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Monsanto and Marlboro: The Truth Behind the Corporate Takeover of Weed

monsanto and marlboro takeover of cannabis

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Monsanto and Marlboro: The Truth Behind the Corporate Takeover of Weed

Green Rush Daily has its ear to the ground when it comes to the latest herb hype and reefer rumors circulating the inter-webs. To take one example, we’ve been following an extremely popular story about how, now that marijuana legalization seems on the horizon nationally and has proven to be big business, major agribusinesses like Monsanto and tobacco multinationals like Philip-Morris are moving their heavyweight pieces around the chess board to be ready to make moves on the marijuana market.

Do “Marley” Brand Cigarettes & GMO Patents Forecast Corporate Pot Takeover?

Of course, the truth behind these stories doesn’t stop people from debating the hypotheticals—especially if you’ve just smoked a blunt and find your mind wandering…

But whether companies like Monsanto or Philip-Morris spell the future of marijuana or not, or whether you think their products and practices would be good for weed or bad, you should know the truth.

So let me try to straighten out a few of the tangled webs about these stories, using good ole fashioned sluething (and a blunt or two to spark the connections!)

Monsanto Just Patented a GMO Strain of Sativa?

The agri-giant Monsanto, probably best known for its line of Roundup weed-killer, stirs up lots of emotions for people. Lots of folks know the company has come under pretty heavy criticism for its environmental practices and its penchant for suing small American farmers out of business. But the latest in the weed-world is that Monsanto has secured a patent for a strain of GMO cannabis.

monsanto and marlboro takeover of cannabis

Or at least that’s what a recurring Internet legend suggests. “Monsanto Creates First Genetically Modified Strain of Marijuana!” announced World News Daily Report last week.

But World News Daily Report is a fake news site, dude! Of course, they’re not the only ones touting the rumor, but some digging by Mint Press exposes how none of these articles cite sources, and a search of public patent databases turns up nada. Monsanto marijuana is an urban legend, much like the belief that Marlboro is developing mass-produced joints for sale. (See more on that below!)

Anyway, it’s so popular that Monsanto even debunked the myth on their website: “Monsanto has not and is not working on GMO marijuana. This allegation is an Internet rumor and lie.”

Monsanto’s Business is Killing Weeds, Not Growing Weed

You might be interested to know that Monsanto and marijuana do have one other, real connection: Fezisa Mdibi, writing for Africa’s Mail & Guardian, reported last month that police in South Africa used Kilo Max — an herbicide based on glyphosate, the chemical Monsanto developed for use in Roundup — to destroy cannabis fields grown by traditional farmers, who call the plant “dagga.”

monsanto and marlboro takeover of marijuana

Monsanto f*ckin’ up shit for traditional farmers? Sounds pretty familiar. You really want a company which excels at killing weed, growing yours? Probably not! That’s why you can rest easy that, at least for now, Monsanto’s doing just fine winning lawsuits and monopolizing the global GMO and herbicide market, and hasn’t patented any strain of the sticky.

monsanto and marlboro takeover of weed

“Marley” Brand Smokes?! Of course Philip-Morris is Getting in on the Grass Game!

Stoners are no strangers to conspiracy theories or the crazy stories concocted by pot-induced paranoia. But a little-known factoid which slipped beneath the radar of many in the marijuana media may lend new credence to claims that Big Tobacco multinationals like Philip-Morris are poised to act aggressively if the U.S. legalizes weed nationally. Does this new evidence signal a Big Tobacco pot takeover?

The “Tobacco Takeover” Myth

So what’s the new info? Turns out, company documents leaked to the independent media “confirm that PM (Philip-Morris) registered the trade name “Marley” in France.”

Now, like journalists back in 1993, the conspiracy-prone pot media jumped on the story as hard and fast proof that Big Tobacco was indeed planning to enter any future legal weed market. In 1993, like now, journalists were suspicious that PM might have done this to prepare for the potential legalization of marijuana.

The Truth About This Alleged “Takeover”

But is that what these documents really mean? Of course, PM denied that the “Marley” brand had anything to do with famed Rastafarians and revolutionary musicians, Bob Marley and family. But who’s going to be so naive as to take PM public relations at their word?

What a look into the details does reveal is this: In March of 1994, a marketing firm produced a report for Philip Morris called “Marlboro Image Dynamics Study in the Ivory Coast 940300.” The study revealed that Bob Marley was one of the two musical artists most frequently mentioned by young males in Ivory Coast when they were asked to name their favorite musicians.

Is pot legal in the Ivory Coast? Nope.

Is pot even grown in the Ivory Coast? Not really. What they do grow they call “dirt weed,” so they prefer to buy their hash from Morocco.

monsanto and marlboro takeover of weed

So in all likelihood, Philip-Morris’ trademarking of “Marley” was intended as branding for tobacco cigarettes to be sold in the Ivory Coast, not for joints to be sold in America.

Green Rush Daily already answered back against High Time’s arguments that throwing green into the weed game made little sense, and that a corporate takeover wouldn’t compromise America’s killer kush with “bud” light. The problem, from my view, was that if they did, our environment and dwindling water resources would be compromised.

So let’s hope they don’t. And now, you can be confident that the “Marley” brand doesn’t signal a Big Tobacco takeover of our cherished buds.

Adam Drury

Adam is a staff writer for Green Rush Daily who hails from Corvallis, Oregon. He’s an artist, musician, and higher educator with deep roots in the cannabis community. His degrees in literature and psychology drive his interest in the therapeutic use of cannabis for mind and body wellness.

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