- The Weed Blog https://www.theweedblog.com

Newest Reefer Madness Scare Tactic – GMO Marijuana


Kevin Sabet has said a lot of things over the last few years that have been stupid, to put it mildly. Leading up to marijuana legalization in Colorado, Kevin Sabet claimed that for every dollar marijuana taxes would generate, there would be ten dollars in ‘social costs.’ Colorado’s legal marijuana industry generated about $44,000,000 in revenue for the state in 2014. That means according to Kevin Sabet’s circus math, there should have been $440,000,000 in ‘social costs’ to the state of Colorado due to marijuana legalization. It doesn’t take a governmental budgeting expert to know that Kevin’s claim is so far off base that it borders on the edge of insanity.

But that’s how Kevin Sabet goes about his work. He doesn’t care if his claims are based in fact, or what negative affect his claims will have on any given day. As long as his pockets are full of money, he will gladly spread reefer madness to anyone that will listen. Kevin recently unveiled his newest talking point, genetically modified marijuana, in an attempt to scare people into think that marijuana is bad. He even bragged about it on Twitter. Below is a photo of his tweet, which I pulled from Tom Angell’s article on Marijuana.Com:

kevin sabet gmo marijuana


Kevin Sabet doesn’t know what he is talking about (I know, not exactly a shocker). What he is trying to pass off as GMO marijuana is actually high quality marijuana that has come as a result of years of selective breeding. They are not the same thing, and Kevin Sabet should have known better, because it’s not the first time that the group he represents was called out for using this tactic. Per Tom Angell’s article:

That’s especially surprising since this isn’t the first time the leadership of Smart Approaches to Marijuana has been exposed for the false “genetically modified” claim.

SAM co-founder Patrick Kennedy, a former congressman from Rhode Island, previously claimed that “today’s modern genetically modified marijuana” has “much higher THC levels” that “far surpass the marijuana the president acknowledges smoking when he was a young person.”

PolitiFact ruled that the potency part of Kennedy’s comments was true, but dinged him for the false GMO claim, calling it “off-base.”

“That’s not quite right,” the fact-checking group wrote. “Genetic modification or genetic engineering involves altering a substance’s DNA at the molecular level. Producers of marijuana on the illicit market don’t have the ability to pull off those kinds of lab-based modifications.”

PolitiFact rightly attributed the reported rise in potency to genetic selection, which “involves breeding marijuana plants with the highest concentration of THC. Genetic selection, unlike genetic modification, has been practiced for centuries. Think about how we got different breeds of dogs or varieties of tomatoes.”

In another piece, PolitiFact said Kennedy’s GMO claims “didn’t hold up,” ruling that “marijuana is stronger due to selective breeding, not laboratory gene splicing.”

I always wonder what Kevin Sabet will do when he no longer has an audience. There isn’t exactly job security in what he does, because after momentum for reform is at an all time high, and people like Kevin Sabet are going the way of the dinosaur more and more everyday. What he ends up doing when marijuana is legal is anyone’s guess, but I think it’s safe to say he won’t be employed as a scientist.


About Author

Johnny Green


  1. Taken from a Wikipedia article on Long-term effects of Marijuana.

    Among people with schizophrenia there is insufficient evidence to determine whether cannabis use leads to improvement or deterioration of the condition,[11] but patients who use cannabis have been found to display increased cognitive performance compared to non-users.[12]

    Use of cannabis in adolescence or earlier increases the risk of developing schizoaffective disorders in adult life, although the proportion of these cases is small. Susceptibility is most often found in users with at least one copy of the polymorphic COMT gene.[13]

    Cannabis with a high THC to CBD ratio produces a higher incidence of psychological effects. CBD may show antipsychotic and neuroprotective properties, acting as an antagonist to some of the effects of THC. Studies examining this effect have used high ratios of CBD to THC, and it is unclear to what extent these laboratory studies translate to the types of cannabis used by real life users.[8][14] Research has shown that CBD can safely prevent psychosis in general.[15]

  2. HaHa… I loved watching Ren and Stimpy, I wish I could find where to watch them again. I loved the “Don’t Push this RED Button” Episode.

  3. Lets just face some basic truths.. Burning and subsequent inhalation of burning plant material, is just not a good thing.. However in the argument of Stronger weed, the concept of it being more dangerous. Is just plain ludacris if anything the increase in strength, means less is needed to achive the desired effects. Which if you just stop and think about it.. is much better than hoofing on a bunch of Dirt weed from the 70’s to get to that level? Less, inhaled burnt plant material… WIN!

  4. People like Kevin wouldn’t wake up until they watch someone with terminal cancer actually get well using Cannabis.

    I pray (even for the ignorant; maybe more) that he doesn’t have to make a choice whether to take chemo or cannabis. Like everyone else, he’d have a 97% chance of dying within 2 years. This would be the only way a light bulb would turn on.

