So I got ‘turned on,’ as the kids say*, to this article by Mother Jones on the ecological menace found in marijuana production – what? No, seriously, that’s what the article is about. Here, take a look:
To meet demand, researchers say, the acreage dedicated to marijuana grows in the Emerald Triangle [an area in California known for illegal pot growing] has doubled in the past five years. Like the Gold Rush of the mid-1800s, this “green rush,” as it is known locally, has brought great wealth at a great cost to the environment. Whether grown in bunkers lit with pollution-spewing diesel generators, or doused with restricted pesticides and sown on muddy, deforested slopes that choke off salmon streams during the rainy season, this “pollution pot” isn’t exactly high quality, or even a quality high. “The cannabis industry right now is in sort of the same position that the meatpacking industry was in before The Junglewas written by Upton Sinclair,” says Stephen DeAngelo, the founder of Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, a large medical marijuana dispensary. “It simply isn’t regulated, and the upshot is that nobody really knows what’s in their cannabis.”
The Upton Sinclair reference there is indicative of Mother Jones‘ angle on this: which is to say, Man, this lack of regulation that we’re seeing here is awful. It will no doubt bemuse writer Josh Harkinson to discover that, with certain caveats and under specific conditions, I agree with him. I am not a libertarian, although I am in agreement with their general small-government philosophy: I do not think that it’s smart to contaminate the local water supply with pesticides and animal-control poisons**, and I do think that it’s a legitimate function of government to stop people from doing that. Also: given the current drought in California, I can readily forgive people who get upset at seeing water being diverted from legitimate crops and people in order to grow weed. I certainly have my own opinions on where that water is going – opinions that differ from the Hard Left’s – but I’m willing to agree that, wherever it ends up going, it shouldn’t be to the marijuana.
To finish up: it’s interesting, by the way, to see at least some daylight between the People Who Smoke The Mary Jane and the Greenies on this topic. Or perhaps not: of all the groups that got cheated by the administration (a long, long list), perhaps nobody has been cheated more than have the pot legalization folks. That Mother Jones has come up with a good, internally consistent argument*** to justify breaking with the pro-pot people should probably worry the pro-pot people. Although not as much as more federal raids; because if there’s anything that this administration believes in, it’s fighting the War on Some Drugs…
(Image via Shutterstock)
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: About pot legalization itself I retain a basic don’t-wanna-get-into-it attitude on the subject. I got more important things to worry about, honestly. Also, honestly? I don’t care in the slightest what weed’s carbon footprint looks like. Rat poison, sure. Carbon footprint, nope.
*Full disclosure: the kids do not actually say this. They did not say this when I was a kid, and my definition of ‘kid’ gets more and more expansive every year.
**After all, it is not outside the realm of possibility that I may be in California at some point in my life. If I am there, I will certainly be drinking local water at some point. I’d rather it didn’t have any rat poison in it.
***Out of mild courtesy I will forbear from my usual easy contempt for the Greenies. What? No, actually I feel fine. Why do you ask?