Declaration on Seed Freedom

  1. Seed is the source of life, it is the self urge of life to express itself, to renew itself, to multiply, to evolve in perpetuity in freedom.
  2. Seed is the embodiment of bio cultural diversity. It contains millions of years of biological and cultural evolution of the past, and the potential of millennia of a future unfolding.
  3. Seed Freedom is the birth right of every form of life and is the basis for the protection of biodiversity.
  4. Seed Freedom is the birth right of every farmer and food producer. Farmers rights to save, exchange, evolve, breed, sell seed is at the heart of Seed Freedom. When this freedom is taken away farmers get trapped in debt and in extreme cases commit suicide.
  5. Seed Freedom is the basis of Food Freedom, since seed is the first link in the food chain.
  6. Seed Freedom is threatened by patents on seed, which create seed monopolies and make it illegal for farmers to save and exchange seed. Patents on seed are ethically and ecologically unjustified because patents are exclusive rights granted for an invention. Seed is not an invention. Life is not an invention.
  7. Seed Freedom of diverse cultures is threatened by Biopiracy and the patenting of indigenous knowledge and biodiversity. Biopiracy is not innovation – it is theft.
  8. Seed Freedom is threatened by genetically engineered seeds, which are contaminating our farms, thus closing the option for GMO-free food for all. Seed Freedom of farmers is threatened when after contaminating our crops, corporations sue farmer for “stealing their property”.
  9. Seed Freedom is threatened by the deliberate transformation of the seed from a renewable self generative resource to a non renewable patented commodity. The most extreme case of non renewable seed is the “Terminator Technology” developed with aim to create sterile seed.
  10. We commit ourselves to defending seed freedom as the freedom of diverse species to evolve; as the freedom of human communities to reclaim open source seed as a commons.

To this end, we will save seed, we will create community seed banks and seed libraries, we will not recognize any law that illegitimately makes seed the private property of corporations. We will stop the patents on seed.


Click here to sign the declaration

Click here to download a PDF

CONTINUE TO SOURCE…

Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation

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Get your copy of this important book on the Global Research online store!

Last three or four years have seen a number of books, documentaries and articles on the dangers of Genetically Modified (GM) seeds. Majority has focused on adverse health and environmental impact; almost none on the geo-politics of GM seeds, and particularly seeds as a weapon of mass destruction. Engdahl has addressed this issue but the crop seed is one of the many “Seeds of Destruction” in this book.

Engdahl carefully documents how the intellectual foundations of ‘eugenics,’ mass culling of the sick, coloured, and otherwise disposable races, were actually first established, and even legally approved, in the United States. Eugenics research was financially supported by the Rockefeller and other elite families and first tested on Jews under Nazi Germany.

original

It is purely by chance that world’s poorest nations also happen to be best endowed with natural resources. These regions are also the ones with growing population. The fear among European ruling families, increasingly, integrating with economic and military might of the United States, was that if the poor nations became developed, the abundant natural resources, especially oil, gas, and strategic minerals and metals, may become scarcer for the white population. That situation was unacceptable to the white ruling elite.

The central question that dominated the minds of the ruling clique was population reduction in resource rich countries but the question was how to engineer mass culling all over the world without generating powerful backlash as it was bound to happen. When the US oil reserves peaked in 1972 and it became a net oil importer, the situation became alarming and the agenda took the centre stage. Kissinger, one of the key strategists of Nixon, nurtured by the Rockefellers, prepared what is known as National Security Study Memo (NSSM#200), in which he elaborated his plan for population reduction. In this Memo he specifically targets thirteen countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkey, Thailand, and The Phillipines.

The weapon to be used was food; even if there was a famine food would be used to leverage population reduction. Kissinger is on record for stating, “Control oil, you control nations; control food and you control the people.” How a small group of key people transformed the elitist philosophy, of controlling food to control people, into realistic operational possibility within a short time is the backdrop of Engdahl’s book, the central theme running from the beginning till the end with the Rockefellers and Kissinger, among others, as the key dramatis personae.

He describes how the Rockefellers guided the US agriculture policy, used their powerful tax-free foundations worldwide to train an army of bright young scientists in hitherto unknown field of microbiology. He traces how the field of Eugenics was renamed “genetics” to make it more acceptable and also to hide the real purpose. Through incremental strategic adjustments within a handful of chemical, food and seed corporations, ably supported by the key persons in key departments of the US Government, behemoths were created that could re-write the regulatory framework in nearly every country. And these seeds of destruction of carefully constructed regulatory framework- to protect the environment and human health- were sown back in the 1920s.

