Marijuana is hazardous to your health and the earth.
The only thing green about marijuana is the color. Otherwise, it is an environmental disaster.
Whether grown outdoors or indoors, it is dirty agriculture and negatively impacts air & water quality, robs the electric grid and watersheds, and produces greenhouse gases. The industry uses heavy pesticides which put wildlife at risk. It was never meant to be a large scale agricultural product. The end product contains mold and toxins that are harmful to humans.
One man has been arrested for starting six fires around Portland, and another for the Sweet Creek fire near Eugene. Officials have also arrested two men in Washington and one woman in California. In southern Oregon, Michael Jarrod Bakkela started a fire which merged with the Almeda fire. The Jackson County sheriff’s office alleges significant damage from the fire Bakkela started in the town of Phoenix. Since he also violated probation on an original charge of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, it’s important that we look into his drug history and test for drugs in those arrested for starting fires.
For thousands of miles along the west coast, skies are red, orange, or gray with the dust of ash. It’s apocalyptic. People are losing their homes and more than a few people have died in the three states which bookend our west coast. Watching these catastrophic flames begs the answer to a new question. How much global warming and climate change could have been avoided if California, Washington and Oregon hadn’t legalized pot?
The track of west coast fires follows the trail of growth in the massive marijuana industry over 25 years. It began north of San Francisco, moved further south along the central coast of California and up into Oregon and Washington. Washington, which made pot legal in 2012, hit a historical moment with more than 330,000 acres burning in 24 hours, more than in the entire fire seasons of 12 out of the last 18 years. Not until the last few years has Oregon, which legalized marijuana in 2015, been a large part of the fire problem. Oregon has a huge surplus of marijuana.
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. This will be more costly than Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster.
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.
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 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. The governor immediately abandoned a safety bill which would have limited the THC allowed in drivers to 2 ng.
Parker donated $9 million to the cause of California’s legalization campaign of 2016, even more than George Soros’ $4 million. The campaign was full of “dark money” hidden in secret groups, but included at least $12 million of marijuana industry donors. While Governor Brown didn’t come out for or against Prop 64, he could have used his environmental conscience to advocate “No.”