Is Pot-Growing Bad for the Environment?

 In Cultivation, National News

As cannabis production has ramped up in Northern California to meet the demand for medical and black-market marijuana, the ecological impacts of its cultivation have ballooned. From shrunken, muddy streams to rivers choked with algae and wild lands tainted with chemical poisons, large-scale cannabis agriculture is emerging as a significant threat to the victories that have been won in the region to protect wilderness, keep toxic chemicals out of the environment, and rebuild salmon runs that had once provided the backbone of a coast-wide fishing industry.

River advocate Scott Greacen has spent most of his career fighting dams and the timber industry, but now he’s widened his focus to include the costs of reckless marijuana growing. Last year was a time of region-wide rebound for threatened salmon runs, but one of his colleagues walked his neighborhood creek and sent a downbeat report that only a few spawning fish had returned. Even more alarming was the condition of the creek bed: coated with silt and mud, a sign that the water quality in this stream was going downhill.


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