Carah J.K.,Nature Conservancy of California |
Howard J.K.,Nature Conservancy of California |
Thompson S.E.,University of California at Berkeley |
Short Gianotti A.G.,Boston University |
And 10 more authors.
BioScience | Year: 2015
The liberalization of marijuana policies, including the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana, is sweeping the United States and other countries. Marijuana cultivation can have significant negative collateral effects on the environment that are often unknown or overlooked. Focusing on the state of California, where by some estimates 60%-70% of the marijuana consumed in the United States is grown, we argue that (a) the environmental harm caused by marijuana cultivation merits a direct policy response, (b) current approaches to governing the environmental effects are inadequate, and (c) neglecting discussion of the environmental impacts of cultivation when shaping future marijuana use and possession policies represents a missed opportunity to reduce, regulate, and mitigate environmental harm. © 2015 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences.