The Current Magazine Winter 2016/17 - Page 10


One of the threats to the full recovery of the Eel is the damaging effects of marijuana cultivation, which has been expanding dramatically in the region. With the passage of Proposition 64 in November, which legalizes recreational marijuana, new tools are on the way to help deal with the environmental impacts of growing marijuana in sensitive watersheds of the north coast such as the Eel. Thanks to the involvement of CalTrout and other groups, a portion of new taxes on both the cultivation and sale of recreational marijuana will be allocated to addressing the environmental impacts of the marijuana industry. The proposition earmarks 20% of the tax proceeds for enforcement of environmental regulations and the promotion of best practices in how marijuana is grown in the state. This regulation is desperately needed to address rogue marijuana cultivation practices by some growers such as illegally clearing forests, diverting large amounts of surface water and drying up streams during summer months, and contaminating water with herbicides and pesticides.

Lessening the Impact of Marijuana Culitvation