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NYT/ Marijuana Crops in California Threaten Forests and Wildlife


twa

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http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/21/us/marijuana-crops-in-california-threaten-forests-and-wildlife.html?_r=1&

 

ARCATA, Calif. — It took the death of a small, rare member of the weasel
family to focus the attention of Northern California’s marijuana
growers on the impact that their huge and expanding activities were
having on the environment.
 


The animal, a Pacific fisher

had been poisoned by an anticoagulant in rat poisons like d-Con. Since
then, six other poisoned fishers have been found. Two endangered spotted
owls tested positive. Mourad W. Gabriel, a scientist at the University
of California, Davis, concluded
that the contamination began when marijuana growers in deep forests
spread d-Con to protect their plants from wood rats.

 

....


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.


“In my career I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Stormer Feiler, a
scientist with California’s North Coast Regional Water Quality Control
Board. “Since 2007 the amount of unregulated activities has exploded.”
He added, “They are grading the mountaintops now, so it affects the
whole watershed below.”


Scott Bauer, of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said, “I went
out on a site yesterday where there was an active water diversion
providing water to 15 different groups of people or individuals,” many
of them growers. “The stream is going to dry up this year.”

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Maybe they would follow the rules if they weren't constantly having to hide from them. Either way, this doesn't look like marijuana killing the environment, but the chemicals used to grow it. Tough to regulate an illegal industry...

so it is like illegal immigration

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Maybe they would follow the rules if they weren't constantly having to hide from them. Either way, this doesn't look like marijuana killing the environment, but the chemicals used to grow it. Tough to regulate an illegal industry...

so it is like illegal immigration
 

Only in the sense both are symptoms of broken systems. I have faith immigration reform will happen this year, but I'm still waiting on McConnell to help get the differentiation between hemp and marijuana established (since he seems to want hemp grown in his home state now). Only by having that adult converstation can we then get serious about moving marijuana out the Schedule I status on the Federal level.

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To be fair, "Well we wouldn't have this problem if what we're doing were legal..." isn't really a defense.  Furthermore, it's not helping the case of people who want to argue that marijuana is actually a great, viable crop to be growing for more than just drug use.

 

That said, I am of the opinion that the United States has this one backwards from top to bottom.

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What a joke of a headline.

Poison is threatening forests and wildlife, not weed crops. Poison of the legal variety.

What's really messed up is that people are unknowingly smoking something grown in rat poisoned soil. Seems like a bigger deal than some owls being poisoned, but hey, that's just me. Glad I don't smoke anymore.

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Interesting that all the posters asserting this is not a legitimate issue and is nothing but a sensational headline don't live anywhere near the affected area.  Not to mention the fact that I don't think any of you are CA Fish & Game officials who are witnessing this day in and day out.

 

And the "defense" that this wouldn't happen if marijuana was legal is so stupid it doesn't even deserve a response.

 

As an aside, I was born and raised in this NoCal area and recently moved back here.  I have witnessed firsthand the impact the growing marijuana trade has had on the Klamath River; more specifically, my family's property on the river.

 

Unfortunately, when my family decided to purchase a weekend home on the river about 10 years ago, they were not fully aware of the extent of the marijuana cultivation in the area.  Making it worse, much of the cultivation is not run by "private" owners wanting gardens for them and their friends; Mexican drug cartels are behind the cultivation of several of these crops making it a bit more intimidating for the local, law-abiding people to address.  And FYI, anyone saying there is no cartel link to these crops can talk to local authorities who've dealt with booby-trapped crops, shoot-outs with Mexican nationals at heavily guarded crop sites and seen the highly organized camps set up at these locations.  By and large, these are not mom and pop MJ crops we're dealing with out here.

 

As for the effect of the marijuana cultivation, is has had an impact on the environment in our area, primarily with the water diversion -- which not so much affects the main river level, but severely diminishes water in the tributary creeks and affects the wildlife that sustains itself on the creek water.  Shortly after purchasing our riverfront property we found a pretty well hidden water diversion system set up to draw water out of our swim hole, through one of our feeder creeks and up into the mountain.  After talking to friends who worked with the CA Fish & Game, they told us these water diversions are everywhere and are used to feed the MJ crops.  Obviously we wanted it off our property.  While our Fish & Game friends agreed we should take it out, they cautioned us to make it look more like an accident than an intentional sabotage just to be on the safe side.  That was a bit disconcerting.  Anyway, we waited until there was significant flooding on the river the following winter until my dad, brother and a couple friends destroyed the diversion and sent the pipes down the river hoping it looked like the high flood waters washed it away.

 

So yes, the MJ trade is not only affecting the ecological systems of our forests out here in NoCal, but also the lives everyday citizens who are just wanting to relax and engage in river sports on their private, remote river property.  To claim otherwise shows you really don't have a grasp on the issue which isn't too surprising when you live 1000's of miles away...

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Interesting that all the posters asserting this is not a legitimate issue and is nothing but a sensational headline don't live anywhere near the affected area.  Not to mention the fact that I don't think any of you are CA Fish & Game officials who are witnessing this day in and day out.