Pause to think: a normal healthy person can at the most go without food for perhaps seven days but it takes a full season, say around four months, for a seed to grow into food crop. Just five agri-biz corporations, all US based (Cargill, Bunge, Archer Daniels, et al), control global grain trade, and just five control global trade in seeds. Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, DuPont, and Dow Chemicals control genetically engineered seeds. While these powerful oligopolies were being knocked into place, anti-trust laws were diluted to exempt these firms. Engdahl writes, “It was not surprising that the Pentagon’s National Defense University, on the eve of the 2003 Iraq War, issued a paper declaring: ‘Agribiz is to the United States what oil is to the Middle East.’ Agribusiness had become a strategic weapon in the arsenal of the world’s only superpower.” (page 143)

The “Green Revolution” was part of the Rockefeller agenda to destroy seed diversity and push oil and gas based agriculture inputs in which Rockefeller’s had main interest. Destruction of seed diversity and dependence on proprietary hybrids was the first step in food control. (See my notes, Box 1)

It is true that initially Green Revolution technologies led to spurt in farm productivity but at a huge cost of destruction of farmlands, bio-diversity, poisoned aquifers and progressively poor health of the people and was the true agenda of ‘the proponents of Green Revolution.’

The real impetus came with the technological possibility of gene splicing and insertion of specific traits into unrelated species. Life forms could be altered. But until 1979, the US Government had steadfastly refused to grant patent on life form. That was changed [my comment: helped much by a favorable judgment in the US Supreme Court granting patent protection to oil eating bacteria developed by Dr Ananda Chakraborty]. Life forms could now be patented. To ensure that the world surrendered to the patent regime of the seeds corporations, the World Trade Organization was knocked into shape. How it conducted business was nobody’s business, but it forced the world to accept intellectual property right of these corporations. There is opposition but these firms are too determined as Engdahl describes.

“The clear strategy of Monsanto, Dow, DuPont and the Washington Government backing them was to introduce the GMO seeds in every corner of the globe, with priority on defenceless …..African and developing countries,” write Engdahl (page 270). However, Engdahl also describes how US and Canadian farmlands came under GMOs. It was suspected that GMO could pose serious threat to human and animal health and the environment, yet efforts at independent biosafety assessment were discontinued. Scientists carrying out honest studies were vilified. Reputed scientific establishments were silenced or made to toe the line that was supportive of the Rockefeller’s food control and mass culling agenda. The destruction of the credibility of scientific institution is yet another seed of destruction in Engdahl’s book.

Engdahl cites the example of a German farmer Gottfried Glockner’s experience with GM corn. Glockner planted Bt176 event of Syngenta essentially as feed for his cows. Being a scientist, he started with 10% GM feed and gradually increased the proportion, carefully noting milk yield and any side effects. Nothing much happened in the first three years but when he increased the feed to 100% GM feed, his animals “were having gluey-white feaces and violent diarrhea” and “milk contained blood.” Eventually all his seventy cows died. Prof Angelika Hilbeck of Swiss Federal Institute of Technology found from Glockner’s Bt 176 corn samples Bt toxins were present “in active form and extremely stable.” The cows died of high dose of toxins. Not if, but when human food is 100% contaminated should be a sobering thought.

In the US unlabelled GM foods were introduced in 1993 and that 70% of the supermarket foods contain GMOs in varying proportions in what should rightly be called world’s largest biological experiment on humans. While Engdahl has clearly stated that the thrust of US Government and the agi-biz is control over food especially in the third world, he has left it to the readers to deduce that American and European citizens are also target of that grand agenda. And there are more lethal weapons in the arsenal: Terminator seeds, Traitor seeds, and the ability to destroy small independent farmers at will in any part of the world, and these are powerfully presented in the book. Engdahl provides hard evidences for these seeds of final destruction and utter decimation of world civilizations as we have known.

It is a complex but highly readable book. It is divided into five parts, each containing two to four short chapters. The first part deals with the political maneuverings to ensure support to Seed and Agri-biz firms, the second deals with what should be widely known as ‘The Rockefeller Plan’, the third deals with how vertically integrated giants were readied for Washington’s silent wars on planet earth, the fourth part deals with how GM seeds were unleashed on unsuspecting farmers, and the final part deals with how the elites is going on destroying food, farmers that would eventually cause mass culling of population. He does not offer any solution; he can’t because it is up to the rest of the world, including Europeans and Americans, to wake up and take on these criminals head on. An essential read for anyone who eats and thinks.

