Why Calif. Pot Farmers Open Fire on Scientists
In California, marijuana growers are damaging the environment
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2014 5:00 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Think pot growers are kind, environmentally-minded hippies? Not in the so-called Emerald Triangle, a weed-farming region of California where illegal growers are spewing pollution, poisoning wildlife, and scaring scientists away from probing the environmental effects of pot-growing, Mother Jones reports. One wildlife ecologist received threats against his family, and researchers in the field have been shot at with high-caliber rifles. "At my university, there is nobody who will even go near" the issue, said a sociologist at Humboldt State University. Cops have conducted raids, but only bust the undocumented farm workers who work there.

The Emerald Triangle, a tri-county area in the Central Valley, was once hippie heaven. But when California legalized pot for medicinal use in 1996, out-of-work loggers went into pot farming and made millions. Prices dropped as domestic supply grew, so the farms expanded—as did the environmental impact of pesticides and generators, analysts say. Not only that, weed production sucked up massive amounts of water in a drought-plagued region and devastated local salmon populations. Solutions? One environmentalist suggests fully legalizing pot so it can be regulated and grown where it's cheapest: "It is not the growers who are a disease. They are just a symptom. The real disease is the failed drug war." Click for the full article, or see an East Bay Express report on how California has banned a rat poison used on "trespass pot grows."

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Showing 3 of 54 comments
Arrow to the Knee
Mar 27, 2014 7:41 PM CDT
I have a good friend who's farm was in a California county that was famous for pot. He had to leave his farm every September or he would be shot by the pot farmers. He would come down to Palo Alto and live with us for two months. Thanks Bill S., we loved you. This was in the 1980's. It's all the same now.
WLeoB
Mar 25, 2014 10:12 AM CDT
Those farmers need to post signs like the one I saw in the Upper Peninsula of MI on US-2: "Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again." Stay away already. Leave those farmers alone! Don't those "scientists" have anything productive to do? Advice: Remember to run "serpentine" to minimize the chances of a hit. Think you're fast? How about 2,000 - 3,000 fps? LOL
hank10303
Mar 24, 2014 11:59 AM CDT
Every war the a republican has started was a failed effort. When Nixon declared the war on drugs he did so based on belief, prejudice and an effort to protect the pharmaceutical and cotton industries that feared competition from a natural plant. Not one argument making marijuana was based on fact, research or any form of verifiable evidence. The end result is it inhibited our medical research, granted the pharmaceutical industry unprecedented oligopoly control, did nothing to preserve the cotton industry that fell to synthetic materials and cost the nation approximately $200 BILLION DOLLARS. Prior to Nixon's declaration none of these things existed with regards to pot.