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.
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.
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
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.