Seeds of Destruction

The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation

by F. William Engdahl

Global Research, 2007 ISBN 978-0-937147-2-2

SPECIAL ONLINE AND MAIL ORDER PRICE US$18.00 (list price $25.95)

This skillfully researched book focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread. “Control the food and you control the people.”

This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO. Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms.

The author cogently reveals a diabolical World of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is.

Engdahl’s carefully argued critique goes far beyond the familiar controversies surrounding the practice of genetic modification as a scientific technique. The book is an eye-opener, a must-read for all those committed to the causes of social justice and World peace.

original

F. William Engdahl is a leading analyst of the New World Order, author of the best-selling book on oil and geopolitics, A Century of War: Anglo-American Politics and the New World Order,’ His writings have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

What is so frightening about Engdahl’s vision of the world is that it is so real. Although our civilization has been built on humanistic ideals, in this new age of “free markets”, everything– science, commerce, agriculture and even seeds– have become weapons in the hands of a few global corporation barons and their political fellow travelers. To achieve world domination, they no longer rely on bayonet-wielding soldiers. All they need is to control food production. (Dr. Arpad Pusztai, biochemist, formerly of the Rowett Research Institute Institute, Scotland)

If you want to learn about the socio-political agenda –why biotech corporations insist on spreading GMO seeds around the World– you should read this carefully researched book. You will learn how these corporations want to achieve control over all mankind, and why we must resist… (Marijan Jost, Professor of Genetics, Krizevci, Croatia)

The book reads like a murder mystery of an incredible dimension, in which four giant Anglo-American agribusiness conglomerates have no hesitation to use GMO to gain control over our very means of subsistence… (Anton Moser, Professor of Biotechnology, Graz, Austria).

Order Now: Online or Mail Order

List Price US$25.95 plus taxes.

US$18.00 plus s and h (incl. taxes where applicable)

House passes bill to prevent mandatory GMO labeling

 

"We should not raise prices on consumers based on the wishes of a handful of activists."

 

Posted: Thursday, July 23, 2015 5:39 pm | Updated: 6:01 pm, Thu Jul 23, 2015.

Associated Press |

WASHINGTON (AP) — Food companies would not have to disclose whether their products include genetically modified ingredients under legislation passed by the House Thursday.

The House bill is backed by the food industry, which has fought mandatory labeling efforts in several states around the country. The legislation, which passed 275-150, would prevent states from requiring package labels to indicate the presence of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

So far, Vermont is the only state set to require the labels. That law will take effect in July 2016 if it survives a legal challenge from the food industry. Maine and Connecticut have also passed laws requiring the labeling, but those measures don’t take effect unless neighboring states follow suit.

The country’s largest food companies say genetically modified foods are safe and that labels would be misleading. They say a patchwork of laws around the country would be expensive for companies and confusing for consumers.

"The reality is, biotechnology has time and time again proved safe," the bill’s sponsor, Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo, said on the House floor. "We should not raise prices on consumers based on the wishes of a handful of activists."

Advocates for the labels say people have a right to know what is in their food and criticize the legislation for trying to take away states’ ability to require the labels.

"What’s the problem with letting consumers know what they are buying?" asked Vermont Rep. Peter Welch, a Democrat.

Genetically modified seeds are engineered in laboratories to have certain traits, like resistance to herbicides. The majority of the country’s corn and soybean crop is now genetically modified, with much of that going to animal feed. It also is made into popular processed food ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, corn starch and soybean oil.

The food industry says about 75 percent to 80 percent of foods contain genetically modified ingredients.

The Food and Drug Administration has said GMOs are safe, and the federal government does not support mandatory labels. Even so, the House bill would make it harder for the agency to require labeling nationally by laying out additional standards for such a policy.

At the same time, the legislation would step up FDA oversight by requiring that any new genetically engineered products be reviewed by the agency before they can be sold. That process is now voluntary for most modified foods.

The bill would also create a new certification process at the Agriculture Department for foods that are labeled free of GMOs. That would mean anyone wanting to use that label would eventually have to apply. Organic foods would be automatically certified, since they are already required to be free of engineered ingredients.

A December Associated Press-GfK poll found that two-thirds of Americans support labeling of genetically modified ingredients on food packages.

