START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
2,555,085 people care about Environment & Wildlife

Marijuana’s Social and Environmental Mayhem: Can Pot Ever Be Green?

Marijuana’s Social and Environmental Mayhem: Can Pot Ever Be Green?

Herb, Grass. Weed. It sounds so green, so harmless. There are people who eat all organic, never touch a plastic bag, and bike everywhere, but who still indulge in one extremely unsustainable activity: buying illegal pot. That occasional toke comes at the cost of shocking violence and environmental degradation on both sides of the border.

NPR quotes a recent State Department report that marijuana production has grown 35% in Mexico last year, with 30,000 acres under production. The vast majority of that crop is exported to the U.S.; in addition, the drug lords grow pot in American national parks and other public land in order to skip any ‘formalities’ at the border. No friendly purveyors, the drug cartels have been ruthless in their pursuit of cash and power. NPR states that approximately 24,000 people have died in drug-related violence Mexico since December 2006. While your local dealer may seem harmless enough, the industry that delivers most recreational pot is as corrupt as a BP board meeting.

Besides the problem of out of control crime, we can also assume that environmental hygiene is not uppermost in the drug cartels’ concerns.  Marijuana is grown using pesticides and herbicides that pollute groundwater and kill wildlife; illegal encampments of growers have been blamed for several forest fires in California, besides leaving piles of garbage and human waste when they move on. In 2009 over 4,000 plants were uprooted in California alone, almost all of it illegally grown on public lands that are supposed to be preserved in their natural state, not used for spleef farms. So the occasional bong hit comes at a heavy price for people and land.

A Legalization Lab?
The ever-rational (?) Mick Jagger recently called for a scientific approach to examining the legalization question: legalizing drugs on the tiny Isle of Man (off the coast of England) as a controlled laboratory experiment (though admittedly he did not consult the island’s citizens before making the suggestion.) The rock star asserted that human beings generally have a propensity to take drugs, for whatever reason. “But then what do you do when it affects so many people’s lives, and not in a good way? And then also you get a lot of violence at both ends of the scope,” Jagger said. “That’s the part that speaks to some sort of legalisation. Because that, you would hope, would help the violence from both ends of the supply line.”

Boulder’s Bold Move
Perhaps this is really a question of scope, and the answer lies in the locavore movement: just as eating food grown locally assures quality and lowers the carbon footprint of our meals, should one only consume pot grown close to home? Laying aside the not inconsequential legal consequences, growing pot indoors takes a lot of electricity for high-intensity lights, fans and other equipment. This week the Boulder, Colorado city government passed a law requiring medical marijuana growers to purchase offsets for all of their electricity use, in effect deriving 100% of their energy from wind or solar power. While it’s kind of ironic to go after medical pot businesses before demanding similar concessions from, say, banks or factories, the requirement is an interesting step on the road to making marijuana use more sustainable.

Read more: , , , , , , , ,

Photo: United States Fish and Wildlife Service

quick poll

vote now!

Loading poll...

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

239 comments

+ add your own
1:10AM PDT on Oct 8, 2014

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia Brain cancer Brittle bone disease Cardiovascular disease schlerosing cholangitis Colorectal Rheumatoid arthritis Cancer Hip replacement surgery Lung Cancer Lung Disease Mental illness I AM A 72 BLACK WOMAN AND MY PAIN AND SOME OF MY FRIENDS ARE PAIN IS 15 YES 15 AND THAT EVERYDAY AND ALL SO MY YOUNG FRIENDS TOO..WHAT WE EAT IS KILLING US..I USE TO DANCE ALL MY LIFE NOW I DANCE IN A CHAIR..WE IN PAIN WE FRIGHT EVERYDAY AND WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT LIKE YOU PEOPLE THAT DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU TALKING ABOUT...YOU IN YOUR CARS TRY TO RUN OVER US...WE ASK WE ASK YOU TO LET US BY YOU LOOK DOWN AT US...THEN WE HAVE CAREGIVERS THAT ARE NOT NICE TO US...BUT I STILL HAVE MY MIND SO I LET THEY KNOW BACK UP..AND MY KIDS WOULD WELL I CAN'T SAY BUT WOULD NOT BE GOOD...SOME OF CRY EVERYDAY AND WE ARE SAD A LOT. THEN SOME OF KEEP ON KEEPING ON..SOME OF US TRY TO HURT ARE SELF,,STOP TALKING ABOUT DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENING..>>>>.WE ARE IN PAIN STOP HURTING US....YOU CAN RUN,,DANCE..STAND ON YOUR FEET AS LONG AS YOU WANT...AND MORE..BUT WE CAN STILL HAVE SEX:) WE NOT DEAD YET...AND WE STILL LOOKING STOP HURTING THE UNCLE IKE'S I AM A BLACK WOMAN I AND AND A LOT OF US DO NOT SEE COLOR....WE ALL HAVE RED COMING OUT OF DON'T WE...STOP STOP..............Seattle Wa.

8:11AM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

I will be 69 years old next month and been smoking since I was 23 so nearly 50 years. Although this is a good idea - environmentally safe/clean, cannabis is not even legal so how can you put a law for clean/safe into effect. Agree - I want it to be clean and safe too and in fact, if you grow the cannabis inside, the room must be almost hospital like so they do not get infected with bugs, mold and all kinds of stuff that kills them. This is not anything I would want to happen unless ALL companies/products are required to be clean and environmentally safe. Seems to me this is picking on an already misunderstood plant/drug. Yes, I am a medical patient, no, never been sick from cannabis - not from using or from "germs".

6:17PM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

61 and still have brain cell's looks like the Gov. was wrong again.
Two Hits And The Joint Turns Browng ot to love YMSB

9:48PM PDT on May 18, 2011

God created plants for all of our ills, so how can the government continue to make His will illegal?

9:25PM PDT on May 18, 2011

Petition signed! Thanks Ernest! I'm with James! Weed everyday keeps the doctor away!

8:40PM PDT on May 18, 2011

Please visit this petition..

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/decriminalizemarijuana/

10:38PM PDT on May 3, 2011

SMOKE WEED EVERY DAY!!!!!!!!

7:47PM PDT on Apr 20, 2011

Just legalize it and let everyone grow it outdoors. What could be greener?

It's easy - the stuff grows like a weed.

12:11PM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

Any SERIOUS discussion of the negative impact of marijuana use/production really requires addressing the impact of the legal/illegal designation of the herb. From 3 decades of experience it is abundantly clear that ALL negative aspects of Marijuana use/production are direct or indirect results of the insane designation of illegal applied to the herb and its production.

Clearly total legalization will result in all of these issues becoming total NON issues. Get Real, legalize marijuana... completely.

10:30AM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

Requiring clinics to use clean energy sounds like a good idea, but what about all the other business that do not? How about requiring clean energy for every new business instead of picking on one industry. Misguided leadership to say the least.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

I used to make the yummy food and give massage vouchers, long ago when I could afford to. Thanks for…

ads keep care2 free

more from causes

Animal Welfare

Causes Canada

Causes UK

Children

Civil Rights

Education

Endangered Wildlife

Environment & Wildlife

Global Development

Global Warming

Health Policy

Human Rights

LGBT rights

Politics

Real Food

Trailblazers For Good

Women's Rights




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.