 

And the "defense" that this wouldn't happen if marijuana was legal is so stupid it doesn't even deserve a response.

 

So yes, the MJ trade is not only affecting the ecological systems of our forests out here in NoCal, but also the lives everyday citizens who are just wanting to relax and engage in river sports on their private, remote river property.  To claim otherwise shows you really don't have a grasp on the issue which isn't too surprising when you live 1000's of miles away...

 

It is a sensationalist headline. It's not the crops causing the danger, as the headline seems to imply, but the actions of the growers, which I and others pointed out. You also went into detail about the actions of the growers. Title should say "growers" where it says "crops."

 

Who in here asserted this is not a legitimate issue? Who in here claimed the current MJ trade isn't affecting the ecological systems? Maybe you are too close to the story and aren't seeing that nobody in here is doing what you claim.

 

And the "defense" it wouldn't happen with legalization is not stupid. It would get rid of those cartel people you are worried about, and allow laws for regulation of crop growing methods, like what other legal crops have, and free up resources to monitor and enforce those laws.It's the same as the arguments for legalizing MJ itself, it drastically reduces, possibly ends, crime and violence related to it and allows for regulation and freed up resources to focus on that regulation and pay more attention to harsher drugs and serious crimes. Being 1000's of miles away isn't as important in the age of global, 24 hour news and instant communication. If so, then I could say you can't really appreciate the Redskins because you are so far away.

 

But again, nobody is saying this isn't a serious issue. What you're dealing with certainly sucks, and the article talks about some of the same things you mention too. People in here brought up the headline makes MJ the focus when the growers should be the focus, and people posted their belief that the problem would be reduced/solved by legalization and the regulation and easier enforcement that would come with it. Think about Prohibition days, where people made their own alcohol and the dangers it posed to their neighbors because of the process (liquor/beer clouds, explosions from equipment, robberies, mafia/crime element and corruption spreading from that point to protect their factory) and how that disappeared when Prohibition was ended because with legality came regulation that was better and easier enforced and the illegal and dangerous stuff was gone.

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Interesting that all the posters asserting this is not a legitimate issue and is nothing but a sensational headline don't live anywhere near the affected area. Not to mention the fact that I don't think any of you are CA Fish & Game officials who are witnessing this day in and day out.

And the "defense" that this wouldn't happen if marijuana was legal is so stupid it doesn't even deserve a response.

I'll certainly agree that it's not a given that legal farmers never endanger the environment.

I do suspect that it happens a lot less often. (As a percentage). If for no other reason than, if you find a legal farm doing bad things to the environment, then the authorities know who the farmer is.

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Special K, I don't feel anyone in here is suggesting this is not a legitament issue. But blaming marijuana for this is almost like suggesting we should keep it illegal (which obviously is not working). There needs to be better regulations and enforcement to protect the environment, you won't find anyone that disagrees with that.

A huge reason the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem is dying from the amount of run-off and chicken poo leading to high levels of alga (growing because of the amount of oysters we've taken out and eaten, fewer left to filter out the water). Does that mean we stop chicken farming? It's not going to happen even if some believe that's the answer. So we need to have a different conversation to deal with the multiple factors and issues.

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Nothing causes zero impact.

 

I live in Maryland. Does anyone know what the chicken industry does to the surrounding environment?
 

 

Farming of any kind on an industrial scale ****s up whatever is around it.

Broccoli, pot, chickens.. doesn't matter. It it's grown or bred on that scale, it causes an environmental problem.

 

This article's headline should say "Wah. We don't Like Marijuana".

But you like your chicken sandwiches, I bet, regardless of what it does to the entire Chesapeake watershed.
 

~Bang

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Nothing's perfect, and nothing is ever going to be perfect. The key is getting these problems solved the best we can without destroying the industries we need and want.

It's dumb to fret and argue over it as if THIS is bad, while THAT is not bad, etc etc.

To someone somewhere, whatever it is, it is bad.

And people just love a chance for a good cry.

 

~Bang

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Nothing causes zero impact.

 

I live in Maryland. Does anyone know what the chicken industry does to the surrounding environment?

 

 

Farming of any kind on an industrial scale ****s up whatever is around it.

Broccoli, pot, chickens.. doesn't matter. It it's grown or bred on that scale, it causes an environmental problem.

 

This article's headline should say "Wah. We don't Like Marijuana".

But you like your chicken sandwiches, I bet, regardless of what it does to the entire Chesapeake watershed.

 

~Bang

 

Waste from chicken farming decimated fish populations in the Shenandoah River a few years back. It's a beautiful, scenic mountain river, and its inhabitants are covered in sores, lesions, and fungus.

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Special K, I don't feel anyone in here is suggesting this is not a legitament issue. But blaming marijuana for this is almost like suggesting we should keep it illegal (which obviously is not working). There needs to be better regulations and enforcement to protect the environment, you won't find anyone that disagrees with that. A huge reason the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem is dying from the amount of run-off and chicken poo leading to high levels of alga (growing because of the amount of oysters we've taken out and eaten, fewer left to filter out the water). Does that mean we stop chicken farming? It's not going to happen even if some believe that's the answer. So we need to have a different conversation to deal with the multiple factors and issues.