Many of those who support the labels say they have no problem buying food containing GMOs, but they think there should be more accountability in the food industry. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said Wednesday in a speech opposing the bill that he buys genetically modified foods but thinks it should be a choice.

Michael Gruber of the Grocery Manufacturers of America, the industry group leading the fight against mandatory labels, says those who want the labels are trying to scare people away from genetically modified foods. "This is to tear down brands in the name of right to know," Gruber said.

There is no similar bill in the Senate, although Sen. John Heaven, R-N.D., has said he is working on legislation.

It’s unclear whether President Barack Obama would sign the legislation. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has been supportive of genetically modified crops and has praised voluntary labeling solutions like special bar codes on packages to allow consumers to access information via smartphone. But the White House has not said whether it will endorse the House bill.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said after the vote that people who want to know what’s in their food will eventually win the fight.

Americans "are demanding the right to know," Shumlin said.

___

Associated Press writer Wilson Ring in Montpelier, Vt., contributed to this report.

___

Follow Mary Clare Japonica on Twitter http://twitter.com/mcjalonick

CONTINUE READING…

Monsanto Develops First Genetically Modified Strain of Marijuana

FYI…

The following was copied from a Google news search for "Marijuana" on 6.16.15 at 11:48pm CST.  The link to the story has been "deleted".

Monsanto develops first GMO marijuana strain patent 6.16.15

 

Monsanto Develops First Genetically Modified Strain of Marijuana

Wisconsin Ag Connection
– ‎17 hours ago‎

Monsanto has announced it has patented the first genetically modified strain of marijuana. Global Ag Investing reports that the news has been welcomed by scientists and leaders of the agriculture business alike as a move forward towards the industrial

GMO Cannabis Monsanto 6.16.15 link deleted

DEA to Allow Huge Increase in Marijuana Production to Meet Research DemandsRegulatory Focus

DEA Wants the Feds to Grow More Marijuana (Again)Marijuana.com

See realtime coverage »

 

I also found this information, dated June 7, 2014 which states the following:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread1016482/pg1

Link


U.S. corporation Monsanto plans to launch production of genetically modified marijuana, and companies such as Drug Policy Alliance y Open Society Foundation are going to create our own brand, which will be produced under cannabis, information portal La Red 21.
Organization of Open Society Foundation is under the control of the shareholder Monsanto, billionaire George Soros. Company Drug Policy Alliance y Open Society Foundation, funded by Monsanto will be responsible for market development of transgenic seeds of marijuana, particularly in Uruguay.

Oddly enough, the "Link" above goes to another "Page not found (404)" error…

When I searched Google for "Monsanto Develops First Genetically Modified Strain of Marijuana" I found the following:

 

http://www.drugpolicycentral.com/bot/article/wisconsinagconnection6559.htm

A "BOT" picked up the story on the DPA site rendering this screen shot:

Drug Policy Alliance 6.17.15 GMO Cannabis Monsanto

 

My question is this:  Who is trying to hide what from whom and why?  The story has been picked up by numerous blog sites:

Google search:

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=Monsanto+Develops+First+Genetically+Modified+Strain+of+Marijuana

 

Whatever the reason for the secrecy or attempt thereof, this is a story that should be closely watched as the "Billionaire Cannabis Club" is "Now Open"….

A Way to Brew Morphine Raises Concerns Over Regulation

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.MAY 18, 2015

All over the world, the heavy heads of opium poppies are nodding gracefully in the wind — long stalks dressed in orange or white petals topped by a fright wig of stamens. They fill millions of acres in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Laos and elsewhere. Their payload — the milky opium juice carefully scraped off the seed pods — yields morphine, an excellent painkiller easily refined into heroin.

But very soon, perhaps within a year, the poppy will no longer be the only way to produce heroin’s raw ingredient. It will be possible for drug companies, or drug traffickers, to brew it in yeast genetically modified to turn sugar into morphine.

Almost all the essential steps had been worked out in the last seven years; a final missing one was published Monday in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.

“All the elements are in place, but the whole pathway needs to be integrated before a one-pot glucose-to-morphine stream is ready to roll,” said Kenneth A. Oye, a professor of engineering and political science at M.I.T.

