Weed growers versus the environment

Michael from Mother Jones writes, "Most people who use marijuana probably don't give much thought to where it comes from. Alas, a huge chunk of it comes from environmentally devastating 'trespass grows' in the national forests, where the growers cut down trees, divert waterways for irrigation, and deploy rodent poison that makes its way into species that are under threat, including birds and weasel-like mammals called fishers. 'I would consider it the No. 1 threat to salmon' in Northern California, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist tells Josh Harkinson, who reported the story for Mother Jones."

Whether pot is grown outdoors or indoors (an estimated one-third is grown indoors), the stats are pretty staggering. In California, by far the biggest growing state, indoor grows account for nearly 9 percent of residential electricity use. Nationwide, the amount of electricity sucked up by pot grows would power 1.7 million homes and is equivalent to the output of seven large power plants. In the Emerald Triangle, streams run dry thanks to all the water illegally siphoned off by pot farmers. Mourad Gabriel, a wildlife ecologist who studies fishers and who has been outspoken about the environmental damage caused by illicit pot growers, has been a target of their backlash. Harkinson writes…

In 2012, after Gabriel published his rat poison results, he was the target of angry calls and messages. One person accused him of helping the feds "greenwash the war on drugs." Another made vague threats against his family and his dogs. Gabriel also received a prying email, later traced by federal agents to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, soliciting the locations of his home, office, and field study sites. In Lost Coast Outpost and other local news sites, commenters shared links to his home address. "Snitches end up in ditches," one warned.

Last month, Nyxo, Gabriel's Labrador retriever, died after someone fed him meat infused with De-Con rat bait.

The Landscape-Scarring, Energy-Sucking, Wildlife-Killing Reality of Pot Farming
[Josh Harkinson/Mother Jones]