Northern California's environment is under attack from unregulated medical marijuana growers. The rise in demand for medical marijuana has been a boom for growers of the plant, but has left a scar on the landscape.
California state scientists have found evidence that unregulated growers of marijuana have done significant harm to the fragile ecosystems in Northern California. The scientists state unregulated growers have pumped chemical fertilizers and pesticides into rich soil and fragile rivers, siphons millions of gallons of water away from estuaries and watershed supplies, cleared protested trees, leveled mountaintops, and killed off protected species.
As many as 18 million gallons of water have been used to grow marijuana from the Eel River. The Eel River is home to the endangered coho salmon, a species California has spend millions on protecting their spawning grounds.
The runoff from marijuana farms has contaminated the river, killing off native species and fish down river. The farms avoid regulation by being illegal under federal law. This legal gray area has put the environment in danger.
Another creature in jeopardy from unregulated marijuana farms is the fisher, a rare forest carnivore. The fisher corpses found by scientists contained pesticide. Other chemicals are being used to kill bears and boars who come near the farm sites.
Without intervention and regulation, several species may become extinct as a result of pot farms in Northern California. The tab to clean up the soil and waterways will fall to the taxpayers of California. The long-term damage to the environment may be irreparable.