Yeast cells on this Petri dish are producing the pigment betaxanthin, which researchers used to identify key enzymes in the production of benzylisoquinoline alkaloids, the metabolites in the poppy plant that could lead to morphine, antibiotics and other pharmaceutical agents. Credit William DeLoache/UC Berkeley

This rapid progress in synthetic biology has set off a debate about how — and whether — to regulate it. Dr. Oye and other experts said this week in a commentary in the journal Nature that drug-regulatory authorities were ill prepared to control a process that would benefit the heroin trade much more than the prescription painkiller industry. The world should take steps to head that off, they argue, by locking up the bioengineered yeast strains and restricting access to the DNA that would let drug cartels reproduce them.

Other biotech experts counter that raising the specter of fermenting heroin like beer, jokingly known among insiders as “Brewing Bad,” is alarmist and that Dr. Oye’s proposed solutions are overkill. Although making small amounts of morphine will soon be feasible, they say, the yeasts are so fragile and the fermentation process so delicate that it is not close to producing salable quantities of heroin. Restricting DNA stifles all research, they argue, and is destined to fail just as restrictions on precursor chemicals have failed to curb America’s crystal meth epidemic.

A spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration said his agency “does not perceive an imminent threat” because no modified yeast strain is commonly available yet. If that happens, he said, D.E.A. laboratories would be able to identify heroin made from it.

An F.B.I. agent who has been following the yeast strains since 2009 said he was glad that the debate was beginning before the technology was ready and before lawmakers moved to restrict it.

“We’ve learned that the top-down approach doesn’t work,” said Supervisory Special Agent Edward You, who said he coined the “Brewing Bad” term and had held workshops for biotech students and companies. “We want the people in the field to be the sentinels, to recognize when someone is trying to abuse or exploit their work and call the F.B.I.”

No scientific team has yet admitted having one strain capable of the entire sugar-to-morphine pathway, but several are trying, and the Stanford lab of Christina D. Smolke is a leader. She said she expected one to be published by next year.

No one in the field thought there should be no regulation, she said, but suggestions that home brewers would soon make heroin were “inflammatory” because fermenting manipulated yeasts “is a really special skill.” Implications of research like hers should be calmly discussed by experts, she said, and Dr. Oye’s commentary “was getting people to react in a very freaked-out way.”

Robert H. Carlson, the author of “Biology Is Technology,” said restrictions were doomed to fail just as Prohibition failed to stop the home brewing of alcohol.

“DNA synthesis is already a democratic, low-cost technology,” he said. “If you restrict access, you create a black market.”

What is considered one of the last important missing steps, a way to efficiently grow a morphine precursor, (S)-reticuline, in brewer’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, was published in Nature Chemical Biology on Monday by scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, and Canada’s Concordia University.

Photo

Kenneth A. Oye, a professor of engineering and political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that drug-regulatory authorities are ill-prepared to control a process that can create heroin’s raw ingredient. Credit Stuart Darsch

The leader of the Berkeley team, John E. Dueber, said it was not trying to make morphine but 2,500 other alkaloids for which reticuline is a precursor, some of which might become antibiotics or cancer drugs.

Nonetheless, he said, since he realized his research has implications for the making of morphine, he sent his draft paper to Dr. Oye, suggesting the debate become more public.

One crucial question is whether the technology is of more use to the pharmaceutical industry or drug cartels. Dr. Oye argues it is the latter.

Companies are always seeking painkillers that create less addictive euphorias or do not paralyze breathing muscles, and having a predictable process they could tweak would be useful, but they already have a cheap, steady supply of opium from India, Turkey and Australia, where poppies are grown legally by licensed farmers.

That chain will be hard to disrupt. Since the 1960s, when it was created to convince Turkey to crack down on heroin, the International Narcotics Control Board has set quotas. Thousands of small farmers, their bankers and equipment suppliers depend on the sales, and they have local political clout just as American corn farmers do.

Also, pharmaceutical companies can already synthesize opiates in their labs. Fentanyl, a painkiller 100 times as powerful as morphine, is synthetic, as is loperamide (Imodium), an antidiarrheal opiate.

Heroin sellers, by contrast, must smuggle raw materials out of lawless Afghanistan, Laos, Myanmar and Mexico. Their supply lines are disrupted when any local power — from the Taliban to the United States Army — cracks down. Brewing near their customers would save them many costs: farmers, guards, guns, planes, bribes and so on.

One frightening prospect Dr. Oye raised was how viciously drug cartels might react if Americans with bioengineering know-how started competing with them. Gunmen from Mexican drug gangs have taken control of many secret marijuana fields in American forests.

