Why would Neil Young, the famous singer, wild man, and activist, want you to stop spending money on products made, sold and distributed by Scotts Miracle-Gro, Gavita Lighting, General Hydroponics, Botanicare, Hawthorne Gardening, Sunlight Supply, Monsanto, and Bayer? And why should you even give a damn about what Neil Young wants? Here’s the answer…
Scotts Miracle-Gro used to be just a large corporation that made crappy, cheap fertilizers, poisons, and other gardening and lawn products. A few years ago, sniffing money to be made in the hydroponics and marijuana growing industries, Scotts Miracle-Gro founder and former fighter pilot Jim Hagedorn decided to wage what he called a commercial war to take over the hydroponics manufacturing, distribution, and grow shop industries.
Hagedorn used a front company called Hawthorne Gardening to buy General Hydroponics, Gavita, Botanicare, Sunlight Supply and many other hydroponics businesses.
Sunlight Supply is one of a handful of major distribution hubs that provides supplies to grow shops. According to hydroponics retailers, Hawthorne and Sunlight pressure grow stores to sell Hawthorne brands, even when those brands are inferior to competing brands. If the grow store won’t bend over for Hawthorne, it risks being cut off from Sunlight Supply distribution.
Most marijuana growers care deeply about the environment, human health, the quality of their marijuana crops, and the drug war. When they learned that Scotts Miracle-Gro, a company that markets Roundup and other poison and is part of a corporate gang that includes GMO company Monsanto and international chemical, pharmaceutical and consumer products company Bayer, the growers who cared enough decided they’d fight back against the corporate takeover of the hydroponics industry by boycotting Hawthorne brands.
Growers who had been using General Hydroponics nutrients, Gavita double-ended grow lights, and other Hawthorne-acquired brands switched to different brands when their Hawthorne products needed replacement.
The boycott was inspired by a general dislike of corrupt corporations, and Bayer’s long history certainly qualifies it as corrupt. In fact, Bayer has a nefarious corporate biography including collaboration with Adolf Hitler.
Monsanto makes Roundup, which has been implicated as an environmentally-dangerous, carcinogenic product in several high-profile court cases. Despite the increasing evidence that Roundup harms humans, other animals and the environment, the Trump administration’s corporate-friendly Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has gone to war against California regulators who want to put a warning label on Roundup and similar poisons!
Advocates for public health and environmental safety describe the current EPA, headed by wealthy elites hostile to the environment and safety regulations, as “pesticide cheerleaders.”
Scotts Miracle-Gro sold poisoned bird food that killed hundreds of thousands of birds, and covered it up until federal investigators discovered the truth and levied a huge penalty against them. Scotts and Monsanto supply Roundup and other poisons that American drug warriors spray on coca, marijuana, people, animals and ecosystems in South America.
If these reasons aren’t enough to make someone boycott these companies, recent reports of Monsanto going to war against journalists and Neil Young provide plenty of ammunition for a boycott.
You might be asking why Monsanto would hate Neil Young and why Neil Young hates Monsanto. Recent court documents have shown that Monsanto instructed Republican politicians to attack and de-fund the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), after the IARC stated that the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup (glyphosate) is likely to cause cancer.
Young has long used his music industry fame to campaign against agricultural poisons, GMOs, corrupt corporations, and harmful farming practices. Famous musician and cannabis advocate Willie Nelson has also been active in those same causes. Neil and Willie have often played together onstage at Farm Aid concerts, where they heard from dozens of farmers about the ways that Monsanto’s greed and intimidation tactics make life miserable for farmers.
In 2015, Young released a poignant short film, “Seeding Fear,” showing how Monsanto went to war against an individual farmer. Monsanto and other multinational Big Ag corporations are infamous for actions that harm small farmers, for buying off or attempting to silence scientists and university researchers, and for altering and attempting to monopolize the gene pool for the food crops that feed us all.
Young and the band Promise of the Real collaborated to release a theme album in 2015 called “The Monsanto Years.” Promise of the Real includes Willie Nelson’s son Lukas. The album is a compelling portrayal of Monsanto and other corporations that Young sees as harming the biosphere and people.
In response to Young’s activism, Monsanto opened up a military-style “fusion center” to wage covert war against Young, other environmental activists, and journalists investigating the company, according to media reports. Starting in 2015, the Monsanto fusion center mounted a sophisticated worldwide campaign aimed at discrediting or silencing its critics. The company hired fake journalists, used search engine manipulation, and did covert spying on activists, environmental organizations, and Neil Young.
Monsanto’s spooks reportedly created detailed analyses of Young’s activities, even studying the lyrics of Monsanto Years and planning a public relations campaign to sink the album and derail Young. The company appears to have been covertly monitoring backchannel communications between Young, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, who were thinking of doing a pro-environment, pro-farmer concert together.
Internal emails attributed to Monsanto operatives show that the company asked its lawyers to find ways to take legal action against Young and other Monsanto critics. They also engaged paid online shills to post fake negative reviews of Young’s albums, movies, and of books critical of Monsanto. Documents uncovered during lawsuits about Roundup’s cancer-causing aspects reportedly show that Monsanto has attempted to infiltrate, intimidate, or buy off media companies, journalists, and government regulators.
Bayer, which now owns Monsanto, has publicly admitted that Monsanto operatives did covert spying on numerous individuals and organizations in Europe.
Neil Young has said he’s not surprised that Monsanto targeted him. The singer-songwriter, who has been writing anti-war, pro-environment, pro-farming, and anti-corruption songs since the 1960s, has an interesting history with marijuana. He’s been a heavy cannabis user, but he’s also stopped using it for years at a time. One of his songs is about rolling joints. When interviewer Howard Stern told Young that marijuana makes Stern feel paranoid, Young advised Stern to chew a few black peppercorns after using cannabis.
Most of us have grown cannabis strains that had a peppery smell. That’s because some of the same compounds found in pepper is found in marijuana. Researchers suspect that those compounds might mitigate the anxiety-inducing effects of high-THC marijuana.
I already got rid of all Monsanto, Bayer, Scotts Miracle-Grow and Hawthorne products years ago. I had some Gavita grow lights and of course I didn’t throw them away—they’re too expensive to throw away. When they wore out, I bought a different brand.
I stopped using General Hydroponics fertilizers not just because the company is owned by Scotts Miracle-Gro, but also because the pH buffers aren’t reliable. Before I buy any gardening product, I research to find out if it’s part of the Scotts and Hawthorne family. And of course, I never use Roundup. You can make a far safer, non-carcinogenic weed-killer by mixing salt and vinegar and spraying it on weeds.
Maybe you love Neil Young and his music, maybe you don’t. But an easy way to make a positive difference as a marijuana grower is by boycotting Scotts, Hawthorne, Monsanto, Bayer and their related companies. You don’t need any of the products those companies make because there are substitutes available. The less of your money you give to these dangerous corporations, the better.