News On The Green

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Plumbing the Depths

committed opponent of medical marijuana access in Utah is engaging a multi-pronged offensive against Proposition 2, a statewide ballot initiative to legalize possession and use of medical marijuana for qualifying patients. As noted in Salt Lake Tribune coverage, a lawsuit filed by Mormon landlord and lawyer Walter J. Plumb, III, hinges on whether his property rights would be violated if he is compelled to rent property to cannabis users. Plumb, a former law practice partner of Sen. Orrin Hatch, initially filed the suit on religious freedom grounds citing enforced proximity and association with cannabis users and precedents set by federal cannabis law.

LDS faith is no longer at the heart of this Prop. 2 lawsuit, but Utahns’ ability to vote on the initiative rests with the court’s impending ruling on Plumb’s suit. On Thursday, Aug. 23 the Mormon Church issued an official statement opposing the medical cannabis ballot initiative. Drug Safe Utah, a political action group that also opposes Prop. 2, was largely funded by a $100,000 contribution made by Plumb. An opposition ad created by Drug Safe Utah begin airing Wednesday, Aug. 29 on metro-area country radio station 101.5 The Eagle (KEGA) but was yanked off the air in response to 53 complaints received by the station that weekend,
according to the Salt Lake Tribune. On Wednesday, Sept. 5 Utah Patients Coalition, a pro-Prop. 2 PAC, filed an official election complaint charging that Drug Safe Utah’s ad uses false, misleading statements in an attempt to influence Utah voters.

Lab-grown THC + CBD?

High Times reports, a strategic partnership between Boston biotech outfit Gingko Bioworks and Canadian cannabis conglomerate Cronos Group aims to sequence the cannabis plant genomes responsible for production of sought-after phytocannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The collaboration’s overriding goal is laboratory synthesis and production of these rare cannabinoids. That scientific breakthrough would allow manufacturers and growers to produce extracts and whole plants that feature cannabinoid quantities and combinations that are impossible to achieve by selective breeding alone.

Gingko Bioworks likens these anticipated scientific and medical cannabinoid innovations to “brewery economics,” a reference to bioengineered improvements in commercial alcohol production. Potential agricultural and medical advancements range from the metaphorical holy grail—halting or reversing the growth of cancerous cells—to the discovery of wildly profitable recreational cannabinoid doses and combinations. As a metaphor, a “Jurassic Park” populated by towering cannabis plants with superpowered genetics fails to express the real-world potential of Gingko and Cronos’ research partnership.

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