9-1-21 Illegal cannabis farms on the US west coast are poisoning wildlife
Cannabis crops grown illegally on public lands along the west coast of the US are infringing on the habitats of native species, putting predators at risk of poisoning by dangerous pesticides. Greta Wengert at the Integral Ecology Research Center in Blue Lake, California, first got an inkling of the scale of this human-wildlife conflict when cat-sized, ferret-like mammals called fishers (Pekania pennanti) turned up fatally poisoned by rodenticides. This was a surprise, considering the animals’ usual habitats are far from human developments. Wengert and her colleagues suspected that the rodenticide was coming from illegal cannabis farms, where the poison is often used to control pests, because this is one of the few major potential sources of the poison in the region’s forested wilds. To probe whether it was happening, the team used modelling to predict where illegal cannabis farms and three different threatened predators – fishers, Humboldt martens (Martes caurina humboldtensis), and northern spotted owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) – would be most likely to intersect. The team gathered law enforcement data from 1469 illegal cannabis cultivation sites in northern California and southern Oregon from 2007 to 2014. Using the environmental characteristics of the sites, the team made maps of where people were most likely to illegally grow cannabis, then compared these maps with similar models of suitable habitat for the three predator species. Areas with a moderate-to-high likelihood of cannabis cultivation overlapped with more than 44 per cent of fisher habitat, and about 48 per cent of spotted owl and 40 per cent of Humboldt marten habitats, suggesting that the animals’ risk of pesticide exposure is high. When the team surveyed some of the areas predicted to have a higher likelihood of hosting cannabis farms, 16 previously unknown sites were uncovered, validating the model’s predictive potential.
6-9-21 The federal marijuana ban is contributing to climate change
Marijuana isn't actually very green, it turns out. Cannabis is the most energy-intensive crop in the U.S., Politico reports — though it needn't be. Grown in warehouses, marijuana production can require 2,000 watts of electricity per square meter, versus about 50 watts for lettuce, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found. But marijuana grows great outdoors — it is called "weed" for a reason — in some areas of the country, especially Northern California and Southern Oregon. "Because cannabis remains federally illegal, and the federal government regulates interstate commerce, none of the legal cannabis grown in Oregon or California can cross state lines," Politico's Natalie Fertig and Gavin Bade write. "Instead, each new state that legalizes recreational marijuana must also grow enough to meet consumer demand in that state. This would be like every state in America being required to grow all of the oranges consumed each year by its residents, rather than simply buying them from Florida." Some states and cities require indoor cannabis operations to use energy-efficient LED grow lights or take other steps to mitigate carbon emissions, but "reducing the environmental impact of cannabis in state-siloed markets is not simple — or cheap," Politico says. Allowing the country to buy marijuana grown outdoors on the West Coast may not be a perfect solution either, though, since cannabis also takes water to grow, and water is a critically scarce commodity in Northern California and Southern Oregon.
With doctor's advice and under prescription control legalizing
Medical Marijuana seems like a good idea, but the above scientific
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Medical Marijuana Articles 2021