The abuse of public lands by illegal marijuana growers is a story that has been making headlines throughout the West this summer. In July, the New York Times hosteda GreenWire piece on the destruction of forests by drug cartels in the Sierras, and just last week InvestigateWest reportedthat the Denver Post had revealed a massive growing operation in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Now this week, the Wenatchee World writesthat marijuana growers in Washington are tearing up protected forests and leaving huge environmental footprints. Writes K.C. Mehaffey:
On the one site alone, the Forest Service spent $12,906.22 to clean up the area, where streams had been rerouted, slopes were terraced and fertilizers, pesticides and trash were left.
According to the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, nearly 80 percent of seized crops have been found on federal, state or public lands.
The number of raids and of seized plants have placed this year in the record books, reported Jesse McKinley of the New York Times in July. The article also finds that destruction left behind by the polluting cartels is not the only concern of the Forest Service. Some of this year’s most dangerous forest fires have been connected to marijuana grower’s forest activities.