Protecting The Fluid Genome: Cannabis/Hemp vs. Genetic Engineering & Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs)

The following is the preamble/introduction to our upcoming (in-press 2020) policy paper Protecting The Fluid Genome: Cannabis/Hemp vs. Genetic Engineering & Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs) which we are publishing to inform and guide the decisionmaking of our company (and our collaborators & partners) on a topic that’s critical for our organization (and the entire cannabis hemp industry especially as it up-scales) to get right: the beneficial aka ecologically-appropriate/net-positive use vs. avoidance of various plant breeding, genetic analysis, genetic modification and genetic engineering/GMO techniques & technologies. If you would like a preview/work-in-progress copy of the entire paper and/or to join our peer review team please inquire.





The global cannabis hemp industry is at a crossroads, the fate of our planet and its ecosystems (and the very survival of life as we know it) hangs in the balance of the decisions we make as cannabis/hemp producers, consumers and public policymakers:


The recent mammoth up-scaling of the cannabis/hemp industry also up-scales the potential impacts (both positive and negative) our industry can have on the myriad of ecosystems and environments we touch in the course of doing business. Earth’s ecosystems are already degraded to critical tipping points where large-scale ecological collapse is the consensus forecast [see Limits To Growth and Limits To Growth: The 30 Year Update] unless collective human industry and society accelerates progress in a drastically more sustainable direction. 


Large-scale industrialized (aka unsustainable) agriculture (including widespread artificial genetic engineering and its biological collateral damage for a handful of humanity’s core food & fiber crops) [see Failure To Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops] has significantly contributed to our planet’s widespread ecological degradation [see Millennium Ecosystem Assessment] and novel unexpected negative impacts of ecologically-inappropriate genetic engineering techniques continue to be discovered at multiple levels and scales (genome/cell → human/organism/ecosystem). We are collectively realizing that genetically engineered crops are a failed experiment, already causing toxic (even fatal) unanticipated and irreversible impacts to humans, animals, and the ecosystems we all depend on [see The New Genetics and Natural versus Artificial Genetic Modification]. 


Until recently, cannabis/hemp’s slice of the overall agriculture pie – and therefore the cannabis/hemp sector’s ecological impact – has been relatively minor, or it’s been mostly underground, off the radar and not well-measured. However, the recent boom/expansion of the legal cannabis industry (which shows no signs of abating) means we are now operating at scales where our collective actions will have huge and decisive impacts on the ecosystems we operate within and depend on – our industry has matured to the point of having great power, and with that power comes great responsibility – the choices we (as business leaders, policymakers, and consumers who vote with our dollars) make now, as the age of Big Cannabis dawns, will determine whether our industry either helps save the planet, or finishes destroying it…


The global court of public opinion [see Public Perspectives on Food Risks] (along with an increasing body of scientific evidence which we review in this paper) has already overwhelmingly decided in favor of keeping GMOs and artificial genetic engineering out of our crop fields, grocery stores, the food supply chain, our bodies and our ecosystems – it’s high time everyone in the cannabis hemp industry catches up!


At The Da Ma Collective (a cannabis/hemp research, education & publishing company) one of our core values is a conscious commitment to traveling the sustainable path by operating our business in harmony with ecological and whole-systems principles & laws, we reflect this sustainability commitment in our business policies and procedures.

We’ve prepared this policy paper and literature review/compilation to help guide the decisionmaking of our company (along with our business partners, policymakers, consumers and stakeholders) on the topic of cannabis hemp vs. genetic engineering and genetically-modified organisms...



  1. The Limits To Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project On The Predicament Of Mankind, Donella & Dennis Meadows et al, Universe Books New York, 1972

  2. Limits To Growth: The 30-Year Update, Meadows Randers & Meadows, Earthscan/International Institute for Environment and Development, London, 2005

  3. Failure To Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops, Doug Gurian-Sherman & Union of Concerned Scientists, Cambridge Massachusetts, 2009 

  4. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Volume 1 - Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Current State and Trends and Volume 2 – Scenarios, Island Press, Washington DC, 2005

  5. The New Genetics and Natural versus Artificial Genetic Modification, Mae Wan Ho, Entropy 2013, 15, 4748-4781; doi:10.3390/e15114748

  6. Public Perspectives on Food Risks, Pew Research Center, Washington DC, November 2018

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Milking Nature's Bottom Line (the hidden costs of unsustainable agriculture)

When our founders were taking a break from the hemp/cannabis industry, we founded a top-shelf global management consultancy that helped business & government leaders increase revenue, reduce risk, and drive positive change by optimizing the performance of environmental, organizational, and human capital. Sweet spots included ecosystem services, sustainable agriculture & agroecology, sustainability, triple-bottom-line accounting, change management, Systems Theory, education training & development. Including playing a leadership role in developing the new ANSI-based US National Sustainable Agriculture Standard...


We have a broad long-range perspective on global ecological issues and unfortunately are seeing increasing troubling reports (in the same ecology journals we used to read when sustainability consulting) that the Green Rush (booming cannabis industry) needs to be a lot greener....


We retain our passion for sustainability/ecology issues and promote efforts that increase the environmental & social performance of the cannabis industry. Stay tuned for updates.


Here is a full-cost-accounting report we authored on the environmental & social costs (to the surrounding community) ($5M annual net economic loss!) of an unsustainable agriculture development.  While this report is about animal agriculture (CAFOs/factory-farms) not cannabis, we are presenting it as a caution to the canna-industry of what can happen when agriculture grows in an unsustainable direction...

Milking Nature's Bottom Line: The Hidden Costs of Unsustainable Agriculture