May 28, 2010, 6:24 am
Today’s idea: Pot isn’t so green after all, an article says. California’s large marijuana growing operations — most illegal — “are polluting local ecosystems on an industrial scale in rural counties and places as unlikely as state parks.”
Environment | Is pollution an under-publicized argument for legalizing and regulating marijuana via California’s ballot initiative this November? On the PBS site “Need to Know,” Shannon Service writes that “without tax revenue from marijuana, state agencies struggle to find funds for cleanup” of blight from the cultivation of illegal marijuana.
That pollution is considerable, the article says. But “the cultural secrecy” around illicit pot (medical cannabis is already legal) “means diesel spills go unreported, spikes in electricity overlooked and gallons of toxic pesticides wash into rivers and creeks.” Quote:
Bloomberg News It isn’t easy being green cannabis.
Much of marijuana’s environmental impact stems from the huge amount of light needed to grow plants indoors, where they can thrive year round hidden from law enforcement. Some growers power their giant “grow lights” with electricity from the grid. But those in more rural locations use large diesel generators for power, often shoddy and homemade, which are huge risks for fires and spills.
In Northern California’s Humboldt County, authorities estimate that over 1,000 gallons of diesel have spilled so far in just one stream, which like many others is the only water source for those who live downstream. …
On-grid grows carry another set of problems. Marijuana growers use an estimated 90 million kilowatt hours per year, “about 70 times the total output of all the solar panels in the county … enough to power 13,000 typical homes,” a recent Humboldt State University report found.