His commentary suggested several possible steps to prevent misuse of the technology. The yeasts could be locked in secure laboratories, worked on by screened employees. Sharing them with other scientists without government permission could be outlawed.

Their DNA could be put on a watch list, as sequences for anthrax and smallpox are, so any attempt to buy them from DNA supply houses would raise flags. Chemically silent DNA “watermarks” could be inserted so stolen yeasts could be traced. Or the strains could be made “wimpier and harder to grow,” Dr. Oye said, perhaps by making them require nutrients that were kept secret.

Agent You said he did not want to comment on Dr. Oye’s suggestions, but was glad a threat had been identified by scientists before it was a reality, adding, “If this occurred across the board, it would make the F.B.I.’s life a heck of a lot easier.”

A version of this article appears in print on May 19, 2015, on page D1 of the New York edition with the headline: Makings of a New Heroin. Order Reprints| Today’s Paper|Subscribe

CONTINUE READING…

Pot growers’ new quest: U.S. patent protection for cannabis seeds

 

 

 

 

Published: Dec 24, 2014, 5:05 pm Comments (12)

By Jason Blevins, The Denver Post

Ben Holmes gently lowers the turntable needle onto the album, and Traffic’s “Medicated Goo,” begins to play.

Steve Winwood’s wistful tenor sweeps through the Centennial Seeds laboratory: “My own homegrown recipe’ll see you through.”

“Everyone stole from Stevie Winwood,” Holmes says, his foot tapping as he injects a syringe of dark, syrupy liquid into his gas chromatograph.

No one is stealing from Holmes, a self-taught scientist, engineer, farmer and cannabis seed geek who next month will take a rare step to apply for a patent on a laboriously created cannabis superstrain.

Cannabis seed developer Ben Holmes uses THC to calibrate a gas chromatograph before conducting tests at his Centennial Seeds lab in Lafayette. (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)

If it is awarded, the U.S. patent on Holmes’ medical-grade Otto II strain will be the first to protect a cannabis plant and a first step in establishing plant-breeder rights for growers who only a few years ago were considered criminals.

“This industry came up in stealth, born in basements and crawl spaces,” Holmes said. “But now, with companies forming and making larger investments, the desire to protect intellectual property is becoming paramount. Bleeding-edge stuff, right here.”

Indeed. Gone are the days when pie-eyed longhairs haphazardly hurled pollen into jungles of pot plants, hoping to meld two strains.

Today’s top breeders are geneticists, taking years to weed through carefully engineered generations of cannabis to elevate the most desired traits.

Some of these new superstrains are high in cannabidiol, or CBD, one of several dozen cannabinoid chemical compounds in cannabis and the plant’s major non-psychoactive ingredient. CBD has been credited with relieving some epileptic seizures, prompting widespread calls for additional research.

Other more utilitarian superstrains are resistant to mites or the crop-killing powdery mildew that plagues grow operations across Colorado.

Some superstrains are simply super stony, with sky-high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis.

CONTINUE READING…

Dr. Bronner’s Year-End Report from the Front Lines of the Fight for Cannabis Reform and GMO Labeling

Both cannabis policy reform and the movement to label genetically engineered foods in the United States made huge strides in 2014. Major battles were won, some narrowly lost, but ultimately victory is inevitable. Our company Dr. Bronner’s has devoted significant financial, staff and other organizational resources to both movements, and it is instructive to analyze them side by side.

First on the cannabis front, 2014 saw victories in DC (Measure 71: 70 to 30), Oregon (Measure 91: 56 to 44) and Alaska (Measure 2: 53 to 47), continuing the incredible momentum from victories in Washington (Initiative 502: 55 to 45) and Colorado (Amendment 64: 55 to 45) in 2012, themselves set up by the narrow loss in California in 2010 (Prop 19: 47 to 53) that triggered the first serious national and international debate on ending cannabis prohibition. Only Florida “lost” with 58% of votes in favor of medical marijuana, 2% short of the needed 60% (Measure 2). As most Huffington Post readers understand, by any rational measure of analysis marijuana use is much less problematic than alcohol, while its prohibition has caused untold harm to otherwise productive nonviolent citizens and their families, wasting taxpayer dollars and law enforcement resources.

