As legally allowed medical marijuana becomes more widespread, it is no surprise that many are realizing there is legal money to be made off of this traditionally illegal cash crop. Even Illinois has adapted medical marijuana laws, and soon it will be legal to buy weed in Chicago as long as you have a prescription. With so many dollar signs hanging in the air, ready to be snatched, it is no surprise to see agriculture giant Monsanto getting poised to jump into selling genetically modified marijuana as well.
Monsanto and the Medical Marijuana War
As the largest producer of GMO plants, moving into medical marijuana may seem a logical next step for the agriculture giant. US labs already use strains of genetically modified cannabis for testing and research, and the growing demand for legally obtained medical marijuana is sure to spike in the near future. It looks like Monsanto is already ahead of the game due to their research into RNA interference.
The company is investing millions of dollars into this new technology dubbed “RNAi.” With RNAi, it is possible to manipulate everything from the color of the plant to making the plant indigestible to insects. With medical marijuana, RNAi could be used to create larger, more potent plants effectively cornering the market and exceeding the legal demand for the plant. In Canada, this scenario is one step closer to becoming reality due to new laws that will allow large-scale growers to distribute their plants via mail order. The genetically manipulated marijuana may reach consumers sooner than thought possible due to these changes.
While the company maintains that its products are safe for human consumption, it has been widely debated that this isn’t truly the case. While moving into medical marijuana may be a winning move for Monsanto stockholders, it may also be a strong case of “buyer beware” for the end consumers of the product.