Being in nature, getting back to our roots, watching wildlife, sitting by a stream…such a euphoric experience. Unless that very nature is being destroyed by our desires. Now that cannabis is legal, the darker side of usage is coming to light.
The Black Market didn’t dry up like a stream with legalization, but drying up streams is happening. Illegal growers have to hide large enterprises where eyes are lacking presence. The easiest way to do this is trespass on protected forests and parks as well as tribal/first nation lands.
Breaking into areas is step one, then comes building a setup to protect and support the plants. Pesticides and rodenticides kill off the fragile land life that trickles up the food chain. On the water side, diverted streams and dried up water tables, from water siphoned off, destroy fish and cause desertification of land quickly as cannabis plants require copious amounts of water, and illegal grows have to create on the spot irrigation systems in every way possible.
Legal growing isn’t pristine either. Between air pollution and electricity, cannabis can be very un-green to the earth. Terpenese are one culprit.
Terpenes are phenomenal in cannabis use whether smoking, vaping, or in concentrates. One of the reason they are so reactive is that they are VOCs (volatile organic compounds). And react they do. While growing, the terpenes out gas and combine with nitrogen oxide and sunlight to make aerosols. Without regulations in place to force growers to filter air leaving a greenhouse, the ozone can be degraded.
Fossil fuels also hurt the ozone, and legal growers require abundant electricity. “Although data in Canada is limited, a 2012 U.S. study found that cannabis production was responsible for three per cent of California’s total electricity use, which is the equivalent energy consumption of about one million homes.”
So what is the takeaway? Support growers and legislature that requires responsible growing practices including water conservation and energy conservation. We want cannabis, but we want a healthy earth for our healthy plant.