Medical marijuana

The rise of medical marijuana and resulting boom in pot farms has stressed the delicate habitats of California’s North Coast and other regions. Scientists say marijuana farmers are spraying pesticides, removing trees and siphoning water. We’ll discuss the ecological impacts of this growing industry.

Anthony (Tony) Silvaggio, lecturer in the department of sociology at Humboldt State University, and an environmental sociologist with the newly formed Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research
Scott Greacen, executive director of Friends of the Eel River, a nonprofit dedicated to restoring the Eel River and tributaries
Charley Custer, marijuana grower and co-founder of the Tea House Collective, a collective of Humboldt farmers who grow organic, sustainably farmed cannabis
Scott Bauer, staff environmental scientist for the California Department of Fish and Game
Mike Jakubal, documentary filmmaker, environmental activist and 20-year resident of Humboldt County

  • loaded

    The environmental damage of these grows similar to the out of control logging of the 80-90s? How to we get people to understand this?

    • Uti

      That’s way overstated. Even the worst offenders are not clear cutting whole steep hillsides that erode and cause massive mudslides like the timber companies did. Yes, it’s bad and needs to be stopped.

  • FayNissenbaum

    Is Charlie Custer telling the 19 registered Medical Cannabis Dispensaries in san francisco to NOT buy for their patients the pesticide poisoned pot? If consumers learn to reject the non-organic stuff, that will create good change. So ask your MCD who and what they’re buying for so -called patients interested as they should be in their own health and health of the land.

  • Its A Farce

    It seems obvious that enforcement of existing law in ripping up some of these greenhouses would at least slow down the number or size of scenes. Why is nobody calling for any increased enforcement activity…since that seems the only logical immediate relief?

  • Seabreeze

    Most of the pesticides your referring to were pulled off the shelves of the grow stores at the beginning of this year. The state has inspectors in place that go to the grow stores and pull all chemicals being sold that require a chemical applicators license. As a commercial nursery owner, I see our regulations being tightened annually. The state has only a few inspectors for the entire state, they need to increase enforcement. An annual inspection isn’t enough, not for this issue.

    • Uti

      Seabreeze, not true where I live. I just did a complete survey of suppliers in southern Humboldt county a few weeks ago and they all had plenty of Rat poison except for 2, a hydroponic store and a hardware store in Whitethorn. The rodenticide in question is the anti-coagulent bait type sold under different brands like D Con.

  • I cant call in, but someone should ask; what quantification there is on the impacts of pot on the environment. Is there any actual data? Or is most of of this based on google earth pictures and how they make you feel?

    There might be a cumulative impact in some places, but I remain unconvinced there is a serious impact from growing – relative to the studied and well documented impacts of logging, agriculture and mining.

    For example, what is the potential sediment impact relative to the TDML of the watershed – is there any evidence that a greenhouse on every 160 acres would register over back ground levels? Same thing with temperature and peak flows. Do diversions for pot have a measurable effect over preexisting flow conditions? There needs to be data thats more than what someone thinks or feels on the subject.

    Based on what I have seen and read about past impacts, and what leads to cumulative impacts, id wager the vast majority of grows have little if any impacts. When they do they are localized and should be relatively short lived (that is in 50 years its unlikely there will be any evidence of a grow)

  • Decider2

    Today’s show illustrates the money grubbing attitude of growers. Just legalize pot. Let every user grow his own instead of protecting the black marketeers with government regulations and all the bureaucracy and expense that entails.
    Weed is plentiful and easy for anyone to grow on a small scale. The only thing it isn’t is cheap, due only to its illegality. If users could grow it like lettuce, in their gardens, what idiot would fork over hard money for an ounce? Get the money out of this business and all the associated problems vanish.

  • aintnodarnfool

    Every actor here is acting in accordance with his own role, perhaps some more responsibly than others. But any successful and responsible outcome of these actors trying their best requires the Federal Government to get out of the way. By abusing the Interstate Commerce Clause over and over again, the Federal Government has styymied all good intentions these parties may have. It ‘s not reasonable to expect the Federal gov’t to support socialized medicine on the one hand and then be shocked that they do not support another effort you might view as worthy or even related. The Federal gov’t is at loggerheads with the State of California, and this is exactly the type of messy outcome that is typical. So instead you have unsafe chemicals tainting a product where the the county and state levels could have prevented it successfully.

  • This is shaping up to be a tale of city grower vs. country grower, with plenty of environmental impacts to be considered in both cases. Unfortunately, CEQA compliance hasn’t even been discussed for the new crop of outdoor growing bans popping up statewide. For a must-read primer on the carbon footprint of indoor cannabis cultivation, start here, then start adding on impacts with large-scale outdoor grows:

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