    He’d have to literally have his dying mother reject treatment (because she’s too old) and then have Sanjay himself slip her a gram of Indica a day before he “believed.”

  5. Karen Ferguson on

    *sigh* This on top of “synthetic marijuana” in Mississippi. Sheesh. I’m close to nausea.
    Although I have some compassion for Sabet and his views, I mean he is after-all, passionate, I wonder who is feeding him this misinformation or is he simply twisting the truth? Even Sanjay Gupta got misinformed and he’s quite intelligent. He’s also ‘class act,’ in my book, for apologizing on national TV about not doing his own cannabis research.

    I abhor Sabet’s methodologies: fear-mongering and out & out makin’ things up. The sad part about this, imho, is that I have to believe he believes his diatribes which may be his only redeeming quality, at this point, as ill-fated as it is. My husband just said, “He’s drinking his own Kool-Aid.” He’s a bit more direct in his ponderings.

    Johnny Green wrote: >>>>Kevin Sabet doesn’t know what he is talking about (I know, not exactly a shocker).<<<<<
    What else is there to say?? It's true. Often times, I catch myself making things up about an aspect of cannabis that I don't know. The difference? It doesn't hurt any one else and I know that about myself.

    Johnny, why not interview Sabet? It would do him a world of good to hear another side from a reliable source. Tell him I said so. :-) AT the very least, we'd get a list of his arguments. Or you could make it up. :-) I love satire and I miss Colbert. At least, ask and let him know we are listening. What's to lose? He's going to keep doin' what he's doin' and maybe there's a chink in his armor, some sanity in there somewhere or a crumb of introspection. My stance is that in asking, one plants a seed. Who knows when it will sprout if given haffa' chance.

    I have a very sophisticated personality theory. I call it the "dented can personality" theory. Sabet is just another dented can: some of us more dented than others. Some dented cans point the finger at others [often less dented] and believe we need to be put into the sale bin. :-) Part of me believes Sabet would be happy to put me into a sale bin. But, I happen to have good information, stay up on current data, and know better. My feathers don't get so ruffled when confronted w/ propaganda. Color me happy about that, because I'm thinkin' "what to do about it.'

    What miffs me about it all is this: Passing along misinformation to further a cause is manipulating [the worst kind] and often conniving. It hurts people who may benefit. It makes me *cringe* to think that some will believe him, especially, the age group I've worked with…I'm partial to 19-25 year olds. I can manipulate if I need to i.e. l the time when I had to manipulate an anorexic teen-ager to eat in order to stay alive: she wanted to be released from the hospital – my only ace. I'll bet Sabet thinks all his reasons for manipulation are good: alas, such is not the case.

    I'm off to write Sanjay Gupta and see if he'll 'talk' to Sabet. At the least, the idea may amuse him. Maybe I'll write Sabet. At least, I'll feel a better: maybe it will plant a seed. Say, let's all write him in a 'kindly' fashion, checking our own egos 'at the door' so to speak and see what happens.
    Thank you, Mr. Green, for reminding me about Kevin. He had dropped out of my radar.

    This morning, I was relishing a memory, flashing back on an experience in SF. A few years back, I was sitting on a knoll in San Francisco, after a march against the war in Iraq, waiting for my husband to bring water, when a gentleman walked up and handed me a flyer about the next march. I was eye-level to his knee. He had a hole in his jeans, covered partially by a patch that said, "Even Jesus Hates Bush." I burst out laughing.
    'Nuff said.

  6. There’s always the ‘big lie’, just don’t get confused by the facts and you too can have the same lack of respect as ’I am an authority’ Kevin Sabat has. For Kevin every day is “Groundhog Day” and he can act like all the things he said that have been refuted never took place. Maybe he has a magical ‘do over’ key on his keyboard. That’s in the same group of tactics as the start your own dictionary and change the meaning of words like addiction. At one time I thought Kevin could step up his game and fill Sarah Palin’s shoes for belly laugh comedy relief…..not gonna happen. He’s way too predictable. Maybe he’s stuck in déjà vu vu vu vu vu vu…………
    Cannabis never should have been made illegal. Let us grow our own.

  7. Today’s pot is stronger ? I dunno… In Hawaii in the ’70’s we grew purple seedless buds from Colombian seed that were downright narcotic ! One hit, and it was COUCH-LOCK for an hour…

  8. Well Sanjay Gupta ,Dr. Oz , and Montel Williams have weighed in on cannabis in a positive and informed light. These are people that have national recognition while little Kevin is the Pewee Herman of national media. I wouldn’t even give him any play on this site or recognition. A few years from now no one will remember him.

  9. Kānāwai Māmalahoe on

    Amen, we can do amazing hybrids without the failed promises of genetic engineering.

