By: Master Bakey

As marijuana is slowly (and finally) being pulled from the black market into the legitimate business community, a myriad of content is coming out about the benefits of this new economy, and most of it is great! Marijuana users in Colorado are helping to pay for our school system which is a lot better than money disappearing into the black market. And as the culture continues to shift towards a more liberal view of marijuana, a lot of people are trying to get rich off the miracle drug. What most of these patriotic capitalists are choosing to ignore is how marijuana became legal.

Over a decade ago while I was sitting on my couch getting high, social activists were fighting to demonstrate the inherent hypocrisy, racism, and archaic laws that surrounded marijuana. But now that marijuana is on the path to true reform, we have to continue the romantic ideals that early activists held sacred. We can’t let big business do to marijuana, what McDonalds did to the hamburger.

Writer Todd Woody took a look at the environmental ramifications of the mass production of marijuana for the organization TakePart and what he found was a little less sexy than what our hippie fore-fathers had in mind. Humboldt County is the resting places of one of the most beautiful natural forests in the world: the Redwoods. If you have never had a chance to visit, I suggest you do so (and make sure to get really high first). But as our culture is commodifying marijuana at an alarming rate, the Redwoods are being chopped down at a record pace to create ‘marijuana farms.’ From Woody’s piece:

“The single biggest threat to our environment right now has been unregulated you are way too high. For all our fellow stoners, there are just as many who still cling fervently to the anti-hemp axiom. And they will use any ammunition at their disposal to keep it illegal. So as the marijuana industry slowly comes into the fray, we desperately need to keep our local dispensaries accountable. It’s about responsible and sustainable cultivation. As consumers, we need to hold each other and the producers cannabis,” says Natalynne DeLapp, executive director of the Environmental Protection Information Center, a grassroots group that spearheaded the effort to protect the Headwaters and its wildlife. “In the last 20 years we’ve seen a massive exponential growth in cannabis production in the hills of Humboldt County, and we’ve seen really devastating environmental effects.”

Think about that. The single biggest threat to our environment right now is not oil, not factory farming, not urban sprawl, but marijuana.

Shit. This is why we can’t have nice things guys. A handful of states have taken brave steps to completely decriminalize marijuana. And if you don’t think the entire nation is watching to see how this social experiment turns out, you are way too high. For all our fellow stoners, there are just as many who still cling fervently to the anti-hemp axiom. And they will use any ammunition at their disposal to keep it illegal. So as the marijuana industry slowly comes into the fray, we desperately need to keep our local dispensaries accountable. It’s about responsible and sustainable cultivation. As consumers, we need to hold each other and the producers of recreational and medical marijuana accountable, and make sure the ends justify the means.

I don’t want to go back to the days when smoking a joint was a felony – and I assume you don’t either. Unless you were the one selling it to me that is…

Check out Todd Woody’s full article here: takepart.com/UpInSmoke

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