Near the end of an article in this Sunday’s New York Times magazine, Can Weeds Help Solve the Climate Crisis?, the following paragraph jumped out at me:
Developing techniques for managing weeds in a time of global climate change will be essential to the world’s agricultural future, and the U.S.D.A. researchers, though they have been starved of essential financing, lead the world in this field. (There is one exception, Ziska admits; his Web searches have revealed that marijuana growers have an amazingly detailed knowledge of how CO2 enrichment affects their crop. But as Ziska points out, they don’t publish in scientific journals.) Possession of this expertise could be a great economic asset to the United States, both for the protection it could provide to our own harvests and as an intellectual export that is sure to be much in demand in other countries.
For me, this conjured a Bruce Sterling-like near-future scenario where uncredentialed pot growers get snapped up by big agribusiness and shadowy government research facilities, a twenty-first-century variation on the MK Ultra theme. Only, this time, it’s for a good cause. We promise.