Growers–‘Excellent Stewards of the Lands’

Frog in an organic medical marijuana garden (photo taken August 2010 by Kym Kemp)

Marijuana growers’ associations throughout the state are pushing back against the image of cannabis farmers as environmental nightmares and offering plans on how to protect the natural world. The Chair of the Emerald Growers Association, Kristin Nevedal–a Humboldt County resident, co-wrote a piece with Nate Bradley, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association for the Sacramento Bee.  The piece asserts that regulation of medical marijuana would protect the environment and assist law enforcement in expending their scarce resources on the worst environmental offenders.

The two put forward as a possible standard the Yuba County model which was worked out by both government and by growers including Bradley. They write

After several months of meetings, filing a lawsuit and finally going into arbitration, Yuba County and the growers association were able to craft a sensible ordinance that both sides could agree on. That year with a new cultivation ordinance in their arsenal and clipboards full of new rules and regulations, Yuba County deputies and code enforcement officers were able to go out and crack down on problem growers who had been creating public safety nightmares in neighborhoods. This would not have been possible if Yuba County had not come together with the stakeholders throughout the community to create a solution.

In addition, Saturday, Andrew Merkel who is the chair of the Board of Directors of the Western Plant Science Association which “represents the interests of qualified medical marijuana patients and collectives,” wrote another piece for the Bee.

He wrote

The fact is that a very small percentage of marijuana growers are causing damage to the environment, almost exclusively the drug cartels  that grow marijuana on our public lands and those who are simply in it to sell recreational marijuana on the black market…

He then pointed out research that shows cannabis can be effective in treating various medical conditions. He noted that in 2009 that the American Medical Association “stated that cannabis has medical benefits and requested that the federal government reclassify cannabis, to promote more scientific research.” (See here for more information.) Patients, he says, need access to clean medicine.

…most qualified patients and collectives don’t use chemical fertilizers,  herbicides or pesticides.

Those with serious illnesses who use medical marijuana do so partly because it is natural, not chemical. Similarly, most medical marijuana growers are excellent stewards of the land upon which they grow and take great pride in caring for our environment and our natural resources in a responsible manner.


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