Would Legalization of Marijuana Benefit Agriculture

Would Legalization of Marijuana Benefit Agriculture
William Murray Science and Technology Division 13 April 1993
Library of Parliament Research Branch
Cannabis sativa is a tall, stout, strong-smelling annual plant of the mulberry family. It is cultivated for its fiber, oil, and stimulant products, including marijuana and hashish. It is native to Central Asia, but grows as a weed throughout the temperate regions of the world. It can grow to heights of 5 meters; however, in Canada the short growing season generally limits the plant to a height of 2 meters. For good growth Cannabis sativa requires rich soils and mild, humid climates. It grows well on the rich farmland areas of Ontario and Quebec, and arable coastal regions of British Columbia. It does not grow well on the Prairies because of low soil moisture.

The Narcotic Control Act (R.S.C. 1985, c. N-1) states in section 6 that “no person shall cultivate . . . marijuana except under the authority of, and in accordance with, a license issued to the person under the regulations.” “Marijuana” is defined in the Act to mean Cannabis sativa. It is the use of this plant, as a narcotic, that the Act and its Regulations are intended to control. Thus, the Act restricts the cultivation of marijuana to only those circumstances allowed under the Regulations. The Narcotic Control Regulations (C.R.C. 1978), as amended stipulate in section 67 that the Minister of Health and Welfare may issue a license to any person who applies to cultivate marijuana for scientific purposes. Accordingly, the growing of marijuana as an agricultural cash crop is not allowed under the Regulations. Consequently, as confirmed by health and Welfare’s Bureau of Dangerous Drugs, today marijuana is not grown legally anywhere in Canada for purposes other than scientific investigations.

It was recently reported that the annual retail value of marijuana grown in the city of Vancouver alone was $750 million(1). According to the B.C. Minister of Agriculture, Ron Charles, profits from marijuana operations are three times greater than from dairy production, B.C.’s most valuable farm industry at $245 million per year(2). It might be possible, through amendments to the current Act and Regulations, and through strict cultivation, distribution and marketing regulations, to redirect illegal marijuana profits to legitimate agricultural operations.

A. Obstacles
In order to redistribute some of the profits of a marijuana industry to the agricultural sector the price of marijuana and hashish would have to be controlled. Unlike the distillation of spirits, the cultivation and curing of marijuana (i.e., legal cultivation, possession, consumption and sale) could potentially stimulate the practice of “home-growing” marijuana. This would lead to low market demand, over-supply and a significant drop in the unit price of marijuana. In addition, it must be realized that while marijuana has a high unit value, the actual volume of product marketed is quite low. Consumption levels of marijuana are measured in grams not kilograms. Accordingly, the potential does not exist for the conversion of vast acres of farmland to a new high-priced cash crop.

B. Solutions
For Canadian agriculture to benefit from marijuana as a legal cash crop, the existing legislation and regulations would have to be amended. Regulations that strictly controlled the cultivation, processing and marketing of marijuana products would have to be in place, while the laws prohibiting possession and consumption would have to be liberalized.

A permit or quota system, similar in concept to the milk quota system now used to control dairy surpluses, would be required. A permit might stipulate such criteria as the number of acres allowed for cultivation, the genetic variety to be grown, security requirements, pesticide limitations, as well as quote the guaranteed government purchase price. Quotas might be purchased by farmers, or awarded on a lottery basis. In this manner a portion of farm income could be freed from the uncertainty of fluctuations in the market prices. Controlled cultivation of marijuana could therefore contribute to both agricultural diversification and more secure farm incomes.

Strict controls on marijuana processing and distribution could extend the economic benefits of legalized marijuana beyond the agricultural sector to the processing, packaging and transportation industries. The sale of marijuana and marijuana products through government-controlled outlets would offer additional employment opportunities. Finally, marijuana, like alcoholic beverages, could be used to generate substantial tax revenues. Such revenues could be specifically directed to the support of agricultural programs.


Greg Middleton, “Marijuana Hits New High in B.C., to Become the Province’s Largest Cash Crop,” The Ottawa Citizen, 6 December 1992, p. A5.
Choosing and Obtaining Your Desired Marijuana Strain
Choosing and Obtaining Your Desired Marijuana Strain

It’s very important to start with good cannabis genetics. What are good marijuana genetics? You tell us. Do you enjoy that hard hitting, sedative stone, that puts you to sleep? Do you enjoy the soaring euphoric cerebral qualities that will leave you in a hazed fluster? Or perhaps a little of both?

There are three distinguished variations of the medical marijuana plant. These three variations include Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis.

Cannabis Sativa is a hard plant to grow indoors due to high lighting requirements, tall stature, and late flowering traits. Sativas come from equatorial regions, thus the necessity for high amounts of lighting and a warmer tropic-subtropic climate. You can identify a Sativa by its long, slender, finger-like leaves. A Sativa will typically produce a euphoric, energetic, cerebral high. Despite the Sativa’s climatic limitations, they are truly a reward to obtain, grow, and smoke. A pure Sativa will take 2 to 4 months to finish flowering.

Cannabis Indica is a great plant to grow indoors as well as outdoors due to its low lighting requirements and tight internode spacing, also offering resistance to fungus and pests, early maturation tendencies, and dense flower production. Indicas come from colder climates exhibiting the traits described above by acclimating to the environment from whence they came. Their stout stature and extremely wide leaflets make them easy to identify. An Indica generally produces a hard hitting, tiresome, sedative stone, and will take around 45 to 60 days to finish flowering.

