The unethical side of cannabis strain hunting?

So I am not sure where to put this so I figured I would stick it here.

For the most part I personally have not run into unethical behavior with the Cannabis world but recently there is a company I’ve decided that I will never buy from. They are based overseas in Europe.

The documentary is around 10 years old now but it concerns the Congolese landrace. They interview one of the owners and ask him point blank “You’ve given the locals small amounts of money but if you successfully recreate this strain and sell seeds etc you could stand to potentially make hundreds of thousands of dollars. Does any of this go back to the people?”

Without missing a beat the owner says "No. That is the nature of our business. " So he essentially admits to taking advantage of the local farmers and what they have and provides them absolutely nothing in return.

Most countries in Africa who do farm Cannabis do it under very difficult circumstances. Malawi for example is one of the poorest countries in Africa and most that grow it only grow it to keep their families going.

Not trying to get on a soapbox but its pretty sad that even in a industry like Cannabis which has a feeling of positivity there are still those kind of practices.

Just curious how everyone else feels on the subject?


In general I don’t think we’re well informed on the subject.


I don’t see where he admitted to anything, he didn’t take advantage he paid them an agreed upon wage. I don’t believe a wage is “absolutely nothing.”

If the locals agree to a wage… what’s the problem?

We don’t expect corporations to profit share with employees, what’s the diff?

If the folks in the company are the ones with the knowledge to “successfully recreate” the specific strain, why should anyone else share from their knowledge, years of research, education, money invested, time… etc. Why should they give that away.

Sorry, but that sounds insane to me.

Just so we’re on the same page, I don’t knw anything about the actual situation, I’m basing my reply strictly on your post.


I should clarify.

The only people that were paid were the various chiefs , army and police for protection. The Chiefs were paid tribute (100 francs in one case but 50 or probably less in other cases)

The army and police were paid for protection. The farmers were not paid anything. Thats where their anger comes from… You can see it in the documentary and I’ll go ahead and post it but what i got from it was “You are taking and not giving us anything for what you are taking.”

Now one of the other guys named Franco did come back on his own 2 more times to help teach the farmers more effective ways to grow etc. He contracted Malaria on the last visit and died. I think Franco was high up in this company but he wasnt an owner.

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And the guy who went back and eventually died was named Franco Loja. One comment below the video which they touch on was he went back to try to help the farmers on his own. Franco seemed like he had a good soul. The other guy?..Eh not so much but I’ll leave others to form their own opinions.

God made the seeds. Not man. They can get over it.

Honestly, I’m not watching the video, but sounds like you should have issues with the local establishment, not the folks that come in and follow the establishments system.

What do you expect them to do, go in and tell the leaders they’re wrong and we will do whatever we want in your country. “Screw you and your military and your rules, we’ll just deal with the farmers.” As far as the interview, what do you expect them to say? Anything which can be construed as negative towards the establishment could get you killed, kicked out of the country… etc.

I was personally involved in setting up manufacturing in Indonesia, you don’t fart without the gov’s permission. They send who works there, we didn’t have a choice. They required a two year rotation, this shared jobs with more people, but increased our training budget by 400%. It was simple, they laid out what was required, and we could comply or get out.

I agree with your disdain of the situation, I just think your blame is misdirected.

Thanks for sharing.

No the bribing etc is part of Africa. ESPECIALLY in a place like Congo which was a war zone for so long . Bribing/paying for military escort/protection is common.

The tribal nature while its bs is part of Africa too. I don’t blame these guys for greasing palms to get in there.

Where I took issue was the owners attitude.

I took a direct transcript from the part in question.

Interviewer - Obviously you’ve given the people (He actually means the various tribal chiefs) small amounts of money which are large amounts of money for them but then if you make a hundred thousand or millions of dollars do the people get a percentage of that money ?

Owner - Um no. No. That’s how it work’s in our business.

(It paints a narrative he’s cold.) Also after reading more about the company Franco really was the soul of them. He loved Cannabis and did what he could to increase its positive impact in the world. But the other guys were fame and money and you read it over and over from various sources.

So basically to get in there and get what they need they have to grease the palms of certain people which is expected. But when it comes to the people themselves they get nothing. Now as I said later Franco the head breeder went back a few times to help them and sadly passed from it.

Honestly its very much a double edged sword. Places like Congo were under colonial rule for so long and how they were oppressed that a portion of said country. You then factor in war after war. The situation is where they don’t trust Europeans based on history or at least a portion of the population doesn’t.

Honestly what Franco did gave them more than just a little help. It gave them the ability to push forward with better techniques and he was doing anti malaria research when he got it himself so helping the people with a massive problem.


It is good they shared too, some cultures won’t share for nothing. For example, the Navajo peach. They won’t share tree cuttings or seeds of this drought resistant peach unless you are local tribal. Quote “keeping the genetics pure and near.”

Many want to breed w this old variety of peach. But it’s locked down like Fort Knox.

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I hear what you’re saying and it’s unfortunate that the world works in the way it does. In fairness there should be some compensation for the growers providing seeds.

Watched an episode of ‘American Pickers’ where they found some circus posters. Not knowing what they were worth, they gave the guy $500 each for them. Had them appraised and the cheapest one was worth ten times that. They took the proceeds from selling them and gave the original seller half. Warmed my heart to see that.


Unfortunately, every country in the world is packed full of corruption, it’s excepted. Of course greedy folk know how to grease the machine in their best interest.

Who gets screwed… the average guy just try’n ta provide for his family.

From what I gather about this topic, while the “seed kings” may not have initiated the game, they were complicit.

Keep in mind too, whoever produced the video had an agenda. They only aired what fit their narrative. The whole situation is F’d up, but we don’t know the details and the “other” side of the story.

I will say this as my last post in this thread, @Africanplainstrain if you choose to spend your money based on your principles… I applaud you and support you completely!!!

There’s multiple sides to this. I think the most forthcoming is that he paid for the seeds, they are his to do as he wishes with. Just like you could buy seeds from any breeder or seed bank and breed with them. He also paid the money to travel, have security, and will incur all of the production and marketing costs of final product, assuming he is successful in bringing a product to market.

If you have an issue with this is kind of like siding with Monsanto and it’s business practices. Not exactly the same, but pretty darn close.