  10. Kānāwai Māmalahoe on

    Maui is GMOGroundZero, we have been used as the guinea pigs of Monsanto and the other big 5 and everyone knows how famous our cannabis is…Our vote was to put a moratorium on the outdoor experimentation and development of GMO until long term independent impact studies are conducted to prove safety. Monsanto and Dow spent the most in Hawaii’s history, over 8 million in propaganda we beat them with around 65k. Now they are suing the county to avoid the impact studies. We have legal cannabis for medicinal use at least but genetic modification of cannabis would be terrible and once released it can’t be recalled.

  11. Not only does karma dictate it , but so does good business sense! With legalization in 4 states and DC, medical mj legal in nearly half the states, a smashing 2014 election – whoever’s paying him is not getting their money’s worth!

  12. As you probably read, I mentioned natural hybridization as an acceptable alteration process, be it from humans or from nature.
    It is when humans tamper with the DNA outside of what could naturally occur is what I take issue with. Tisk tisk for not seeing the difference.

  13. We “old timers” started selective breeding of pot back in the 1970s. No science, just saving the seeds from the best weed we smoked and then saving the seeds from their best offspring. The difference in today’s weed is, you don’t have to smoke it by the grocery sack like we did back then. And that makes it healthier.

  14. He is paid to lie. Period.

    He and SAM stood with Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America (CADCA) in February to directly oppose the legalization of weed. CADCA sponsor for the event….. Perdue Pharma. They are the manufacturer of OxyContin, the potent and deadly opioid pain medication. Perdue also happens to manufacture oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, hydromorphone…. all potent opioid pain meds that are single handedly killing thousands and thousands.

    It is now much easier to see who is pulling the strings on the Kevin Sabet puppet.

  15. Isn’t it absolutely hilarious!? These same frauds who want to continue (even ramp up) prohibition claim that “this isn’t your grandmas weed”. So what exactly does this tell us about the war on drugs, specifically weed? Over a trillion dollars wasted, millions of lives ruined, millions killed, unimaginable corruption….. and the result is more potent weed……? Cannabis is more potent and more widely available than ever. Talk about an absolute failure!

  16. You put your finger on his Machiavellian scheme. He is trying to appeal to folks within our ranks to prevent legalization by peeling off supporters!

  17. First of all according to the FDA , genetically modified fruits and vegetables have been in the U.S for the last 20 yrs. Including soy beans 93% G.M.O. Corn is 88% G.M.O. plus there are other foods that are G.M.O. foods that resist diseases.
    You can bet that Kevin (will lie for cash ) Sabot has ingested some of these G.M.O. foods. On top of this smart selective breeding and cross pollination is the onlything that has been done to Marijuana. I would be more concerned of out the pesticides that we consume everyday we eat something.

  18. First google hit – this is pretty clearly what most of us were thinking.



    A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Because this involves the transfer of genes, GMOs are also known as “transgenic” organisms.

    This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same.

    The term “genetic modification” is used both commonly and legally to refer to the use of recombinant DNA techniques, in ways that are not possible or desirable in nature, to transfer genetic material between organisms. This concept of genetic modification brings about alterations in genetic makeup and in the properties of the organism developed. This technique using genetic engineering is highly mutagenic and leads to unpredictable changes in the DNA and the proteins produced by the GMO that can lead to toxic or allergic reactions.

    GM proponents will argue that “genetic modification” has been used for centuries in an attempt to blur the lines and create confusion. Traditional genetics used selective breeding, tissue cultures, hybridization and other methods that assists nature but does not circumvent natural laws.

    The methods used to transfer the genes of modified DNA of a genetically modified plant are imprecise and unpredictable. These unintended changes are possible differences in the food’s nutritional values, toxic and allergic effects, lower crop yields and unforeseen harm to the environment that cannot be recalled.

    And – there you go.

  19. It could be argued that needing to consume LESS actually makes more potent marijuana a BETTER choice… but getting Sabet to understand that would be like trying to get Lady Gaga to dress or act conventionally. Thinking rationally is just not what he does. He’s been exposed to the truth far, far, far more than his audiences. (They might be excused for believing his ignorance, but at this point he himself has no excuse. Knowingly spreading fear and propaganda is a moral evil.)

  20. I guess this would explain why cannabis was getting more powerful (in Kevin’s view) with each stop he made in Oregon during his tour last October. I pointed out then that the underground alchemists couldn’t possibly genetically manipulate it fast enough to keep up with his mouth. But a modern-day Dr. Smokenstein working from a secret laboratory in a castle somewhere in the Siskiyous makes perfectly good sense. Keep an eye out for a mob armed with torches and pitchforks heading into the hills from Cave Junction. They’re probably on to something sinister going on! They saw Igor gathering samples from the trespass grows near the California border.

