New Marijuana Grants in California Aim to Restore the Environment
One way to balance the negative effects of weed cultivation on the land.
Commercial cannabis production does little or nothing to help the environment. Californian officials have promised to offer grants to help combat the negative impacts of weed cultivation. This is considered as a means to assist environment restoration.
California is the state that produces the largest amount of cannabis. There are large expanses of land committed to cultivating different varieties of cannabis within the state's borders. The widely acclaimed emerald triangle is located within California. The latest announcement by these officials about its plans to offer new cannabis grants to deal with the detrimental effects of commercial weed cultivation is a welcome development.
Negative environmental impact
More than 33 states now approve the cultivation and sales of cannabis either for its recreational or medical purpose or for both purposes. Like California, other states produce their weed, but their production scale is lesser than that of California. For one, California has a lot of landmasses that can be used for cultivation purposes.
There are so many pros to cultivating cannabis, so cultivators tend to ignore the environment's health. Some of the detrimental effects of large scale cultivation on the environment include:
Studies have shown that high concentrations of cannabis farms in a state have increased emissions of these sites. These emissions are environmental hazards that produce harmful pollutants into the air. Cannabis plants produce volatile organic compounds also known as VOCs. These VOCs impact the ozone when produced in very high quantities.
California cultivators grow cannabis majorly in forested watersheds. Cannabis is a water-hungry plant that requires daily watering throughout its growing season.
Experts estimate that greenhouse-grown cannabis crops consume about 3 billion liters of water from June to October. At other times, farmers make use of irrigation practices. Rivers are drained to sustain farms, while aquatic animals are left with little water that reduces their production levels. Both licensed and trespassed grows have been found doing this in California.
Depleting wildlife resources
These farms are often located in public and tribal lands which used to be pristine habitats for wildlife.
The use of pesticides, rodenticides, and herbicides often affect the wildlife, as they are sometimes killed by the poisonous substances intended to keep them away from the grows.
Their resources for feed are degraded by the number of fertilizers poured into the land. Their sources of water are also polluted and degraded.
The Cannabis Restoration Grant Program (CRGP) is coming up in a few months. A few days ago, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced that concept proposals are being considered from various cannabis cultivators in the state.
In the press statement, CRGP disclosed that the grant program will be committed to covering the highly expensive restoration projects. The statement added that the agency is more interested in the effects of cannabis cultivation and related activities on environmental damage to watersheds.
The California Department for Fish and Wildlife agency says that all solicited proposals must be submitted between the fall of 2021 and the spring of 2023. Applicants have to go through three stages, which include Consultation, pre-application, and full application.
The consultation stage can be skipped, however, the agency advises that applicants consider going through the stage. According to the press release, it will give applicants a chance to have a one-on-one discussion with CDFW staff. Here, they can broach discussions on their applicability and eligibility status.
The program director of CDFW, Jeremy Valverde said that the cultivation program will help with many restoration projects that are unavailable for small cultivators. Qualified applicants will be able to make use of environmentally sustainable practices while trying to restore the damaged ecosystem on the farm. Valverde added that the agency believes the grant support will help several cultivators move from being issued provisional licenses to having an annual license status.
A prominent personality in the emerald triangle region, Peggy Murphy has commended the initiative. In her statement, Humboldt County's Economic Development Specialist said that this will be a great opportunity to assist local small cannabis farms. Many of these farms spend thousands of dollars to remain compliant with the accepted cannabis practices, however, there is still a major financial barrier due to this.
Peggy says that she is very interested in the initiative and she looks forward to learning more about this CDFW funding opportunity.
She plans to contribute to her community by participating in the solicitation process and using available resources to ensure members of the cannabis community in Humboldt and the Emerald triangle access the grants as soon as it is available.
More information on how to obtain and fill the applications can be found on the official CDFW site. Applicants can also contact the regional headquarters office for other inquiries. CDFW visitor and license centers have been shut down due to COVID-19.
Environmental restoration practices
All cannabis cultivation practices have risks attached. Be it Outdoor, Greenhouse, or Indoor cultivations, they all have damaging effects on the environment in different proportions.
Not every farmer would be able to get expensive grants to keep the damages under control, so it is high time better and cheaper practices are developed. Such as;
The varieties with the least VOCs emissions can be planted to reduce air pollution.
Indoor cultivation can employ better lightning sources that would not encourage the high emission of carbon into the air.
Minimal poisonous substances should be used in outdoor cultivation to protect the existing wildlife from dying off.
And many others.
It is not enough for environmental restorations to be ongoing while more farms are springing up to disrupt ongoing remediations or even make the damages worse.
California has more than 10,000 cannabis cultivation sites that have been registered. The state makes tax revenue on sales from these farms. The profit is high enough for the government to consider dedicating a percentage of it to researching the environmental implications of such commercial-scale cultivation.
The state can then introduce other grants to focus on environmental remediation, not only on watershed effect but on other aspects. This way, the state keeps on making its profit and the environment Is also restored in the process.