In this May 7, 2019, photo released by Cannabis Removal on Public Lands (CROP) Project, a group including U.S. Forest Service rangers, scientists and conservationists work to reclaim a so-called trespass grow site where nearly 9,000 cannabis plants were illegally cultivated. Authorities allege members of an international drug trafficking ring set up camp at the site months earlier. (Jackee Riccio/CROP via AP)
Illegal marijuana grows continue to show up in our national forests but removing the sites is only half the battle, according to Ryan Henson, Senior Policy Director with the California Wilderness Coalition.
Henson says, “Cartels are able to get away with establishing these grows. By now, there are literally thousands of them out there, even when they are found out, mostly the marijuana is removed and not the waste.”
Waste like illegal pesticides. In 2018, 90% of sites had them, according to the Cannabis Removal On Public Lands Project.
Carbofuran is commonly found on illegal grow sites. According to the EPA, it over-stimulates the nervous system causing nausea, dizziness, confusion, and at very high exposures, respiratory paralysis and death in humans.
Surprisingly it is made by Philadelphia-based FMC Corp. It’s sold under the brand name Furadan.
Henson says, “People are often busted for the growing of marijuana as opposed to being busted for the crimes, the terrible crimes like the killing of wildlife.”
Wildlife, like the Pacific Fisher, an animal that has a pretty major role in our ecosystem, according to André Sanchez, a San Joaquin Valley Organizer with the California Wilderness Coalition.
Sanchez says, “It’s one of the main predators in the national forest. It is a sensitive and threatened species. Because they are a higher part of the food chain they very much receive the negative impacts.”
Published: November 30, 2021
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News