An environmental catastrophe is happening in our state, and we’re not doing anything to fix it.
I’m talking about illegal marijuana grows in California’s national forests.
Medical use of marijuana use has become very popular, and growing marijuana for medical use is legal, but so many roadblocks have been put up that legitimate businesses can’t grow near enough to fill the demand. Criminals can, because there is big money in it and they don’t have to follow the rules – instead, they set up growing fields out in the national forests. They pull water out of the streams and rivers in the high country, further reducing the amount of water available for legitimate use. And, they heavily use and misuse pesticides, polluting the water and soil with their irresponsible chemical use.
Now, this isn’t a matter of whether or not a person thinks marijuana should be legal. It’s a matter of it is here, in much larger quantity that ever before, and it is the biggest cash crop in the state of California. To pretend we can keep it illegal is to stick our head in the sand. It just compounds the problem.
By and large, law enforcement agencies are fighting moves to legalize marijuana, and where they can’t make it illegal they make it hard to grow by persuading local legislators to place stringent controls on growers. this de-facto prohibition on growing marijuana has opened the door for the Mexican cartels and other criminals to do it illegally. We can put the illegal growers out of business only by making legal marijuana farms possible. This will take the profit out of illegal grow operations.
We need a rational approach to legal marijuana farms. We need to address the problems but allow the grow sites to be run by legitimate businesses. If we do not, we will be doing nothing more than keeping these modern day Al Capones in business.
Previously published on The Western View by AgNet West.