Why should you as a cannabis grower care that a federal jury just determined that Monsanto’s popular weed killer Roundup was a contributing cause of a California man’s cancer? Because GMO giant Monsanto is intimately connected with Scotts Miracle-Gro, a company that started trying to take over the hydroponics industry in 2015, via its front company Hawthorne LLC. Here’s the sad news: if you use General Hydroponics, Botanicare, Gavita, Vermicrop, Agrolux, Sunlight Supply, Can-Filters, Black Magic and other brands, you’re using Hawthorne products. And Scotts Miracle-Gro is the worldwide licensee for selling Monsanto’s Roundup.
Monsanto, which was acquired by corporate pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer in 2018, has been attempting to defend itself against at least 11,000 lawsuits related to Roundup and its key ingredient, glyphosate, which many scientists and public health officials say is terrible for the environment and also harms humans.
Last year, a California jury ruled that Monsanto failed to adequately warn a school groundskeeper about Roundup’s risks, even as the groundskeeper was constantly using the product in his job. The groundskeeper eventually was awarded $80 million in damages.
In the more-recent 2019 case, the jury determined that Roundup creates severe health risks and that Monsanto hadn’t properly warned the plaintiff, Edwin Hardemann, about the risks. Hardemann has been spraying Roundup for years to control plants and trees on his property, and was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015.
The trial isn’t over yet, as the jury will now be asked to determine whether Monsanto deliberately used propaganda techniques and scientific dishonesty to make Roundup appear safe for use. Bayer, of course claims Roundup is totally safe, and that it doesn’t contribute to cancer or any other human health problem. Legal experts say that now that two separate trials have ruled that Roundup is harmful, plaintiffs in the thousands of other Roundup cases are going to have a much easier time proving Bayer/Monsanto harmed them. Take a look at the following hilarious video, in which a Monsanto front man claims Roundup is safe enough to drink…until he’s offered a glass of it.
In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared glyphosate a probable carcinogen. But in 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) issued a draft human health risk assessment claiming glyphosate was most likely not carcinogenic to humans. The EPA’s claim is suspect, say those who oppose Roundup, because it relied partially on junk science reports secretly written by Monsanto shills that were presented by Monsanto as having been written by neutral scientists. Further, a top E.P.A. official who some say was paid off by Monsanto tried to shut down a federal examination of glyphosate’s harmfulness, and the E.P.A. has been gutted by the Trump administration, with hundreds of honest scientists fired or muzzled because their research on climate change and other issues clashed with the Trump administration’s pro-corporate agenda.
Nevertheless, the harms of glyphosate are becoming more and more evident. A report just released by the U.S. Public Research Group Education Fund says that five wines and 15 beers, including so-called organic products, were tested and found to contain glyphosate. The poison is widely used in vineyards. Countering Monsanto’s claims that glyphosate doesn’t persist in the environment or in food crops like wine grapes, a spokesman for Inkarri winery said the winery stopped using glyphosate in 2012 when it converted to organic farming methods, but studies show that glyphosate can linger in the soil for more than 20 years, making it difficult for organic growers to produce clean crops.Last August, glyphosate was found in dozens of popular oat-based breakfast foods like Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal and Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, according to a report by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group.
At the same time that Scotts Miracle-Gro has been aggressively trying to take over the hydroponics industry by buying hydroponics distributors like Sunlight Supply and major hydroponics nutrients companies such as General Hydroponics and Botanicare, it’s also been aggressively marketing Roundup.
Since 2016, Scotts Miracle-Gro has been spending a lot more money than before on pro-glyphosate propaganda, and has reportedly attempted to silence or discredit Roundup’s critics. When Scotts saw dozens of YouTube videos criticizing Scotts for being a corporate criminal, selling Roundup and being in bed with Monsanto, it spent a busload of money making fakey nicey-nice videos that portray Scotts Miracle-Gro as an environmental hero.
But really, it’s no surprise that Scotts Miracle-Gro is a propagandist and bully–it’s run by Jim Hagedorn, a former American military fighter pilot who likened his takeover of the hydroponics industry to a “war.” And a war it is…hydroponics retailers complain that Hawthorne pressures store owners to push Hawthorne products, or else risk punishment in the form of being shut out from the crucial Sunlight Supply hydroponics distribution network now owned by Scotts.
Hagedorn is also undercutting hydroponic stores by offering discounted wholesale prices on hydroponics supplies to stores like Walmart, Home Depot and Lowe’s. Some grow shop owners say that Hawthorne’s near-monopoly control of the hydroponics industry is putting independent, local stores out of business, and limiting the brand diversity for growing marijuana supplies. The former military pilot wants his companies to make all the products growers need, and also control distribution and retail of cultivation equipment and supplies. He views his takeover goal as similar to conquering and annexing territory in a war.
