substantially higher amounts of UVB radiation then northern climates and thus drastic increases in THC levels are common. This makes the task of regulating THC very difficult. The result is that THC regulations effectively ban 100% of all Cannabis already being grown by California farmers, forcing farmers to be dependent on the agricultural establishment for seed.

By barring high THC strains from being used for Hemp production, the only other strains available must be imported through a DEA license or breed by an established agricultural research institution like UC Davis. By further granting exclusive cultivation rights to ‘established agricultural institutions’, the state has effectively granted a Hemp monopoly to elite agricultural entities such as the National Grange (Who openly advocates for GMO Hemp research and cultivation) and Monsanto.

Since the 1950’s, the USDA along with European governments have been using artificial and defunct breeding practices to lower THC production in Cannabis. The specific method used is called hermaphroditic or monoecious inbreeding. This is where female plants are forced to produce male flowers and inbreed with itself to produce seed, this is an effective way to lower THC production.

Though there are many problems with monoecious varieties contaminating Californias Cannabis gene pool. The deleterious effects of inbreeding was first described in 1934 by Fleischman, who reported a 50% reduction in seed yeild. Bocsa in 1958 blamed inbreeding for losses of seed and fiber yield, short plant stature, shortened lifespan, production of sterile seed, and increase susceptibility to disease.

Written and researched by Conrad Justice Kiczenski

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