I just read an article on the Huffington Post by Andrew Becker that I felt the need to talk about. Apparently, biologists from UC Davis, the nonprofit ‘Integral Ecology Research Center,’ and government agencies conducted a study which found that a large number of fishers (small mammal) found dead in the Sierra Nevada range were exposed to rat poison. They point to the likely source of that rat poison coming from illegal, large-scale marijuana grow operations in the area.
I would point out to the researchers that large-scale, illegal grow operations, and the detrimental environmental effects that go with them, are a product of marijuana prohibition. If marijuana were legal and regulated, pesticides and other chemicals wouldn’t be wreaking havoc on our public lands because the marijuana America consumed would be grown in a responsible and regulated way. Legal medical marijuana growers in California don’t use rat poison…
The environmental impact of cartel-style marijuana gardens is something that is just now starting to be studied. I really hope for the sake of the planet that the people investigating the environmental damage will seek policy reform as opposed to doubling down on what’s obviously not working. More enforcement just leads to cartels going farther into the wilderness and cutting even more corners, with a direct impact to the environment.
The government simply can’t keep up, even if they stubbornly wanted to. Here’s a quote from the Huffington Post article:
“We do not have a Department budget at the State level that is set aside and identified as funding to go toward marijuana eradication and the cleanup of pot gardens,” California State Parks spokesman Roy Stearns wrote in an email. “If the Districts and Sector have a garden and wish to take action, they must find the money in their existing budget to do the work.” How about we pursue the option of ending marijuana prohibition, rather than let the free for all continue?
Illegal, large-scale marijuana grow operations simply would not exist if marijuana were legal and regulated. I do not know one person on the planet that prefers cartel marijuana. They only smoke it because it’s the only thing around. The second marijuana became legal and regulated, those same people would buy quality marijuana from a regulated storefront. The marijuana would have been grown in a way that is not detrimental to the environment, and if it was, the grower would be fined and/or blacklisted from the marijuana community. Chemicals would still be used to grow marijuana, but they would be disposed of in a responsible way.
If the government and researchers are truly worried about wildlife and vegetation in remote areas were large-scale marijuana grow operations are occurring, they will do something about it. And by do something about it, I don’t mean stick to the same failed policies that are creating the problem. I hope that environmentalists will stand up and start demanding reform. Mother Earth and her creatures are depending on it!