Dr. Bronner’s Director of Social Action, Adam Eidinger, was campaign manager for the successful Yes on 71 campaign in DC. Adam and Dr. Malik Burnett of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) alongside other stellar staff, ran an incredible campaign educating local voters as well as the country’s political elites nationally that prohibition is an unjust racist policy that disproportionately impacts communities of color. Despite blacks and whites using cannabis at similar rates, DC arrests over 8 times more black people than white people for cannabis possession. Saddling a young man with jail time and a record obviously compromises one’s future as well as tears families apart. Dr. Bronner’s contributed $100,000 directly to the campaign and $100,000 to Drug Policy Alliance, earmarked to help power Dr. Burnett’s crucial work there.

Dr. Bronner’s also contributed $100,000 each to Oregon’s effort led by the New Approach team, as well as the Marijuana Policy Project’s (MPP) effort in Alaska. The contribution to MPP for Alaska was arguably much more crucial given the relatively small overall budget and closeness of the race in a traditionally red state. However, we also gave $2 million to the Oregon Yes on 92 GMO labeling campaign, that coordinated closely with the marijuana campaign in registering and driving the youth vote, that benefitted both campaigns tremendously.

The Nation published a great article the week prior to the election that nails competing dynamics in play in the cannabis legalization movement. DC was the first legalization campaign to run primarily on a racial justice platform, and absolutely crushed it. Alaska’s campaign was based on the MPP “safer than alcohol” playbook that won in Colorado, while Oregon was run on the similar “New Approach” strategy that won in Washington state. Clearly there’s more than one way to win the fight for legalization. Looking forward to California and the four to five other states in play in 2016 we can draw from the best of all these efforts. California in particular will be important to write the model regulations that we want reflected at the national level, which will happen soon after the wins in 2016.

While the Oregon and Alaska victories are sweet indeed, victory in DC for us was the sweetest. In the recent Congressional “cromnibus” spending bill debate, the crushing DC victory helped open room for riders to pass into law that prohibit the DEA from interfering with state medical marijuana programs as well as state industrial hemp programs. These are huge long-sought victories for the movement, and Americans for Safe Access (ASA) deserves most of the credit for successfully passing the medical marijuana rider via majority vote in the Republican house over the summer. Dr. Bronner’s has been a longtime supporter of ASA, having given close to $700,000 over the past ten years. Dr. Bronner’s has also been closely involved in efforts to re-commercialize industrial hemp farming, being a longtime supporter of Vote Hemp as well as recently being a crucial partner to the amazing efforts in Kentucky that have inspired the entire Kentucky federal delegation, including Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Rand Paul, to publicly support and help make hemp farming a reality in the United States again.

Unfortunately though, DC legalization itself seemed to be the sacrificial lamb in the spending bill debate, with Congress attempting to block implementation of DC’s legalization initiative. However, DC has been so galvanized by the overwhelming mandate and outraged by Congressional meddling, that they are challenging Congress to a showdown that Congress is highly unlikely to win, and legalization will be the law of the land in DC come January. The Guardian provided a great overview of this latest struggle in their “Capital v Capitol” story. The high profile national and international political theatre of DC standing up to Congress for its right to determine its own cannabis policy is incredible.

What also makes the victory in DC extra special for Dr. Bronner’s, is that Washington Post Magazine ran a frustrating cover story on our own Adam Eidinger in January, and editorialized against Yes on 71 with weak, out of touch drug war hysteria in September. Back in January, I wrote an unpublished letter to the editor standing up for Adam and our advocacy work, which the 2014 election has now vindicated.

My January 2014 Washington Post Magazine letter to the editor:

Your cover story on local DC activist Adam Eidinger chose to inaccurately portray him as an ineffective Don Quixote figure, belittling the causes he fights for as well as our company. As explained to the reporter, we cap executive compensation at five times that of the lowest paid warehouse worker, and no profits are distributed to owners for personal use. Profits not needed for business development are dedicated to the causes we support.

Adam is closely involved in how we strategically deploy resources to reform draconian drug laws that disproportionately target people of color; notably Washington, D.C. has the highest arrest rate for low level marijuana violations. Adam has also effectively helped build the national movement to label genetically engineered food crops. We are fighting the chemical industry machine that has enthralled much of our country’s elites, to expose their agenda to engineer resistance to the toxic chemical herbicides they sell (Google “Agent Orange Corn” to see what’s coming next).

There were moments when Adam’s true stature was portrayed, but ultimately was undermined by a shallow and frivolous anti-activist caricature.

As a sign of the political and cultural turning of the tide, it’s also worth noting that the New York Times called for ending cannabis prohibition nationally in a series of well-written editorials over the summer.