  21. I’m sure Karma helps you sleep at night…after all, thats why you believe in it isn’t it?

  22. What “original” DNA sequence? Is everything supposed to be considered for ever different just because a human touched it?

    People select plants they like just the same as bees. Flowers tend to their colors and shapes because of pollinator insects selecting certain ones over others. But, ohhhh, its wrong when a person picks one over another or decides to figure its basic structure to make infinite variation and copies. Tisk tisk

  23. Drug addiction actually causes that. Do you really think alcoholics prefer 2% beer to 9% beer?

  24. You are incorrectly using the word “unnatural.” That is one of the few words which have no real meaning. How could an “unnatural” thing exist when the definition of Nature is everything that exists?

    You mean, synthetically produced by a Homo sapiens….mutations are otherwise empirically identical because how a gene mutates is irrelevant to what the result is.

    …finally, GM cannabis might be competitive with GM bacteria in with many compounds and would provide for more divers, high profit cannabis crops..that would be helpful since the only real profit in cannabis is in fine flowers with quite growers who don’t teach others how to do it. Bulk cannabinoids are worth less than aspirin in an industry which is set up for bulk cannabinoid production.

  25. I’ve never understood their argument about marijuana being stronger now than in the past. So what? Marijuana does no harm. It’s like arguing whole milk is bad because it’s stronger than skim milk.

  26. They actually are…He is using the term according to “conventional wisdom” as a way to manipulate public opinion. “Conventional wisdom” here, as is common, is quite incorrect.
    Corn 1,000 years ago was and is now GMO

  27. I thought that was normal to the human psyche…after all, religion and spirituality are very popular.

  28. They don’t want other people to have the option to buy things they don’t approve of…just like their opponents.

    It should make one think

    What they are is greedy…They don’t want to pay taxes, meet regulations, or be more competent to have the drugs and profits

  29. LOLl He is using GMO because people are morons.

    Aside from the inappropriate use of the words (they really mean genetically engineered in laboratory with cross species genes by evil rich people who want to enslave you by claiming property rights over your genes), its pretty irrelevant how the item was produced. Drugs are drugs. I’ve got plants that will give you a 3 day delirium with risk of death from a teaspoon of seeds and they are common weeds.

  30. James Sunderland on

    What’s sad is that I have seen plenty of guys outside here in Marijuana communities fall into the bullshit “Decriminalize, don’t legalize” mantra because they claim that legalization would lead to “GMO Obamaweed”. Kevin is playing their song.

  31. You’re right about that. Sabet is a classic case of building a foundation of lies to support a web of lies.

  32. stupidest statement on this whole post. Selective breeding, including hybrids, does NOT alter the genes of a natural plant into something unnatural. This can ONLY be done in a lab. This is the one concern I have regarding legalization. Federal legalization means certain biotech companies will be ALLOWED to do GM research with cannabis, with any intent, unless that law specifically and severely bans GMO cannabis.

  33. stellarvoyager on

    What a liar he is. In fact, I cannot recall a single time that Kevin Sabet actually told the truth or made a factual statement.

  34. When Kevin tried to make this talking point stick during his Oregon Marijuana “Education” Tour, I asked the question, “Kevin, if today’s marijuana is a GMO, doesn’t that make dachsunds and roses GMOs, too?”

  35. breeding it to be higher thc = makes it gmo? where are the insect / animal genes being spliced in? nowhere.. fucking stupid argument

  36. Sterling Ericsson on

    “altering a substance’s DNA at the molecular level”

    Um…selective (also known as artificial) breeding DOES do that. Of course, genes also get directly transferred between species and even kingdoms in nature all the time anyways, so this fear about it in labs seems silly.

  37. Prohibition creates the need for stronger and more concentrated substances. 2 classic examples are 99% alcohol moonshine during alcohol prohibition and crack cocaine due to “just say no” sentencing. Stronger drugs are easier to hide and transport.

    Cannabis is not stronger than it used to be. It’s only stronger than the weak domestic “home grown” of the past. Most cannabis we smoked in the 70s and 80s was imported and very strong. We used to smoke mostly hashish, a concentrated form of cannabis that made today’s strains seem average at best.

  38. In the very strictest sense of the definition he is technically right: the strains have been modified from their original DNA sequence. Anyone who knows the slightest bit about hybridizing knows that the strains are being altered at the genetic level, moderately, thus yielding a new variety.
    This natural alteration is a far cry from adding, say, arctic char information to the sequence, attempting to get the plant to thrive in frigid conditions.
    Words, and there usage, are what make it difficult to sue those who are obviously using said words to push a subversive agenda that basically lies/defames by omission.

  39. Closet Smoker on

    Paid shills will say the stupidest stuff. Karma dictates he end up penniless on the street begging for handouts. Bonus if he also gets addicted to drugs…

Leave A Reply