Cultivating Disaster was created with the input of dedicated public servants and the public itself. More than 20,000 policy makers, journalists and citizens have used this web site since it was launched in October 2017. It is not new information but simply a summary of information available to policy makers, the media and the public. The pollution of air, land and water by marijuana cultivation, legal and illegal, has all but been ignored by the media and policy makers.
While this report deals with one county, the principles and analysis are relevant to all state and local communities throughout the nation and particularly California who are dealing with issue. The Associated Press has documented confusion that is apparent throughout the state with January 1, 2018 changes in state law.
The Cultivating Disaster Study: More than Calaveras County
In less than four months, numerous officials from the United States Congress, State Legislators and local officials from throughout the nation have read the Cultivating Disaster study. We are pleased that now over 15 California Counties have agreed to work to get state and the Federal Government to take action to deal with the environmental destruction brought by legal and illegal pot growing
The report also includes a Bibliography with expert reports from leading academic institutions and media including:
Stanford University, Harvard University, Yale, and the Scientific American. We have also included an analysis of environmental impact of cannabis cultivation from President Obama's United States Department of Interior. However, the most germaine and important data and information reveals the impact of "pot growing" on Calaveras County. We hope that this report will
empower citizens of other counties and regions of California and our nation to confront
objectively the ecological threat of cannabis cultivation to land and water.
We appreciate the contributions of people from all sectors in making this report a reality.
Restoring the land is of critical importance to all of us.
The report was commissioned by Dennis Mills, the 4th District Member of the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors.
Prior to Mills election to the county Board of Supervisors, he served on the board of the Calaveras County Water District.
The Communications Institute, with extensive experience in public policy analysis and communications,
assisted in compilation and preparation of the report but the conclusions and recommendations are the position of the report sponsor.
The challenges facing Calaveras County and our region are daunting in dealing with the environmental blight caused by pot cultivation.
The Nature Conservancy has estimated that 60-70 percent of marijuana consumed in the United States is grown in California.
As a Stanford analysis noted:
"Marijuana plants require nearly twice as much water as do grapes or tomatoes, and the last five years have brought a 50 to 100 percent increase in the amount of northern California watershed lands used for marijuana production – figures that are causing growing concern among conservationists in the midst of a severe statewide drought."
Cultvating Disaster brings together outstanding research and analysis by many of the nation's leading academic institutions, public agencies responsible for protecting the environment and law enforcement. It presents in one document the analysis ranging from environmental officials of the Obama Administration to top researchers working with the University of California. It puts in perspective the environmental challenge of cleaning up as many as 1,200 pot growing sites just in Calaveras County with many more in other rural counties.
The report provides a list of chemicals that are being used by growers. None have been approved to be used on crops intended for human consumption. The required mitigation costs are estimated to range from a quarter billion to several billion dollars.
Calaveras County and all of California's rural counties face serious challenges. The invasion of pot growers seeking great riches has damaged our property values, the 1,000 plus pot groves have poisoned our water and land, They have also compromised
air quality around pot farms.
The explosion of these grows in Calaveras County and else where are beginning to change the public's perception of the beautiful Sierra Foothills. . We need to understand the long term damage
caused by bad decisions.
This study puts the "Green Rush" in perspective with "Gold Rush" which enriched people while creating an environmental mess. Wineries now number more than 30 bringing millions of dollars in revenue and thousands of tourists every year. The question is do this region want to be known as Wine Country or Pot Country? It is our choice!