Pubdate: Sun, 06 Oct 2013
Source: Times-Standard (Eureka, CA)
Column: Here's a Thought
Copyright: 2013 Times-Standard
Author: Tim Martin
Note: Tim Martin resides in McKinleyville and writes this column for 
the Times-Standard.


Yo, Mr. THC out there in the hills. Yeah, Rip Van Stinkle, I'm 
talking to you. Shake off that pot haze and take a look around. 
You're wreaking environmental havoc with your "medical" marijuana 
farm. You're mowing down timber and grading the mountaintop flat for 
a greenhouse. You're also polluting the watershed with herbicides, 
pesticides and fungicides just to grow your weed.

What you're doing is all kinds of disgusting.

Stop toking up for a minute and listen. You deserve to be beaten with 
an iron bong for the mess you've made. You should be bound, trussed, 
and flogged by every logger you ever put out of a job with your 
hypocritical tree-sitting and noisy protesting. You ought to be 
ashamed of yourself. Dude, you're destroying our forests in a manner 
that would have made Charles Horowitz positively gleeful.

Remember when, not long ago, if anyone dared to so much as file a 
timber harvest plan you climbed on your environmental high horse, 
donned an Earth First! T-shirt, and chained yourself to a nearby 
tree? Now, check out the trash around your grow site. Look at the 
chemicals polluting that nearby stream. This place makes a Maxxam 
clear-cut look cheery by comparison. You're ruining our natural 
resources. You're diverting water from our streams, destroying 
spawning habitat, and threatening endangered populations of trout, 
steelhead, and salmon.

There are other growers out there just like you, thousands of them. 
According to the Los Angeles Times, in one remote, 37-square mile 
forest patch, scientists found 567 outdoor farms and greenhouses.

Dude, you're scaling new heights of bad examples. Marijuana sucks up 
a heap of water. According to Scott Bauer, a California Fish and 
Wildlife scientist in charge of the coho salmon recovery program, 
growers are siphoning millions of gallons of water from our streams. 
You need a permit to take water from a creek. But less than 1 percent 
of you actually comply with the permits, and usually only after an 
enforcement action. You're threatening an endangered species that the 
government spends millions to protect.

Remember how hard you fought to save the spotted owl? What happened, man?

The environment is really taking it on the chin. I support marijuana 
legalization as much as the next guy, but rogue growers like you are 
killing our wildlife. What you're doing is a crime against nature, 
like strip mining or fracking. It's the money, isn't it? That's why 
you grow enough weed to choke out Snoop Dogg.

Is there a soul on God's green earth you can trust when money is 
involved? My guess is no.

Here's another problem with your grow site: researchers are finding 
contaminants seeping into the watershed from marijuana farms. On top 
of fungicides, they're discovering fertilizers, diesel fuel, human 
waste, and plant hormones. They've found an insecticide called 
Carbofuran in some of our most sensitive ecosystems. Pot growers use 
the stuff to kill bears and other animals that raid their camps. 
Carbofuran is lethal to humans in even tiny doses.

This is what happens when keeping it real goes wrong.

Then there's the not-so-small matter of growers like you who grade 
the soil for greenhouses. With no permits or provisions for runoff, 
operations like these dump tons of silt into our streams during the 
rainy season. Scientists also found that runoff from potting soil and 
fertilizers, combined with lower-than-normal river flow due to water 
diversions, have resulted in a spate of toxic algae blooms in North 
Coast rivers over the past decade.

What a shameful mess this is, huh? I guess every day is trash day 
when you grow marijuana in the mountains.

Sure, legalized pot would make things better, even fish migration. It 
would bring pot farmers out of the hills, create thousands of small 
businesses and jobs, and generate revenue for our cash strapped 
local, state and federal governments. Better yet, growers could get 
organic certification to assure their customers of the quality and 
value of the methods used. Maybe someday that will happen. Who knows?

In the meantime, how about cleaning up this mess and focusing on the 
environment? Make yourself an exception among growers, a gem among 
the dirt clods. And next time someone asks about the carbon footprint 
of your pot farm, you can proudly say that it's the same as it was 
back when you were a tree-hugging, hippie environmentalist.

Seriously, dude, Mother Nature will thank you.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom