Marijuana grows have a tremendous impact on the environment
Florida's current low-THC medical marijuana law allows for the establishment of six marijuana cultivation sites that will grow and distribute marijuana to licensed retailers.
Amendment 2 would allow for an unlimited amount of cultivation centers that could be large indoor or outdoor grows.
Increasing Florida's Carbon Footprint: Many commercialized marijuana growers prefer indoor-cultivation because it is easier to control all aspects of the environment and it allows for perpetual harvests. Indoor cultivation uses large amounts of energy from lighting and air conditioning, an amount estimated at 8 times more than a typical commercial building and 4 times more than a hospital per-square foot. In Colorado, Denver's electricity rate is increasing at a rate of 1.2% per year and 45% of the increase comes from medical marijuana growing facilities that used 86 million kWh in 2012 and 121 million in 2013.
It is estimated that each marijuana plant consumes 6 gallons of water a day. In 2013, Fish and Wildlife officials in California (where medical marijuana is legal) investigated 264 marijuana grows and removed 129 illegal dams used to irrigate. Outdoor marijuana grows can have a major impact on watersheds as the use of water resources within a watershed ultimately affects all downstream inhabitants, even those that reside in adjacent downstream watersheds. The diversion of water from watersheds in California is having a significant impact on residents, especially in drought season. Salmon Creek watershed, a 36.9 square mile area in Humboldt County, CA, estimated water use by outdoor and greenhouse marijuana grows equals 124,185 gallons per day compared to 31,680 gallons used per day by the area's residents.
Florida has 29 major watersheds. The lowering of the water table can lead to houses or roads falling into sinkholes. Devastating results from attempts to alter the functioning of Florida's watersheds, specifically the Everglades, has spurred current initiatives to restore this unique ecosystem. Amendment 2 would result in dramatic alterations to our watersheds and potentially cause irreparable damage to Florida's ecosystem.
We urge all Floridians to consider the environmental consequences of legalizing marijuana.
We need to protect the state's natural resources.