Pivoting to the fight for GMO labeling, the movement in its modern resurgent form is only a few years old, driven largely by widespread and growing alarm at ever-increasing amounts of toxic pesticides applied to genetically engineered crops. See for example Tom Philpott’s article “How GMOs Unleashed a Pesticide Gusher” in Mother Jones. Over 99% of GMO crops in US soil are engineered to produce insecticide and/or tolerate heavy herbicide use, which like overdosing antibiotics in factory farms has rapidly created resistance in target weed and insect populations. GMO crops are being saturated with ever more toxic pesticides, including neonicotinoid insecticides banned in the EU due to suspected link to massive bee die-offs and Colony Collapse Disorder. While this is great for the chemical industry that both sells the GMOs and the pesticides used on them, our environment and collective health are paying the price. 64 other countries have the right to know if their food is genetically engineered, but the chemical and junk food industry have spent tens of millions of dollars to make sure Americans are kept in the dark.

In the face of record spending by pesticide and junk food companies, the GMO labeling movement gained huge momentum and strength from narrow losses to enact mandatory GMO labeling in California in 2012 (Prop 37: 49 to 51) and Washington in 2013 (Initiative 522: 49 to 51), and set up major victories in 2014. In May, Vermont became the first state to enact mandatory labeling, and Jackson county in Oregon banned planting of GMO crops due to GMO sugarbeet pollen contaminating and ruining neighboring fields (Measure 15-119: 66 to 34). Maui also banned genetically engineered crops because of massive pesticide spraying (See Maui County Genetically Modified Organism Moratorium Initiative: 51 to 49). And statewide in Oregon, the Yes on 92 campaign came within five hundredths of one percent of winning (Measure 92: 49.97 to 50.03), showing friend and foe alike how easily we can win in a bigger 2016 presidential electorate. An underfunded effort in Colorado did not fare well, unfortunately, but it serves as an important movement lesson for 2016.

Dr. Bronner’s was a leading financial contributor to all these efforts, and also devoted significant staff time and other organizational resources, especially to the Oregon effort. Two great articles to review in particular are Katie Ayers’ “Oregon Poised to Mandate GMO Labeling” in Reader Supported News that really dives into the heart of the matter; and also this thorough piece in the Register Guard “Even If Defeated GMO Issue Is Not Going Away.”

Vermont, Jackson county and Maui are all currently being sued by the pesticide and junk food industries, and these industries are frantically lobbying Congress to pre-empt states’ rights to enact mandatory labeling of GMOs. They know that the nationwide movement to label GMOs continues to surge and grow in strength even as their major GMO traits continue to fail and pesticide use goes through the roof. The USDA audits chemical inputs every five years for major crops, and in spring of 2015 will publish updated data on herbicide and insecticide use on GMO corn that will force even the most biased journalists and scientists to confront the truth that GMOs amount to a massive pesticide industry boondoggle that is not boosting yields.

I published a popular Huffington Post blog article about major mainstream media publications running interference and covering for the pesticide industry even as EPA and USDA rubber-stamped approval for their next generation 2,4 D herbicide tolerant crops. We expect, as with the movement arc of ending cannabis prohibition, that more and more major media will wake up and get a clue; but those that don’t are just another obstacle on the way to inevitable victory.

The bottom line is, the GMO labeling movement is on fire and surging. We will likely prevail in one to two New England states legislatively in 2015, and as necessary in a major state in 2016 via the initiative process, as we keep bringing a bigger, better and more strategic fight. Like the narrow loss on the cannabis front with Prop 19 in 2010 in California, which educated and moved the debate forward setting up subsequent victories in 2012, the GMO labeling movement is poised to rack up major wins in 2016. But we are as likely to achieve victory through the market by 2016, as we are unleashing and fueling major cultural and market drivers and expect more and more food companies to flip and accept mandatory labeling just as they did in Europe. Chipotle is already disclosing and moving away from GMOs, as is Cheerios, Grape Nuts and other high profile brands. Whole Foods is mandating GMO labeling of all products by 2018 in its stores and many major mainstream retailers have refused to carry GMO salmon if or when approved.

Our experience with the movement to end cannabis prohibition over the past 15 years shows how much faster and stronger the modern movement to label GMOs is growing in a much shorter time. People are waking up that we have to transform our agricultural policies and dietary choices and eat more sustainably if we want to feed future generations, which requires as a first step that citizens are properly informed and empowered to make wise choices.

More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bronner/dr-bronners-yearend-repor_b_6357178.html

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