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Does Marijuana Farming Hurt The Environment?

When you think of marijuana farming, do you automatically think about the environmental impact it has? Is growing weed somehow bad for the earth?

Published
November 3, 2017 7:00 am
November 3, 2017 7:00 am
By Chloé Harper Gold

Does marijuana farming hurt the environment? According to some researchers, the environmental impact of farming weed is less than ideal? But is that true across the board? Or are there other factors to consider? Here’s everything we know so far.

Mary Jane and Mother Earth

Researchers from New York’s Ithaca College have found a potential problem with pot. Specifically with growing pot.

Apparently, some cannabis growers in the area have been planting their trees among, well, the trees.

The Ithaca researchers have been examining the environmental impact of small, renegade weed farms hidden within remote areas of local forests. While the idea of cannabis growing in a forest might conjure up some whimsical mental images, don’t get too excited. According to the researchers, these mini farms are doing more harm than good.

The researchers say that marijuana farming in the forest leads to problems like soil erosion, forest fragmentation and even landslides.

This group warned about the potential negative impacts of marijuana farming a year ago as well. In that previous report, they focused on California. The report detailed the negative consequences of the location of the cannabis farms. Because many of the farms were situated on steeply sloped land, the run-off from the chemicals that the growers used threatened local fish populations and interfered with water sources.

Possible Solutions

“Siting grows in areas with better access to roads, gentler slopes and ample water sources could significantly reduce threats to the environment,” the researchers advised in last year’s report.

Choosing better locations for growing cannabis sounds like the perfect solution.

But there is a huge problem to consider. Weed is still prohibited in most states. And it’s federally illegal.

While cannabis growers undoubtedly want to choose better locations and environments for their plants, the fact remains that not all are able to. And because so many people depend on weed for medicinal reasons, the problem can’t be solved by simply not growing it.

The way to truly help the environment when it comes to marijuana farming is legalization.

This will help cannabis farmers be able to carve out better locations for their crop—locations that will cause the least amount of negative environmental impact. Cannabis legalization will also help environmental researchers better and more easily study the impact of marijuana farming.

Final Hit: Does Marijuana Farming Hurt The Environment?

So does growing weed hurt the environment?

Not exactly.

It’s more about where the weed is growing.

Additionally, growers need to be aware of the chemicals, including pesticides, that they use to grow their plants. It’s no secret that most artificial pesticides have a negative environmental impact. Not to mention a negative health impact.

The researchers’ findings don’t mean that ganja has no place on Gaia.

As of now, there’s no pressing reason to stop growing it. Although, maybe stop growing it in forests. As a whole, when you’re farming cannabis outside rather than indoors, you need to be more knowledgeable about the environment and the impact your plants have on it. Knowledge is power, after all.

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