Washington: I-502 Marijuana Production Manager Advocates GMO Cannabis
By Steve Elliott
One supposes it was predictable. A production manager at a licensed Washington recreational marijuana producer, has endorsed genetically modified marijuana in an interview with the CannabisRadio.com network.
Tyler Markwart, founder of Allele Seeds and production manager/breeder at Monkey Grass Farms, is a proponent of GMO cannabis and argued in the interview that many potential benefits could come from genetically modifying strains.
"The idea is you could remove the cold resistant genes from a salmon and put it in a plant, allowing that plant to exhibit better growth conditions under freezing temperatures or near freezing temperatures," said Markwart, who said he studied organic agriculture "and philosophy" at Washington state University, and writes for High Times, the Northwest Leaf, Ladybud and Culture. (It would presumably just be too easy to grow non-GMO, non-salmon weed in non-freezing conditions.)
"It hits really two main people when we want to talk about it: the growers and it also hits the end consumer at the same time," Markwart said. "The growers are looking to be profitable, that's mainly their goal so that they can have another season to plant another round of crop and live and pay their bills like everybody else."
"The consumer, in the long run, is looking for a good quality product at a low cost that they can continue to get at a regular consistency," Markwart claimed. And apparently, in his mind, the consumer won't mind if that "good quality" weed has been genetically modified.
Markwart haughtily dismisses as "mass hysteria" the well-founded concerns many cannabis consumers -- particularly patients with chronic health challenges and, in many cases, compromised immune systems and liver function -- have expressed about GMO weed.
"I guess it really comes down to what are you concerned about in your cannabis as far as genetic engineering goes and a lot of it comes to mass hysteria," he pronounced. I guess that settles it, eh?
Not content to advocate genetic modification of cannabis, Markwart also spoke dismissively of organic farming.
"I, as a teenager, went through this strictly organic camp and was like, 'No GMOs, blah, blah, blah, none of that. That's all horrible,' and I progressed into going to the lab at WSU where I got a real education on what was happening and I was able to get a better understanding of the technology," he said smugly.
"It really is difficult to have a discussion with people when they just continue to say, 'Hey, GMOs are bad,' and it’s like we have to sit there and discuss what actually a GMO is and then we break out," said Markwart, who evidently feels we should leave it up to bought-and-sold "experts" like himself -- you know, the ones who stand to financially gain if we follow their advice.
"It’s very difficult to get past that when it’s a very difficult subject to understand," Markwart helpfully offers.
Photo of Tyler J. Markwart: Facebook