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Report: Illegal California Cannabis Farms Endangering Forests With Banned Pesticide

Nina Zdinjak

Forests, wildlife and people in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains could be endangered by one of the most dangerous pesticides around: carbofuran.

In the last month, law enforcement has discovered about 25,000 marijuana plants cultivated illegally within California’s national forests, and at least one parcel was treated with the banned pesticide, Quartz reported Friday

The pesticide in question was pulled off the American market more than 10 years ago due to its toxicity. It managed to kill more birds in the U.S. than any other pesticide in history, the report said.

Experts claim one teaspoon is enough to kill a full-grown bear, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The pesticide is also banned in the European Union, Canada and Brazil.

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To make things even worse, this is not the first time California is facing these issues.

The Associated Press reported a year ago that nine out of every 10 illegal marijuana farms in California had traces of deadly pesticides, endangering wildlife and potentially even water sources.

Another problem with illegal cannabis farms in California is water usage, with one illegal farm poaching a minimum of 5.4 million gallons of water annually to cultivate 6,000 plants, the Times said.  

“These are federal lands, and they are being systematically destroyed through clear-cutting, stream diversion, chemicals and pesticides,” said U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott.

"Water is the most important issue in California, and the amount being used to grow an illegal product in the national forest is mind-boggling." 

Deadly pesticides contaminating the environment and massive water consumption make a perfect combination for seriously endangering the forest ecology.

“It’s a web of death that happens,” Mourad Gabriel, co-director of the Integral Ecology Research Center, told the Times. 

According to Quartz, environmentalists and scientists agree that legalization could be the best solution for preventing similar troubles in the future.

Could it be that simple?

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