The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has destroyed more than $1 billion worth of marijuana crops since July 1, 2012. While many other types of crops around the United States have been destroyed due to drought, the cannabis industry is still buzzing along, specifically in state forests and national parks throughout California, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
Drug agents dug up more than 578,000 cannabis plants in the Western US in just two short months while arresting 14 people.
The plants are estimated to be worth upwards of $1 billion and more than 80 percent of that value was found in California where the debate over legalizing marijuana continues to rage on.
The justice department also notes that the marijuana fields left more than just pot to clean up, officials also pulled:
“Huge amounts of trash, miles of irrigation line, and many pounds of fertilizer and pesticides were removed from grow sites on public lands.”
During large marijuana operations, officials often turn their attention towards the “environmental impact” of growing marijuana in an attempt to take the spotlight off the legalization issue.
According to the statement national and state parks continue to feel:
” … the effects of illegal marijuana … long after the crop is harvested. Marijuana growers remove natural vegetation to make room for the marijuana. They cut down trees to allow sunlight into the site, and they divert streams from their natural path to irrigate the land.”
At least 96 marijuana fields were cited as destroyed in the report, although that number may have been higher.
The environmental impact of marijuana could be lightened in authorities would finally legalize and monitor the crops rather than forcing “criminals” into hiding.