Biotech vs People

Ian Goddard (
Wed, 13 Jan 1999 10:11:10 -0500

Here's an example of technology advance directed against the interests of the people. The government is planning to develop a genetically engineered strain of fungus that will destroy one of the most medically active, safe, and useful plants known to man: cannabis.

While voters around the nation decree that sick people should have access to cannabis, their own government is planning to initiate biological warfare on the source of that medicine to crush the will of the people! While technology advance gives people more power and freedom, it gives governments more power to stop freedoms. The problem of course is not technology per se but governmental power and the inability to restrain it or hold it accountable for its actions.

To: (Libertarian Party announcements) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 99 06:12:26 PST
Subject: Release: anti-drug fungus
Message-ID: <>


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For release: January 11, 1999

For additional information:
George Getz, Press Secretary
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222

Libertarians blast Congress for spending $23 million to develop anti-drug killer fungus

WASHINGTON, DC -- The United States government is spending $23 million to develop a killer fungus to wipe out marijuana plants -- a dangerous plan that could cause an environmental catastrophe, said the Libertarian Party today.

"This project is the political equivalent of athlete's foot
fungus: It's nasty, it's dangerous, and it needs to be stopped before it spreads," said LP National Director Steve Dasbach. "The last thing we need is a bio-engineered killer fungus turned loose on the world."

Late last year, Congress passed legislation that authorized $23 million for research into soil-borne fungi called "mycoherbicides," which will attack and kill marijuana plants, poppy plants, and coca plants.

When developed, the fungus could be released in such South American countries as Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, said U.S. officials.

The legislation was guided through Congress by U.S. Representatives Bill McCollum (R-FL) and Mike DeWine (R-OH), who said the killer fungus was potentially a "silver bullet" in the War on Drugs.

But Libertarians say the tax-subsidized fungus is a "biohazard" that could have a disastrous impact on the ecosystems of the target nations -- and, potentially, the whole world.

"In the government's irresponsible search for a quick-fix in
the War on Drugs, politicians could cause terrifying long-term ecological problems," warned Dasbach. According to scientists, the killer fungus could...

"For example, a chemical alkaloid similar to the one that
produces cocaine is present in many legal plants -- including tobacco and coffee beans," said Dasbach. "In an effort to wipe out drugs, this killer fungus could wipe out the livelihood of millions of farmers."

"According to scientists, mutated plants could pass on these
resistant genes and create herbicide-resistant weeds, which could have a ruinous effect on farm yields," he said. "With world hunger already a problem, why risk making it worse?"

"No fungus is smart enough to tell the difference between legal
hemp and illegal marijuana," noted Dasbach. "This fungus could be the biological warfare equivalent of carpet bombing -- killing whatever is in its path."

What should Americans do about this dangerous program? Tell their Congressional representatives to apply a strong dose of political fungicide to "cure" it, said Dasbach.

"This tax-funded fungus should be treated like any dangerous
mold or mildew -- exposed to sunlight and wiped clean. Congress should just say no to biological warfare."

Dasbach also said Libertarians have a better way to reduce the consumption of marijuana, with no environmental risks: Legalize it.

In the Netherlands, he noted, where marijuana is decriminalized, drug use is half that of the United States. In fact, a new study revealed that while 32.9% of Americans have tried marijuana, only 15.6% of Dutch adults have done so.

"Treating adults like adults -- and letting them make decisions
about how to live their lives -- seems to have a stronger anti-drug effect than any killer fungus," said Dasbach. "Wouldn't it be ironic if liberty was a more effective anti-drug program than deadly mycoherbicides?"

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