Target: California State Legislature
Goal: Create stricter regulations on marijuana growing procedures to protect the environment
Despite the positive effects it has had on numerous infirm peoples lives, medical marijuana seems to have taken an extremely negative toll on California’s environment. The legally ambiguous farms are peppered across the state, and in those areas have done a considerable amount of damage to the landscape. The rush to cash in on the profitable and popular crop has led to a veritable explosion of grow operations, with growers taking any means necessary to turn a profit.
Growers are often guilty of illegal forest clearing, stream diversion (which is disastrous for ecosystems), unlicensed hunting, and the rampant use of fertilizers and pesticides that when used incorrectly taint water sources and kill local plants and wildlife. The marijuana growing industry is distressingly unregulated; the only method that authorities have of even knowing how many farms are operating is via aerial survey. There are simply too many operations for them to be counted any other way. Aerial surveys reveal that there are literally thousands of marijuana farms operating in the state. Many of the marijuana farms seen in these surveys are illegal; however, the simple fact is that the legal operations are guilty of many of the same environmental offenses.
Medical marijuana has helped a great many people, proving effective in combating the painful symptoms associated with a number of conditions. However, the damage that marijuana farming is doing to California’s environment is inexcusable. Currently, the state does not do much at all in terms of regulating exactly how marijuana is grown, in part due to the legal grey area of medical marijuana laws.
This lack of regulation must change. Patients are entitled to care, and marijuana has proved to be an effective medicine in many cases, but it must be cultivated responsibly. Right now it is wreaking havoc on ecosystems because aspects such as pesticide use, water use, and agricultural landscaping are not properly regulated (as they would be in other industries). Medical marijuana has proved beneficial for sick people, but at a high cost to the environment; it is time California made sure that is changed.
Dear Members of the California State Legislature,
The decision to allow the use of medical marijuana in your state has ultimately proven to be of massive benefit for a great number of ill people. However, the cultivation of marijuana has come at no small cost; the environmental toll that marijuana cultivation can take on the environment is appalling. It is time that regulations were put in place to deal with that.
Marijuana grow operations have a number of negative impacts on the environment. Many of them involve small-scale clear cutting— individually their effects are not too bad, but when the sheer number of grow operations is taken into account the effect is staggering. Stream diversion is another detrimental element of growing marijuana. Growers will often use diesel generators to pump water away from a stream, depriving areas of the water they need to flourish and effectively killing the plants there. In addition to this, the use of pesticides and herbicides is rampant, leading to poisonous runoff that kills local plant life and taints the water sources that animals need to survive.
You helped countless infirm people when you legalized medical marijuana. Now you must help California’s environment. Marijuana cultivation, at legal and illegal sites alike, is damaging your state’s ecosystems. Most industries environmental impacts are regulated—it is time the same is true for the marijuana industry. Please take the environment into account and regulate the cultivation of medical marijuana in California.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: JosephAdams via flickr