So, the legalization of chicken farming seems to not have helped the environmental issues stemming from the trade like you claim the legalization and regulation of marijuana will do.

 

Also, I stand by my assertion that saying "legalization" of an illegal activity will solve the problem is a silly defense of peoples' harmful behavior.  

 

Anyway, I can understand you thinking I'm too close to the issue to give a rational response.  I feel the same for the people not living here and not dealing with the issue who are focusing not on the intricacies of the problem, but focusing on the "sensationalistic" headline.  Sorry that it says "marijuana" in the headline.  It's not corn crops that are the impetus for this destruction, it is marijuana the marijuana crop cultivation.  I'm more than happy to change the headline to "Actions taken by marijuana growers in the cultivation of their illegal crops threaten forests and wildlife in northern California" if it would get everyones' focus off the atrocities of the sensationalistic headline and onto the actual issue.

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Well, even if a product is legal, the corporate interests are always more concerned in the bottom line than in any environmental issues.
like i said,, the key is finding that happy medium in which the enviro crowd realizes it'll never be perfect and that SOME damage will occur no matter what, and the industry to realize that the damage they cause is enough of a concern to perhaps change some of the things they do, even if it means spending a some of those profits to try and keep waterways clean, for example.

 

In cases like this, both sides want impossible perfection, and so neither side will give an inch until the law makes one of them do so.

 

 

It's always a ridiculous pissing  contest.

 

~Bang

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Special K, I don't feel anyone in here is suggesting this is not a legitament issue. But blaming marijuana for this is almost like suggesting we should keep it illegal (which obviously is not working). There needs to be better regulations and enforcement to protect the environment, you won't find anyone that disagrees with that. A huge reason the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem is dying from the amount of run-off and chicken poo leading to high levels of alga (growing because of the amount of oysters we've taken out and eaten, fewer left to filter out the water). Does that mean we stop chicken farming? It's not going to happen even if some believe that's the answer. So we need to have a different conversation to deal with the multiple factors and issues.

So, the legalization of chicken farming seems to not have helped the environmental issues stemming from the trade like you claim the legalization and regulation of marijuana will do.

 

Also, I stand by my assertion that saying "legalization" of an illegal activity will solve the problem is a silly defense of peoples' harmful behavior.  

 

 I'm more than happy to change the headline to "Actions taken by marijuana growers in the cultivation of their illegal crops threaten forests and wildlife in northern California" if it would get everyones' focus off the atrocities of the sensationalistic headline and onto the actual issue.

 

Except if chicken farming were unregulated then the problems with it would be far worse. History has shown that without regulation companies will disregard their impact on the environment and other safety measures in favor of profit. Happens with every product so long as large profits can be made. Because chicken farming is legal and regulated, the ones that do have problems can be focused on, rather than efforts staying reserved for elimination of all of them.

 

Legalization will reduce the problem greatly. Do you think cartel's will stick around if their product is legal and readily available and regulated? They sure didn't when Prohibition was repealed. If MJ was legal, do you think people would still have to resort to hiding crops by cultivating them in the mountains? It isn't a defense of the growers' bad effect on the environment, literally nobody in here is defending that negative impact. 

 

With sensationalist headlines, people often miss the real issue at hand entirely.

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I think the cartels would still be around, namely because there's a lot of money involved ,and this would be truly a fledgling industry.

In the repeal of prohibition, there were already large breweries and distilleries with their production and distribution network already in place.. only in mothballs for a few years.

It's one thing to try to muscle in on Anheuser Busch's pre-existing company, and it's another altogether when the entire playing field is fresh and unplowed. If on the repeal of prohibition there were no breweries or distilleries, the crooks and bootleggers would certainly have tried to legitimize their own business. And some did.

 

Criminal enterprises exist in all sorts of legitimate businesses. Cartels would happily engage in the legitimate business of pot farming, i'd bet. Above board, and on the level.

 

~Bang

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Criminal enterprises exist in all sorts of legitimate businesses. Cartels would happily engage in the legitimate business of pot farming, i'd bet. Above board, and on the level.

 

~Bang

 

Correct, and that is a good point about Prohibition already having pre-established means of production upon its repeal. 

 

Criminal organizations, when a product of theirs becomes legal and readily available (as MJ has in areas where it is legal) either have to move elsewhere where they can still profit of the illegality, transfer into a legitimate business, or switch/focus on a different illegal product. I believe anyone one of those would move MJ farming out of the mountains, or lead to federal regulations preventing over production and environmental harm up there and in other places. At the very least the problem would be reduced when you consider that the problem has worsened under its current illegal status and has proven that it won't likely be eradicated.

 

That being said, it is a poor situation for the land/property owners up there and environment negatively impacted, and growers should face repercussions but sadly with legalization they likely still won't but instead will probably be given a mandated time frame to get up to code. Establishing that code/regulations, though, would give the citizens a chance to have their voice heard and the wildlife enforcers too, about safeguarding and preventing the negative impact of irresponsible growers.

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