In many states there is ongoing debate about the legalization of marijuana. While some studies show it has medicinal properties and many states have laws that allow it's use for medical conditions, there hasn't been much debate on the production side of the equation. How is marijuana grown, what impact does it have on the land and other crops and is it a plant that can negatively impact the environment. These are the questions two professors, one from Ithaca College in NY State and one from UC Berkeley, studied in their research into the impact of the crop on the environment. Their study is the first of it's kind to really look at the environmental factors of marijuana farming.
The study looked at marijuana "grows" or farmed areas in Humboldt County California. Much of the nation's legal and illegal pot is grown in California and this area is known as the Emerald Triangle. The impact there has been one that some researchers say could spread to other states as legalization efforts progress. In this part of California native species are being impacted, as is erosion and run off of agro chemicals. While the study suggests a negative impact on the environment from increased pot plantings, the economic impact is much more positive, since it's a cash crop and, if legalized, can bring millions of dollars to rural areas that don't have much industry.