Marijuana and Sustainability: How Green is Marijuana?
Marijuana growing has recently gotten some bad press lately as drug cartels have extensive environmentally degrading (and stealing nutrients) marijuana grows on federal land (parks). http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-pot-raid-20110731,0,345889.story The operation also confiscated fertilizers, chemical pesticides and rat poison. With the aid of the U.S. Forest Service, 23 tons of trash and 22 miles of irrigation pipe were removed; 13 man-made dams remain to be dismantled.
“460,000 marijuana plants in and near the Mendocino National Forest are destroyed. The proliferation of such growing operations is destroying ecosystems and scaring hikers away, an official says.”
For America’s number one cash crop, I ask “why is it not grown of farms”? Well we all the the answer to that. But journalist could write equally damning stories about corn and topsoil reduction. This situation begs to ask the question, “what about growing it on a farm?” Seriously, it will happen in the future.
Deep in the woods large marijuana grows happen illegally. You may have seen this on the latest CNBC documentary on marijuana. This does happen and it is bad for the environment, not to mention that it happens on public lands. But for centuries people (including the founding fathers of the United States) have grown hemp; indian hemp, marijuana,,,whatever you want to call it. This was spawn from the pure utility of the plant. You can make rope, paper, oil, medicine and protein from the plant.
Everyone has heard that part of the reason marijuana was outlawed in the first place was because it was a threat to the paper business. Herst, who owned many newspapers, was holding millions of acres in Timber; the value of this was threatened by hemp, as it made a renewable resource for newspaper printing material.
Marijuana has another negative side, related to its illegalization and drug status (and psychedelic effect) is that it has be grown inside, in a locked area with security or
The cost of illegalization
A September 2007 study by Jon Gettman, senior research fellow at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy estimated the cost to local, state, and federal governments of marijuana being illegal to be $41.8 billion.
The problem is mainly illegal grow operations that are unregulated. Secret and illegal, quick and dirty operations producing enough cash to pay taxes, operate cleanly, quietly, like any other agricultural operation, but since it is illegal it attracts risk takers and criminals that do not want to make an investment
The Hazardous Materials unit ends up at situations like this, and landowners are responsible for the clean-up costs. Assuming there is a landowner. Often grows happen on remote tribal, BLM, or national forest lands, and taxpayers foot the bill.
To be continued…..still writing!!!
Found this awesome article on alternet.org:
Why the Marijuana Industry Needs to Get a Lot Greener
August 25, 2011 |