Marijuana is big business, fueled in part by legalization across the country. And it’s a big business that has made small business owners who grow weed increasingly queasy, going so far as to oppose this past fall’s Prop 64 on the grounds that it would potentially wipe out the mom-and-pop dealers that have made pot their livelihood.
Today some industry leaders are doing what they can to keep that from happening. While Monsanto says that it is not working on a GMO marijuana strain there’s a reason a rumor that it was went viral — the marijuana industry is at a turning point to what direction it will grow.
In recent days, a rumor that Monsanto would be cashing in on a GMO marijuana strain — that’s since been shot down by Snopes — went viral, sparking outrage.
One person leading the charge is Mowgli Holmes, the chief scientific officer at the biotechnology startup, Phylos Bioscience.
“We fucking hate Monsanto,” Holmes recently told Vocativ. “If we can’t find a way to create a craft, artisanal industry, where lots of little people who really lavish love on interesting plants can be involved, and we just get this Anheuser-Busch industry, it’s going to suck.”
Phylos Bioscience, co-founded by Holmes, is a Portland-based startup that is attempting to sequence the DNA of every existent strain of marijuana through genomic sequencing. So far its team has documented more than 1,000 strains, making it the largest database of marijuana in the world. This categorization is done with the goal of helping the growers — Holmes believes that the work will bring transparency to the market and enable them to create new “crazy, wild weed.”
Holmes tells Vocativ that he hopes new strains will help smaller businesses stay afloat while the market grows. Ideally they could operate like wine or craft beer businesses, where economic competition is based off different strains of hard-to-find flavors that — in an ideal pot-opia — can one day be purchased for your family’s Christmas.