Scotts Miracle-Gro is an unsavory company for more reasons than its marketing of Roundup and its covert and overt moves to own huge percentages of the grow supplies marketplace. Indeed, Scotts and Monsanto have apparently had a long relationship with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), supplying the massive quantities of glyphosate sprayed by the DEA on cannabis and coca plants in South America. This spraying has reportedly caused terrible harm to people, plants and animals.
Scotts and Monsanto have paid millions of dollars in fines for violating environmental laws, and health and safety regulations. For example, a judicial process found that Scotts Miracle-Gro knowingly sold poisoned bird food and lied about it. The U.S. Department of Justice levied $12.5 million in criminal and civil penalties against Scotts.
In Bed With Hitler
In 2018, Monsanto was bought out for $66 billion by German pharmaceutical giant Bayer. Bayer has a nefarious history in its home country Germany, where it was founded in the 1860s as a medical products company. Bayer became part of the German chemical and pharmaceutical industry conglomerate IG Farben, from 1925 through 1952. During Hitler’s Third Reich and the horrific world war that followed, IG Farben was the primary chemical, refining, pharmaceutical, explosives and research provider to Hitler, and a major financial contributor to his cabal’s genocidal efforts against Europe’s Jewish population and the fascist group’s attempts to achieve world domination.
Many World War II historians assert that Hitler’s genocide couldn’t have been achieved without support provided from IG Farben. The Zyklon B cyanide-derived “pesticide” used to eradicate millions of Jewish people and other “undesirable” minorities in gas chambers was made and manufactured by an IG Farben subsidiary.
During the early part of the 20th century before World War II, Bayer made and sold Heroin, a trademarked brand name for an addictive, potentially fatal drug Bayer marketed as a benign cough suppressant and non-addictive alternative to morphine. In 1952, long after IG Farben execs were found guilty of war crimes and the company’s reputation lay in tatters, Farben was broken up into smaller companies, with Bayer acquiring many of Farben’s assets.
Although Bayer attempts to hide its long history of corporate criminality, its links to the Nazi Party and to IG Farben are undeniable. In the late 1950s, Bayer’s supervisory board chairman was Fritz ter Meer, a former Farben executive who helped plan extermination camps and was a leader in using slave labor in Auschwitz extermination camps. He was sentenced during the Nuremberg Trials to seven years in prison, but following his release, he was hired by Bayer to its board of directors!
Bayer has acquired marketing rights for GW Pharmaceuticals’ Sativex, a pharmaceutical-grade medical marijuana product made from whole cannabis extracts, and there are rumors that the Bayer, Monsanto, Hawthorne, Scotts Miracle-Gro consortium is working on genetically-modified marijuana, and is trying to figure out how to take over the marijuana seeds and clone industry, perhaps by acquiring intellectual property patents for specific cannabis strains and genetic lineages.
If you believe you were injured by Roundup or any other Monsanto, Bayer or Scotts Miracle-Gro product, you could contact an attorney and see if a lawsuit is worthwhile. Beyond that, the one thing all of us marijuana growers can do against these disgusting companies is to boycott their products.
Many marijuana growers already boycott General Hydroponics (GH), Botanicare, Gavita and the other Hawthorne brands. It’s easy to find superior alternatives to Hawthorne brands, so it’s not like your grow op goals will suffer if you switch away from General Hydroponics to better hydroponics nutrients such as Advanced Nutrients.
Many of us thought that when big-money Scotts Miracle-Gro bought GH and Botanicare that they’d do scientific cannabis nutrients research to improve GH and Botanicare products, which are made for tomatoes, not cannabis.
Instead, according to GH employees I’ve talked to and whose honesty I can’t accurately gauge, Scotts and Hawthorne are starving GH and Botanicare, taking advantage of brand name recognition, but not fixing those brands’ product problems, such as the tendency of GH hydroponics base nutrients to have inferior pH buffers.
In fact, I know many growers who got rid of their Hawthorne products such as Gavita grow lights and General Hydroponics nutrients, and found that the brands they replaced them with were more reliable, and gave them heavier yields of more-potent buds!
You can also fight back against Scotts Miracle-Gro and its corporate criminal partners by refusing to buy grow op supplies at big box stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Walmart, and by supporting your local hydroponics grow shop.
The home grower, small-scale, connoisseur and craft marijuana growing and selling industry is threatened by many things, including behemoth corporate, licensed marijuana grow ops and legal sellers. But all of us involved with cannabis in the white market or black market recognize the dangers of a Scotts/Bayer/Monsanto consortium controlling the grow industry more and more.
Those of us who care about human health and the fate of the environment will do everything we can to avoid giving even one penny of our money to Scotts Miracle-Grow, Hawthorne, and the companies and products they market. If you know anyone still using Hawthorne products, please forward this article to them. If they have a conscience and want to make the world a better place, they’ll stop using products from brands owned by Hawthorne.