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Marijuana, Greed and the Destruction of California’s Natural Areas

A look at marijuana's impact on natural areas and the greed of those that cultivate the plant.

By: The author chooses anonymity, but wrote this for Patch.

Whether one believes in the medicinal use of marijuana or is against it is not the point of the following column. In fact, many people from various walks of life advocate for the legalization of , including doctors, businessmen, lawyers, police officers and so on.

They each have their own reasons, whether based on medicine, economics or spirituality. No one can argue the tremendous amount of tax dollars that are wasted fighting this otherwise and unwinnable war against pot.

Most law enforcement agents will tell you, even members of the Drug Enforcement Agency --off the record-- that compared to harder narcotics and alcohol, pot is relatively harmless. Personalities such as Bill Maher, Pat Robertson, and Ron Paul, who may differ completely in ideology, all agree that marijuana should be completely legal.

Indeed, has distanced itself from the hippies and nature lovers of the ‘60s that revolutionized the plant’s image in mainstream society.  But is that a good thing? Most dispensary “operators” don’t give a damn about the environment.  They seem to be focused purely on making profit, no matter how they spin the facts—it simply doesn’t take millions of dollars a year for one dispensary to grow some pot for cancer patients and other ill people, including people with anxiety and headaches. Collective! What a joke.

Many of them don’t advocate for full legalization due to fears of hurting their profits—they're sellouts.

Now, what’s even worse is this green gold rush has spread into our national park system. Drug cartels, which some contend would be eliminated if full legalization were instituted, have spread into the park systems, including the San Gabriel Mountains. Farmers, who more than likely supply the so-called “medical marijuana” dispensaries, have begun setting up guerrilla farms , using chemicals and growing techniques that are obliterating many native species of plant. The weed is truly earning its namesake and this cash crop is destroying some of our last remaining natural areas.

"The illegal cultivation of marijuana on our National Forest System is a clear and present danger to the public and the environment," said David Ferrell, when he testified before the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, according to an article on Live Science.

According to the Mother Nature Network, various environmental agencies including the U.S. Forest Service have called for government agencies to prevent the destruction to our forests. Many believe that the solution is complete legalization, which would cause prices drop and make the risks too great for individual illegal farmers to set up shop.

I mean, how many illegal tobacco farms do you ever hear about, right? But how can you help? Boycott dispensaries because all they do is increase funding toward the medicinal marijuana lobby, which has basically become the "privatization of medicinal marijuana for profit movement."

Also, boycott illegal drug dealers because all they do is put money in the hands murderous cartels, and further bolster illegal grow houses and farms.

You want your medicine—then grow it or find a true collective that grows it for you, and truly shares the cost . And keep this fight out of America’s wilderness because in the end, all these illegal farms and greedy dispensary owners will be the poster children of the anti-legalization movement. 

Malcolm Kyle April 22, 2012 at 12:00 PM
When defending their dangerous and counter-productive war on (some) drugs, prohibitio­nists often cite our obligation to 'The Children', but prohibition­ has made all of these 'at present illegal' substances available in schools, and even prisons. So how has that helped our kids? Prohibition­ has also raised gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootleggin­g in the United States. How has that helped our kids? Prohibition­ has creating a prison-for­-profit synergy with evil drug lords and terrorists. How has that helped our kids? Prohibition­ has removed many of our cherished and important civil liberties. How has that helped our kids? Prohibition­ has put many previously unknown and contaminate­d drugs on our streets. How has that helped our kids? Prohibition­ has escalating Murder, Theft, Muggings, and Burglaries­. How has that helped our kids? Prohibition­ has overcrowd­ing the courts and prisons, thus making it increasing­ly impossible to curtail the people who are really hurting and terrorizing­ others. How has that helped our kids? Prohibition­ has evolved local street gangs into transnatio­nal enterprise­s with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, controlling­ vast swaths of territory, and with significant social and military resources at their disposal. How has that helped our kids?
Lisa Hastings April 22, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Thinking Clearly and Malcom Kyle: Thanks for letting us know that you are on the campaign trail to legalize marijuana and that your "job" on patch sites throughout the country is to post your talking points!
Thinking Clearly April 23, 2012 at 04:01 AM
I am a 61 year old man not affiliated with anyone in particular. I call it like I see it. Thank you Lisa.
Dan MacPherson April 28, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Read "Driven to Distraction" by Holowell I say legalize it to grow. Take the money out of it. All of the money. That is the issue-with the gangs, with the cartels, and with the government. IMHO Dan
Payday Advance April 28, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Cool photo Reza! It is tragic that a natural resource with so much promise should be exploited and perverted at the cost of other natural resources due to its life in the shadows of unjust federal law.

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