In terms of the plant itself, marijuana is good for the environment. It is naturally drought, frost, and disease resistant. This means that it can be easily grown organically, without chemicals. Marijuana and hemp can grow with just small amounts of water, making them very drought/global warming friendly crops. Also, marijuana/hemp grow very quickly, plants consume the most CO2 while growing; that means they consume a lot more CO2. Finally, for the aforementioned reasons, hemp/marijuana are ideal candidates for cellulosic biofuels.
The main drawbacks of marijuana growing are all a result of it being illegal. Mexican drug cartels are a major supplier of marijuana, and they have little regard for the environment. It is estimated that 2-3 wildfires are started in California every year as a result of drug cartel marijuana growing. If it was legal, the cartels would be unable to get a business license and could not legally grow/sell marijuana. Instead of Americans being forced to buy from thugs they could legally buy from locally owned American growers. This would take the marijuana out of the forests and minimize it’s main environmental impacts.
In sum, legalization would end the negative environmental impacts of marijuana growing. Legalization also gives money and power to our government, to regulate marijuana in an open market; instead of giving money and power to murderous drug cartels.
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