Heather Bailey, SONOMA WEST TIMES & NEWS
In an industry that wants to be seen as green, what are the real impacts? The answer is, no one knows for sure.
When you hear anti-cannabis groups complain about the impacts of legal cultivation, one concern that is often expressed is the impact on natural resources and the environment caused by growing cannabis. But how significant are those impacts, and what do they consist of? The answer is, it’s hard to say.
The research on impacts is limited and has been done almost exclusively on illegal grows. The fact they were illegal limited funding for research, limited what grows could be studied and creates significant questions as to whether the research findings can be predictive of the impacts from legal operations.
Sonoma County cannabis ordinances for legal cultivation have a strong environmental protection component, including pages of regulations about water and watersheds alone.
But are they enough? Research into environmental impacts of legal operations are in their infancy, so it may take time and research to determine best practices.