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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Marijuana Affecting the Environment

The ever growing marijuana industry in the United States is having an impact on the environment. As more people get involved in the outdoor production of marijuana the forest is feeling the effects, especially in Northern California. Wildlife is being endangered as well as the trees, The New York Times reports.

A number of a type of weasel, known as Pacific fishers, have been killed by rat poison used on marijuana fields. Sadly, two endangered spotted owls' tests came back positive for an ingredient in rat poison.

Landslides on mountainsides prone to erosion are caused by bulldozers used to clear fields. Road construction and dams can clog streams with dislodged soil. Streams are drying up due to water diversion, leaving little water for salmon.

Much of the environmental damage is the result illegal operations thought to be the work of Mexican drug cartels. With 70,000 to 100,000 plants, the plant bases are surrounded with cans of tuna and sardines which are laced with the rat poison d-Con.

The drug’s illegal status under federal law makes it difficult for local governments to control the problem, according to Mark Lovelace, a Humboldt County, California, supervisor. Legalizing marijuana would allow for more regulation, and help stop environmental abuses.

A local nonprofit group, Sanctuary Forest, is subsidizing installation of tanks to store water in the winter for use in warmer, dryer months. “There may be people who grow pot in our group,” Tasha McKee, Executive Director, told the newspaper. “I’m sure there are. We don’t ask that question.”
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