Marijuana Crops Threaten Wildlife, Forests in California
And local and state jurisdictions’ ability to deal with the problem has been hobbled by, among other things, the drug’s murky legal status.
Marijuana growers acknowledge, reluctantly, what their antagonists in law enforcement have long maintained: like industrial logging before it, the booming business of marijuana is a threat to forests whose looming dark redwoods preside over vibrant ecosystems.
Hilltops have been leveled to make room for the crop. Bulldozers start landslides on erosion-prone mountainsides. Road and dam construction clogs some streams with dislodged soil. Others are bled dry by diversions. Little water is left for salmon whose populations have been decimated by logging.
And local and state jurisdictions’ ability to deal with the problem has been hobbled by, among other things, the drug’s murky legal status. It is approved by the state for medical uses but still illegal under federal law, leading to a patchwork of growers. Some operate within state rules, while others operate totally outside the law.
The environmental damage may not be as extensive as that caused by the 19th-century diking of the Humboldt estuary here, or 20th-century clear-cut logging, but the romantic outlaw drug has become a destructive juggernaut, experts agree.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
LATEST INFRASTRUCTURE & ENVIRONMENT HEADLINES
Tornadoes in the South Kill 18 People Over 48 Hours2 hours ago
Feds Give Pennsylvania More Time to Comply With REAL ID Law3 days ago
Dirt Roads Help Some Cities, Counties Drive Down Costs3 days ago
EPA Nominee May Revoke Some of California's Power to Fight Climate Change4 days ago
Where Climate Change Isn't a Partisan Issue4 days ago
Will States Stop Cities From Combating Climate Change?4 days ago