Marijuana Crops Bad for Forests, Spotted Owl

It appears that marijuana farming in California is no longer the preserve of the fun-loving hippie, but has become a big, destructive agribusiness. According to Recordnet, when the crop comes out in the fall, they leave behind: "Irrigation tubes that snake for a mile or more over forested ridges. Pesticides that have drained into creeks and entered the food chain, sickening wildlife. Piles of trash and human waste in the most rugged and bucolic drainages. "They basically trash our public lands," said Matt Mathes, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service in Vallejo.

Another concern revolves around endangered species. Pesticides are used to keep rodents out of the marijuana; those rodents, including wood rats, are a primary food source for the California spotted owl.

Supporters of legal marijuana say that none of this would happen if it was a legal agricultural product. Bruce Mirken of San Francisco's Marijuana Policy Project notes that ""Marijuana can be grown safely in an environmentally responsible way, or it can be grown dangerously." ::recordnet