An undeniable point of fact is that industrial cannabis agriculture is having an increasingly quantifiable affect on local and global environments. In the United States there is a significant and worrisome increase in energy intensive and climate damaging indoor grow operations associated with the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana in a variety of states across the country. In Northwest California, both indoor and large scale outdoor grows are having more of an impact on public trust resources with every passing year. EPIC is engaging on this issue under the fundamental premise that the development of policy regarding marijuana on both a national and local level must take environmental ramifications into consideration in order that a sane, healthy, and ecologically sustainable marijuana agriculture paradigm be established. It is clear that marijuana agriculture, as with the flower bulb industry, wine and grape industry, the timber industry, the dairy industry, the tourism industry, and many other iconic North Coast economic motors, is here to stay; to plan otherwise is to ignore four decades of adaptation by an industry whose benefits, and costs, have had an undeniable impact on rural Northwest California.
EPIC is committed to contributing to a level headed engagement on this complex and important human economic activity on the North Coast, with the goal of contributing to the design and implementation of solutions that respect civil liberties as well as protect human and natural communities from the environmental degradation that can be associated with industrial grows. Cannabis agriculture on the North Coast of California has recently been gaining national attention due to the publicizing of graphic evidence describing large-scale egregious and destructive industrial cannabis agriculture operations that are putting decades of community based watershed restoration activities at risk. At the same time, state of the art rural residences featuring homesite grow operations demonstrate a high level of ecological literacy that integrates agricultural production with forward looking water conservation, forest management, and agricultural practices that exemplify core community values of land stewardship. With an increasingly acute tension between “Green Rush” growers looking to make a fast buck regardless of the environmental consequences of their activities and the many local residents committed to a healthy environment and sustainable cottage industry, our communities and our landscapes truly are in the balance.
To further this discussion, and with the intent of seeing regulatory frameworks for the cannabis industry be constructed upon the best available science in order to reduce and/or eliminate the negative environmental consequences of this economic activity, EPIC is honored to participate in the April 19-20 Earthday 2013 HSU Earthday Symposium on Marijuana and the Environment titled “Communities and Landscapes in the Balance: The Crossroads of Environmental Protection and Marijuana Agriculture.”
Stay tuned for more updates from EPIC on this critical issue, and check out the videos posted below from last October’s symposium at HSU.
HSU Press Release from Feb 14 2013: HSU Forum Probes Marijuana’s Environmental Impact
This spring Humboldt State University will host its inaugural Earth Day Symposium on Marijuana and the Environment, centering on a key issue often ignored in mainstream analysis: marijuana’s environmental effects.
The first annual symposium, sponsored by HSU’s Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HIIMR) and the Department of Sociology, is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20, in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Building and other campus locations to be announced later.
The two-day symposium is titled “Communities and Landscapes in the Balance: The Crossroads of Environmental Protection and Marijuana Agriculture.” It is outlined in full on the new HIIMR website (http://humboldt.edu/dee/hiimr/) and will comprise numerous panels, workshops and multimedia presentations. The symposium will bring together leading policymakers, grassroots environmental organizations, activists, scientists, students and community members.
Panelists will share their expertise about a broad spectrum of marijuana issues, including land use policy, water quality, forest degradation, northern California fish and wildlife protection and the climate damage inflicted nationwide by indoor grows.
Among the tentative topics to be addressed (subject to change) are:
Public Lands and Trespass Marijuana Grows — Prevention and Cures
Ecological Data – What We Know and What We Need to Know
Private Timberland Impacts: Trespass, Conversion and Solutions
Legislative Updates on Marijuana Policy and the Environmental Implications
Public Health Impacts of Smoking Toxic Weed
The Ecological Footprint of Indoor Marijuana Agriculture
Indigenous Land and the Marijuana Industrial Complex
Environmental Impacts and the Marijuana Industry: Worst-Case Scenarios
Threats to Fish from Marijuana Agriculture
“We expect the symposium to enhance the understanding of the many ways marijuana cultivation impacts the environment,” say HIIMR Co-Directors and Professors Erick Eschker and Joshua Meisel. “It also will contribute to California’s efforts to develop ecologically sound and economically sustainable policy.”
Registration is available online at http://humboldt.edu/dee/hiimr/.
Video from Autumn 2012 Symposium at HSU now available on line:
Last October 2012 EPIC participated in a previous symposium on these topics. Last falls symposium “Environmental Challenges of Marijuana Agriculture in the Age of Prohibition” brought together community members, grassroots environmental activists, elected officials, and agency representatives to address the impacts of cannabis agriculture, and offer insights into the opportunities and challenges involved in addressing these problems. Video of that symposium is now available on line: http://vimeopro.com/todu/environ-challenges-of-marijuana-ag-in-the-age-of-prohibition
Fall Symposium Video 1 of 4