There's been a lot of media hand-wringing recently about ecological damage caused by illegal cannabis grows. I'm not exactly sure why, as it's not relevant to any policy debates.
Marijuana can and should be grown organically and sustainably, there's nothing about the plant which complicates that beyond perhaps the need to prevent pollination.
If policy is about harm reduction then harms done under current policy are absolutely relevant.
It's ironic because you mention slavery while not understanding the war on drugs is crucial to the health of modern slavery, and drug laws are just as much a human rights issue as slavery laws.
I think it's a mistake, however, to oppose regulation of legalized marijuana grows by default. Like any other industry, it's going to have potential for negative impacts, and regulation can help check those impacts.
This is illegal in the US, which includes California.
> each plant gets about four 5-gallon buckets of water every four or five days
Nitpicking aside, the plant that article describes and pictures is very, very large (i.e., an artifact of the 6 plants per farmer limit imposed by that particular state law).
I don't believe those plants are typical for farmers who do not have to follow six-plants-per-person laws. It seems misleading to suggest that the typical plant requires 20L/day based only on the data point of these huge plants.
But the original point, that marijuana is hugely wasteful of water, is pretty ridiculous when you compare it to other crops. Everything uses a lot of water. And saying that indoor is better because it uses less water ignores the extreme amount of waste created by using (and climate controlling for) indoor lights.
Therefore, an outdoor grow operation could probably done with minimal irrigation and no real impact on drinking water supplies.
How much water in the US is used to grow almonds? How much water would be needed to grow weed for every man, woman, and child in the US?
One can argue that both almonds and cannabis take a harmful share of water in drought-prone areas and that both will be controlled.
Additionally: why are those numbers relevant? Just for context?
A single almond takes 1.1 gallons of water (http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/02/wheres-califo...) to produce.
Any argument for limiting marijuana growing based on "it takes lots of water!" has to address why we already permit stuff like almonds to be grown in drought-prone areas.
See this is why I’m not super stoked about that original comment. Instead of making a clear point, I just get thrown some random hints and a “you go figure it out”. It’s like I’m supposed to make ones argument for them, and it might turn out to be completely irrelevant (maybe almonds are orders of magnitude more [e:less!] thirsty!) and then I can’t even reply because the actual argument was never made!
Just give me the numbers. Do your own homework :) (well, not you, but op)
(Edit: as someone else mentioned, this is assuming op was being rhetorical. If it’s a genuine q: I completely second it)
I do not really want to do the math, but if you are worried about the water usage of weed, I do implore you to first look up the water usage of almonds.
[e: I’m not saying this to be petty, my point is this is not a strong argument. It’s a common occurrence, and a pet peeve of mine. I can imagine it feels right—in fact I also believe you are probably right! But were I of the opposite inclination, this wouldn’t convince me.]
This is something that has already been written about a fair amount; is it really fair to expect him to "do his homework" for the counter to your claim when it's based on what is, to some, common knowledge? Moreover, the poster that you had already replied to above included two links to articles about the cost (in water) of growing various things. If you feel the need to "check the numbers", I think the burden might be on you to go find them.
Citation: Gabriel, M. W., L. V. Diller, J. P. Dumbacher, G. M. Wengert, J. M. Higley, R. H. Poppenga, and S. Mendia. 2018. Avian Conservation and Ecology 13(1):2.
Abstract: The documentation of anticoagulant rodenticides (AR) in nontarget species has centered around wildlife that inhabit urban or agricultural settings. However, recent studies in California have shown that AR use in remote forest settings has escalated and has exposed and killed forest carnivores. Anticoagulant rodenticides have been documented as physiological stressors for avian species. Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) critical and occupied habitat overlaps the areas where these studies occurred, yet no data were previously available to demonstrate whether this species was similarly affected. We investigated whether avian predators are also exposed to these specific pesticides and whether Barred Owls (Strix varia) may be a surrogate to indicate exposure rates in Northern Spotted Owls. We documented that 70% of Northern Spotted Owls and 40% of Barred Owls were exposed to one or more anticoagulant rodenticides. None of the rodent prey species sampled within the study area were positive for ARs. There were no spatial clusters for either low or high rates of exposure, though we detected low temporal trend early on throughout the study area. We hypothesize a recent change in land-use toward marijuana cultivation may have led to the increased use of AR in this area. This study demonstrates environmental contamination within occupied Northern Spotted Owl habitat and that Barred Owls can be used as adequate surrogates for detecting these pollutants in a rare species such as the Northern Spotted Owl. Furthermore, additional studies should focus on whether these pesticides are also affecting prey availability for these forest avian species.
That said, I couldn't see any real data here. I don't know whether this is a bigger problem than people using rat poison in general, or putting slug pellets around their lettuces.
I'll be sure to check my labels more carefully at the grocery from now on. No more California produce for me.
> the state produces almost half of all the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the country, as well as a whopping share of the livestock and dairy. 
Eventually, all farms will do away with pesticides and either keep out pests or kill them without chemicals. Swat them or catch them, just like the robotic exterminators that will live in the walls and floors of buildings. Maybe they'll even digest them for energy.
Plus, in the current political climate, it feels like regulations are being struck more frequently than they are being created. And the regulations that are left have nobody to enforce them.
I don't think the legal status of the crop makes much difference.
That's like expecting an illegal gambling den to follow OSHA laws on floor mats better than a casino in Vegas with service union employees.
Growing is highly illegal, and using illegal rat poison techniques is a tiny offence in relation to it. Whereas legally growing and illegally using rat poison is a large offence in relation to no offense at all.
The only reason that a rinky-dink illegal pot growing operation is lucrative today is that it's illegal and most people aren't willing to take the associated personal risks.
maybe the pot growers should provide the rats with some water...
[Edit: also bird-like, which is why a number of eco-friendly people aren't too fond of free range domestic cats in many different parts of the world]
So isn't this more of a regulatory issue than an issue with pot farms in particular? Don't farmers of other crops do the same, or is marijuana particularly susceptible to rats?
I’ve never heard of rodents being associated with marijuana destruction. Is marijuana one of those odd crops that attracts a different category of pests? Like flower bulbs and deer?