Environmental Damage Wrought by Pot

Marijuana is Far from Green

Marijuana farms are fouling the ecosystem and draining energy and water resources in states that have liberalized their marijuana laws. Governor Jerry Brown blames California’s wildfires on climate change, but he ignores marijuana, the biggest cause of environmental damage to his state.   The environmental damage in California alone will be in the billions of dollars.  It would be more costly than Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster.

Check out two recent television news reports on the crisis:  CBS News: Marijuana Illegal Grow Mount Shasta Siskiyou County and CBS News: Toxic Chemicals California Wildlife Marijuana Grows.

Dr. Mourad Gabriel is the executive director of the non-profit Integral Ecology Research Center, based in Blue Lake, California. He studies endangered wildlife.  When high levels of toxic rodenticides were first found in dead wildlife, it set off alarm bells, but Dr. Gabriel couldn’t figure out the source of the poison. At a scientific conference, he learned that drug cartels were setting up illegal marijuana farms in wilderness lands.

Illegal Marijuana Grows on Wilderness Lands in Siskiyou County as seen from Google Earth

As he now leads investigations deep into the forest to locate and shut down these dangerous operations, he needs to wear kevlar, a protective body armor.  One of the marijuana gangsters poisoned and killed Gabriel’s dog a few years ago, trying to scare him away.  See the article in The Atlantic, Illegal Pot Farms are Poisoning California’s Forests.

Losing our Water and Natural Resources

These environmental travesties threaten America’s pristine natural wonders near Mount Shasta and Lake Tahoe.  One former California resident warns that wilderness hikers can be in grave danger if they happen upon one of these illegal grow sites. Pot growers and other squatters are armed and will shoot to protect their activities.

The growers use poisons to protect their plants which in turn kill wildlife.    One small mammal, the fisher is an endangered species at risk from these toxic chemicals.

These illicit growers are using a banned pesticide carbofuran, which is so potent that one eight of a teaspoon will kill a 300 pound bear. Forest rangers are finding the poison strewn around the forest floor in Vitamin Water bottles.

These operations have also had the effect of eradicating the salmon population by diverting of billions of gallons of water a year out of California streams. The drought returns , but Californians will blame it on something other than a skunky plant that produces no food.

During California’s worst wildfire season ever surely that water would have been useful to the firefighters.

marijuana-endangers-water

There’s a strong possibility that some of California’s wildfires are started by these marijuana growers.  If they are smoking cigarettes or marijuana, or even starting a fire to cook food, their actions could cause of an out of control wildfire.   Authorities believe that marijuana growers started the Soberanes fire, largest fire of 2016,  at a campsite.  Common sense tells us it is a risk inherent in this kind of activity.

So why did California Legalize  Marijuana?

And, as to energy usage, California is about to legalize recreational marijuana, and greedy entrepreneurs are converting old warehouse space into indoor grows. These indoor marijuana facilities are known to use a tremendous amount of electricity to power the grow lights. See this article in the Guardian: Pot is Power Hungry.

In a society that prides itself on ‘going green,’ we must think carefully about the negative impacts of commercializing the plant that causes more environmental damage than any other.   States like Massachusetts, Vermont and New Jersey should consider these environmental hazards. It is not too late to reverse the damage.

Governor Brown’s Limited Environmental Advocacy Explained

While Gov. Brown did not criticize marijuana for environmental damage, he was clear about the brain damage. Sean Parker donated big to his re-election campaign, and his mind changed.

Governor Jerry Brown poses as an environmentalist on the national stage while enabling his own state’s environmental destruction. Money and pro-pot journalists kept Californians in the dark about the environmental disaster of marijuana, but the governor knew the truth.   Governor Brown could have spoken out against Prop 64, but he honored a favor from his reelection in  2014.

Governor Brown spoke eloquently against marijuana on Meet the Press, on March 2, 2014.  Four days later, Sean Parker and his wife donated 81,600 to Brown’s re-election campaign.   Governor Brown immediately dropped his support for a bill limiting the THC allowed in drivers to 2 ng.   Parker donated $9 million to the cause of California’s legalization, more than George Soros’ $4 million.  The campaign was full of “dark money” hidden in secret groups, but included at least $12 million of pot industry donors.   While Governor Brown didn’t come out for or against Prop 64, he could have used his environmental conscience  to advocate “No.”

(Marijuana was involved crashes that killed in least 3,000 people in California over last 15 years.)   Now California will legalize without a  suitable measure of driving impairment.

Pregnant and Parenting Moms in Washington Harmed by Legal Pot

A new peer-reviewed study about to be published in the January 2018 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that marijuana use at exit from a 3-year case management intervention program for pregnant and parenting women increased significantly after marijuana legalization in Washington state.
“This study adds to the data we have about legalization driving up use and negatively impacting society,” said SAM President Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D. “States should slow down and realize that their actions have real consequences, especially among populations highlighted in this study — parents and children.”
The researchers divided the study sample into two cohorts based on whether participants had completed the program before or after legalization.
Researchers reported the following results:
“Most study participants reported complete abstinence from alcohol and nonprescription drugs at program exit. Among those who were still using substances, women who completed the intervention after marijuana legalization were significantly more likely to report marijuana use at program exit compared with women who completed the intervention before marijuana legalization. Across both cohorts (pre- and post-legalization), we found a positive association of exit marijuana use with alcohol, illegal methadone, other opioids, amphetamines, and cocaine use; even when we controlled for historical period, the association with some of these substances with marijuana use remained evident. Independent of marijuana use, we saw increased use during the post-legalization period of alcohol, illicit methadone, and other opioids.”
The study concluded that “Women who were not abstinent from marijuana at program exit were likely to report use of other substances as well. Our study design demonstrates an association but does not allow us to conclude that marijuana use leads to other substance use among this sample of women with a history of polysubstance use.”
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About SAM

 

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization who want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. SAM has affiliates in more than 30 states.

Tracking the Effects on Children

Since legalization began  on December 5, 2012, Parents Opposed to Pot has been tracking marijuana – related child abuse deaths.    We have found 102 such deaths; we believe the problem is significant and should be studied. http://www.poppot.org/2015/09/14/the-role-of-marijuana-horrific-cases-of-child-justice-failure-part-1/ Continue reading

Choosing a College? Don’t Send Your Kid to Colorado

Or California, or Oregon or Washington

It’s that time of year when high school seniors apply to college and make decisions about their future.  By all means, they need to avoid colleges in Colorado, based on all reports we’re hearing from  that state.  It’s not the educational program, it’s the culture.  In Colorado, it’s even hard for high schools to educate their students.

Any state that legalizes marijuana creates a culture that normalizes drug use, which includes use of all drugs.   For example, in Pueblo, Colorado, 12 percent of the high school seniors have tried heroin. Continue reading

Support for pot legalization in New York falls 20 percentage points

When polls give the choice of decriminalization, support for marijuana legalization falls by 20 percentage points.  Last week Emerson College conducted a poll for SAM Action.

The SAM Action poll used the same college pollster as Marijuana Policy Project and Drug Policy Alliance used.  The pollster found support falls dramatically when it offers respondents alternatives to legalization. The results are in direct contrast to the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports the legalization of all drugs. Continue reading