Illegal Marijuana Operations Are Killing Wildlife and Poisoning Water

The damage could last generations

Illegal marijuana growers could be causing severe environmental damage
By Kayla Kibbe / November 13, 2019 6:05 am

Illegal marijuana growth is flourishing in public forests, but the same can’t be said of the surrounding water and wildlife. Forest police and researchers report that insecticides and other chemicals used in the illegal operations are causing longterm environmental damage, NPR reported.

The covert operations have become common among highly organized drug cartels taking advantage of the secluded locations. According to NPR, some sites can go undetected for years. Experts warn that the environmental repercussions could last for generations.

“The true crime here is the fact that they’re killing off basically America’s public lands, killing off the wildlife, killing off our water,” said Kevin Mayer, a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement assistant special agent in charge. “This is stuff that, you know, it’s not gonna repair itself.”

In order to combat this growing environmental crisis, a coalition of environmentalists, law enforcement agents, politicians, wildlife ecologists and representatives of the legal cannabis industry has united in California to form California’s Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, or the CAMP program.

“The solutions are very simple: You prevent it. You eradicate it. You remove the infrastructure and remove the chemicals,” said wildlife disease ecologist Mourad Gabriel.

Under the CAMP program, police have reportedly arrested 148 people and confiscated 168 weapons from 345 raided grow sites across the California.

“Illegal cannabis grows are devastating our communities. Criminals who disregard life, poison our waters, damage our public lands, and weaponize the illegal cannabis black market will be brought to justice,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

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