Friday, August 17, 2007

Transgenic marijuana

Technology, be it violent or otherwise, accrues first to the benefit of the powerful, and then permeates lower layers of society.

So while agricultural consortiums and biology labs have reaped the benefits of jigging around DNA in everything from corn to cauliflower, an article in Mexico’s “La Jornada” would suggest the frontier of marijuana has been crossed, by less, shall we say, “respectable” lights.

The article, written by one Javier Flores, actually ran back in February and the scribe has kept it laying around for a hot summer day such as this when writing about the Bush administration seemed just too distasteful.

According to Flores, a strain of “transgenic marijuana,” the genetic information for which has been artificially manipulated, was uncovered in a two-ton shipment uncovered by Brazilian police.

“El Observador” a newspaper out of Montevideo, Uruguay, claims the new weed can be smoked in public because it does not emit the blue grass scent normally associated with maryjane.

Of course, that won’t help us here in the world’s freest country because smoking anything at all is about to be made illegal.

Read the scribe’s literary dramatization of this trend in

“The Sidewalk Smokers Club,” a fine novel if ever one were written.

But enough scribe-promotion. Among other characteristics associated with the new strain are that it possessed nine times the amount of delta-9-tetrahidrocanibinol - known colloquially as THC - than the normal stuff, making it five times as potent.

It, reportedly, is grown in Paraquay and then exported to the delight of stoners in Argentina, Uruguay, and obviously, Brazil where that big bust went down.

Flores goes on to magnify an otherwise suppressed report by a Mexican general named Manuel García who came across the genetically altered cannabis during a military eradication effort in Michoacán.

General Garcia claims the plant is resistant to herbicides or as Flores puts it, “the spraying of plants with poison from the air.”

Furthermore, it sprouts lower to the ground - making it harder to detect - requires less land area to grow, possesses a shorter planting-to-harvest cycle, and kicks ass like the stuff they discovered in the Brazil bust.

There may be no connection between the Mexican variety and that generated on the Latin continent, but if there were it would, “reveal a relationship between drug cartels in the area of science.”

Flores said he uses the expression “transgenic marijuana” guardedly since there is no scientific evidence to back any of the claims currently circulating beneath the radar. He meditates on what the actual genetic tampering of drugs would mean, points to an increase in research and development on the part of the cultivators, strains of further potency and resistance, and an overall modernization of narcotrafficking.

He noted that, given the illegal status of the substance in question, it remains doubtful that establishment scientists and laboratories will do any work to confirm the fact of a genetic reordering for the happy grass.

“To confirm it would be to confirm a contribution by the illegal drug business of new tools for investigation,” Flores wrote. “We need only think of all the treatment possiblities with THC for numerous infirmities.”

Because he writes in a country that is not free, Flores is free to conclude that, in order to determine what effects such new marijuana strains might have on the human body, “the solution would be the legalization of drugs, through which we’d simultaneously end narcotraffic and regularize the production and distribution of substances that guarantee the protection of our health and environment.”

Haven’t heard that one from Mitt Romney yet.

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