Media Release 7 July 2020
The Primary Land Users Group (PLUG) representing a cross-section of forestry, dairy, horticulture and dry-stock land-users has called out the Green Party, asking how they can reconcile their desire for legal cannabis with the negative environmental effects from cannabis cultivation.
In a media release, they’ve highlighted the experience of overseas jurisdictions where there has been erosion, river diversion, and habitat destruction from large grows, and say that the Greens “are quite vocal about blaming agriculture and the burning of fossil fuels for the country’s GHG emissions but it seems, taking the USA consumption as an example of the likely effects from legalisation in NZ, that logic does not come into their thinking – it is just about self-satisfaction.”
They also highlight concerns around “the case of pollution with the use of chemicals, which are often used to kill rodents which may damage the crop. These chemicals make their way into the sewage system and into our water supplies. They also make their way into the food chain, and can pose significant health risks to predators,” and that in Colorado, the “voracious energy consumption of growers is rubbing up against the city’s ambitions of cutting greenhouse gases.” They also say that “producing just a couple of pounds of weed can have the same environmental toll as driving across America seven times.”
In their concluding statements, they warn; “The legalisation of recreational or medicinal marijuana in eight states including California, Florida and Massachusetts, means some of the nation’s hard-earned progress towards climate change solutions is on the chopping block as regulators continue to ignore this industry’s mushrooming carbon footprint.”
SayNopeToDope campaign spokesperson Aaron Ironside says “The full effects of the industry on the natural environment are only just beginning to be recognised. These impacts occur even under a so-called “regulated” environment, as the vast amounts of water and electricity needed to power marijuana farms are damaging to the environment. One average kilogram of final product is associated with 4600 kg of carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. According to research published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, cannabis cultivation consumes 5.2 MWh/y/kg of electricity and produces roughly 4.6 metric ton of CO2/kg of product.”
“If the Greens really want to protect the environment and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, then they should not be pushing for introducing the cannabis industry into New Zealand which may lead to environmental harms.”