Cannabis Ruderalis is not a very good choice for flower production, indoors or out. Despite maintaining a short stature, growing only one to five feet tall, and maturing rather quickly, Ruderalis just doesn’t produce the yield or quality one looks for in their flowers. A slight light cycle reduction can trigger a sprout with as little as 2 to 3 leaf sets to flower. Ruderalis spontaneously initiates flowering a few weeks after sprouting, and will not produce decent flowers unless the photoperiod provides around 18 to 19 hours of light. Even then, the yield and quality are less than desirable, incomparable to that of the Sativa or Indica sub-species.

You didn’t think we’d forget to mention Hybrids, did you? Hybrids can carry the best of both worlds regarding high and growth patterns in their genetic makeup, some will not. A Hybrid has potential to exhibit every good trait one looks for when breeding. A rather common Hybrid is hard hitting, euphoric, energetic, dense, and stout, making that particular hybrid the perfect all around plant for someone looking for that particular high, growing indoors, as well as out. It all comes down to your growing conditions and personal preference.

Attempt to find seeds from local gardeners that have been acclimated to the local climate conditions, and carry the best floral characteristics – potency, aroma, flavor, vigorous growth, early maturation, resistance to fungus and pests. Look for seeds that are dark brown or light grey. Some may have dark lines inset into these colors, like tiger stripes. White, small seeds are immature and should not be planted. All of these factors are considered by the seasoned gardener.

You will benefit enormously by finding a friend to get you started. However, some of us are not fortunate enough to find these “friends” to aid in our seed need, so we go international. Ordering your seeds from an online Seedbank becomes ideal in this scenario. Seedbanks are a great place to search for specific breeds you’ve grown rather fond of, as well.
Indoor Marijuana Growers Guide Intro
There are few things in life as good as your own herbs, grown by yourself at home out in the garden and indoors in pots… Oregano, Dill, Basil, Sage and other herbs are all easy to grow. Mint will take over the whole yard if you let it. Fresh mint and cilantro are incredible in salads and oriental dishes. But, it all comes down to a truly motivational herb that is your friend and mine, a great healer and teacher to those that know it well.
Most people think of gardens as a seasonal, yearly project, but it’s actually less time consuming and more rewarding to keep the garden going year round. If one were to attempt to grow year round, indoor gardening techniques will be needed at least during winter to keep the garden producing. You will have herb fresh at all times, there is no worry of mass storage thru the winter and spring, it requires less space, and once established, requires only minimal attention every week to keep it producing at optimal levels.

The best part of being a gardener is it connects you to the earth. It connects you with nature, and is spiritually enriching. Try giving your plants energy by beaming good thoughts and energy at them every time you visit them. I find this helps me as much as it helps them; my plants seem to respond to it favorably.
Effects of Marijuana on Fetus
Marijuana, Fetal Development, Birth Defects
Given evidence that THC affects female reproductive function, one might expect it to have a potentially adverse effect on the outcome of pregnancy.

There is a possibility that THC, and possibly other cannabinoids, are teratogens, (i.e. substances that may interfere with the normal development of the fetus in utero).

The animal evidence indicates that in sufficient dosage cannabis can produce resorption, growth retardation, and malformations in mice, rats, rabbits, and hamsters (Bloch, 1983, p406).

Growth resorption and growth retardation have been more consistently reported than birth malformations (Abel, 1985).

There is also evidence that cannabis increases rates of malformations but the doses required to reliably produce malformations have been very high.

Such effects have been observed more often after the administration of crude marijuana extract than pure THC, suggesting that other cannabinoids may be involved in producing any teratogenic effects and not THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

Some have argued, for example, that the malformations may be a consequence of reduced nutrition caused by the aversive properties of the large doses of cannabis used in these studies.

Hollister (1986) has also discounted the animal research data, arguing that virtually every drug that has ever been studied for dysmorphogenic effects has been found to have them if the doses are high enough, if enough species are tested, or if treatment is prolonged.

Similar views have been expressed by Abel (1985) and by Bloch (1983), who concluded that THC was unlikely to be teratogenic in humans because the few reports of teratogenicity in rodents and rabbits indicate that cannabinoids are, at most, weakly teratogenic in these species.

Chromosomal Abnormalities & Genetic Effects
It has been speculated that teratogenesis could conceivably produce chromosomal abnormalities or genetic change in either parent which could be transmitted to their progeny.

Although possible, there is no animal or human evidence that such events occur. The experimental evidence indicates that in vivo and in vitro exposure to purified cannabinoids or cannabis resin failed to increase the frequency of chromosomal damage or mutagenesis (Bloch, 1983, p412).

Marijuana smoke exposure, by contrast, has been associated with chromosomal aberrations [such as] hypoploidy, mutagenicity.

The latter fact means it is more likely that the person who smokes marijuana is at more of a risk of cancers from exposure to cannabis smoke rather than to the risks of transmissible genetic defects in their offspring.

Hollister concluded that even if a small increase in chromosomal abnormalities is produced by cannabis, the clinical significance is doubtful.

Conclusion, unless you smoke in excess of three grams (6 to 10 joints) of marijuana a day, everyday you are pregnant, it is very unlikely that you will damage your unborn baby.

This is not to say that you should use any drug or medication while pregnant. You will not do any good to your baby if you use marijuana while pregnant.

National Drug Strategy Monograph Series No. 25,
Health And Psychological Consequences Of Cannabis Use
By Lynn M. Johnson, 1998