Marijuana activists may argue that the plant is a natural remedy with many uses, but a new report is claiming that farming the drug has another harmful side-effect: it’s destroying the environment.
Researchers from Ithaca College say that the growing number of small pot farms being planted in remote forest areas are having a major impact on the local environment. The New York team points to forest fragmentation, soil erosion, and landslides as the main side-effects of inserting pot farms into the forest.
The college has previously outlined how commercial marijuana farming was poisoning forest animals with pesticides and dewatering streams by improper irrigation in states like California.
“Policymakers and planners need to enact specific environmental and land-use regulations to control cannabis crop expansion,” environmental studies professor Jake Brenner said in the college’s press release.