Colson: Watch for a ‘Frankenpot’ federal turnaround |

Colson: Watch for a ‘Frankenpot’ federal turnaround

with John Colson

I was sitting around talking about life, the universe and everything with a fellow traveler who came to visit last weekend, when we got to chatting about the Monsanto corporation’s designs on the pot industry, and what that might mean.

If Monsanto or any other corporate entity starts monkeying around with efforts to make a Genetically Modified Organism of the cannabis variety, which we will here dub “Frankenpot,” the results might not be what we think they will be.

Before we get much further, I should note that this “story” about GMO pot has been making the rounds of Internet news sites and blogs for at least two years, the latest being a bulletin from the World News Daily Report in early April.

“Monsanto creates first genetically modified strain of marijuana,” the WNDR site trumpeted in early April.

But, according to another alternative-news website,, the WNDR “is a fake website” that openly admits to its rather loose adherence to accuracy in reporting, sort of like that other popular disseminator of fiction as fact, The Onion.

The Mintpress story about the WNDR story, however, notes that the WNDR report was “merely capitalizing on what appears to be a popular urban legend,” citing similar reports in such trusted publications as Cannabis Culture and an Israeli agribusiness news organ, BreedIT.

BreedIT, by the way, is busily working away on its own GMO cannabis, according to a Dec. 3, 2014 story on its website.

Meanwhile, the Cannabis Culture post ties Monsanto’s supposed efforts in with other well-known corporations, including Syngenta, BASF, Bayer, Dow and Dupont.

Cannabis Culture writer Tracy Glesz-Ramsay is quoted as writing that all of the above-named corporate entities have “developed a keen interest in this still-illegal plant, as well.”

I find that reference intriguing, mainly because both Dow and Dupont have been accused of having been in league with the successful U.S. campaign to demonize marijuana back in the 1930s, under the governmental imprimatur of this country’s first-ever drug czar, Harry J. Anslinger. The corporate support came out of the theory that pot and its non-intoxicating cousin, hemp, posed a threat to the corporations’ bottom lines in medicine and industrial products.

Anslinger, interestingly, had earlier been a key figure in the U.S. Bureau of Prohibition, which oversaw that failed attempt to curb Americans’ appetites for booze, before he was named head of the newly created Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930.

So, the circle appears truly to have been unbroken.

Anslinger was an anti-drug adviser to presidents up to and including John F. Kennedy, and had a disproportionate hand in keeping marijuana and hemp at the top of federal drug interdiction efforts for the past 80-plus years, which has helped the corporations get fat and happy in a pot-free business environment.

But now that the floodgates have opened on the legalization of marijuana, in a veritable consumer revolution, it is logical to think that the Monsanto/Dow/Dupont corporate cabal wants to plant its big boots firmly in the middle of what could be the most profitable market in the world.

In fact, given how corporations now sit in the catbird seat worldwide, and are the driving force in everything from wars to famine to handling epidemics, it would be nearly unthinkable that corporate boards of directors have not given marching orders to corner the market on all things cannabis.

Given all that, it was highly amusing to take a peek at Monsanto’s own website,, where the corporation vehemently denies having anything to do with GMO marijuana.

“The allegation is an Internet rumor and lie,” the site declares hotly.

As Shakespeare’s Queen Gertrude noted in the play “Hamlet,” with considerable irony, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

Now, if the corporations truly are dabbling in GMO marijuana experiments, it won’t be long before we see a national law legalizing the cultivation, manufacture, possession, sale and use of the long-repressed weed.

As we all know, what Corporate American wants from the government, it gets.

It has not mattered a whit that millions of lives have been ruined by prosecution and imprisonment thanks to our government’s anti-marijuana crusade over the decades, or that we have wasted countless opportunities to improve the lives of sufferers from a variety of ailments and diseases, or even that the government itself has lost untold billions in potential tax revenues that might have resulted from pot’s legalization.

No, what matters is that obscenely wealthy corporations and their equally wealthy upper management can get even richer by taking over the cannabis industry.

And the government is only too happy to oblige their Captains of Industry.

Now, as a firm supporter of legalized cannabis nationwide, I should be happy about all this, but I find myself feeling conflicted.

I cannot help but remember that the law of unintended consequences has slapped us across the face too often in the past to be ignored, and Frankenpot might be one genie we want to keep in the bottle.

Aspen Times Weekly

This week in Aspen history

“Without any exception the worst snow storm known since the advent of the railroad west of Leadville has been raging over the crest of the continental divide since last Thursday,” asserted the Aspen Tribune on January 31, 1899.

See more