Marijuana And Mountain Lions: Why Ecologists Are Worried

What do marijuana and mountain lions have in common? Turns out, both will be impacted by California’s cannabis legalization.

As it turns out, marijuana and mountain lions aren’t a good pairing. At least, according to ecologists. Some experts are worried about the impact cannabis legalization in California will have on the state’s delicate ecosystem. Here’s what the concern is about.

Cannabis In California

The countdown to legalized cannabis in California is getting close. The state government plan to instate the new regulations regarding the purchase, sale, consumption and cultivation of the plant January 1, 2018.

For many California residents, this date can’t come fast enough. But not everyone is excited.

As the start date for legal recreational cannabis in the Golden State creeps cl0ser and closer, there are some who have expressed trepidation at the impending influx of cannabis businesses and increased cultivation. While the range of concerns is wide and varied, the newest one is so specific, it’s understandable that only a few are thinking about it, let alone bringing it up.

The new cannabis-related concern is about mountain lions.

Mountain Lions

Marijuana And Mountain Lions: Why Ecologists Are Worried

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, mountain lions inhabit more than half of the state. While their main prey is deer, mountain lions have been known to also hunt and eat other animals, like livestock and even people’s pets. There have even been reports of mountain lions attacking humans, but those reports are pretty rare. Mostly because mountain lions avoid people.

So why are we talking about marijuana and mountain lions in the same conversation?

Some ecologists are worried that the increasing number of growers will impede upon mountain lion habitats. In Santa Cruz, expert Chris Wilmers went over his two biggest concerns about marijuana and mountain lions with the Californian.

He worries that more cultivation sites will drive mountain lions away from their natural habitats. After all, more cannabis businesses will mean more human activity—something that mountain lions don’t particularly enjoy.

Wilmers also expressed concern about the possible chemicals the growers will use to ensure the safety and vitality of their plants, especially anticoagulant rodenticide. These chemicals don’t only kill rodents. They harm the immune system of mountain lions and can even be deadly in large quantities. While California has a ban on anticoagulant rodenticides, residents can still buy them in other states. And professional exterminators can use them legally.

But up in the mountains, it’s hard for authorities to enforce these restrictions.

Final Hit: Marijuana And Mountain Lions

Total cannabis legalization is long overdue. But now the Golden State is gearing up to go green. While many are excited to be able to enter the legal cannabis industry, others can’t wait to simply be able to purchase the plant for recreational use in a safe and reliable way.

However, we can’t ignore or dismiss the ecological and environmental impact of legalization. Now that California is close to totally immersing itself in the world of legal cannabis, those in the industry need to be even more aware of the impact it has on virtually everything. Even the impact it has on the non-human population.

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