Because illegal cultivation isn’t regulated, there are no protective environmental policies in place for its production. According to the U.S. Forest Service: “Growers often cultivate the plant in national forests, where pesticides, waste, and irrigation tubes wreak havoc on the land and wildlife…and trash our public lands.” It is the need for secrecy that contributes to hasty practices; if made legal, it could be grown in a more ecology-sensitive way, including following “the same standards as legal medicinal growers, who often buy soil in bulk, use rat traps instead of poison, and utilize drip systems to provide water.” For more of the negative environmental effects see link below:
There is a growing awareness of the environmental effect of illegal marijuana cultivation, both outdoors and in. Outdoor cultivation often takes place on public land, where growers clear native plants and divert stream water for irrigation, and create waste that is left for others to clean up. Indoor cultivation often involves growers using diesel generators for electricity, as they are locating themselves far from cities and town to avoid detection. This diesel is often inappropriately stored, transported, and handled, leading to frequent spills and leaks.
The U.S. Government’s Anti-Drug campaign has added a section to their website titled “Drugs and the Environment,” highlighting the environmental effects of illegal drug production, including marijuana, methamphetamine, and cocaine.
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