The positive environmental impact of legalising cannabis cultivation

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By now, we’ve all heard about the positive effects that cannabis and cannabis-related products such as cannabidiol (CBD) may have on human and animal health.

Scientific studies have reported that these products, particularly CBD oil, can positively impact a wide range of health conditions, and therefore many countries in the EU have already legalized the medical use of cannabis and cannabis products.

These decisions have had a tremendous impact on Europe, Canada, and the US, since they affect more than just the medical and scientific areas.

  • In terms of positive financial impact, legalizing medical cannabis and cannabis-based products has created a huge market, including in the edibles industry. Also, it allowed for the creation of new food and medical businesses, as well as regulated production facilities, creating thousands of new jobs.

Nonetheless, and since recreational cannabis use, distribution and possession are mostly illegal in many EU countries, cultivating cannabis is also still considered a criminal offense, unless special government permits are issued for certain companies.

Although experts don’t say for sure whether legalizing recreational cannabis may have a positive impact on the world or not, there are indicators that point to the benefits of legalizing cannabis cultivation.

According to an article issued by The Environmental Magazine, legalizing cannabis cultivation may have a very positive impact on the environment and planet sustainability. Next, we will highlight the main arguments used by the authors to defend this idea.

#1: Ecosystem protection and maintenance

The fact that cannabis cultivation and the production of cannabis-related products are activities authorized only to a few selected organizations and companies, forces smaller cannabis producers to illegally cultivate the plants in secrecy.

Usually, illegal cannabis farmers choose remote forest locations to build their cultivation fields. Of course, choosing these locations allows them to freely cultivate the plants without suffering the criminal punishment for their actions, but it also has a very negative impact on those locations’ ecosystems.

Cultivating cannabis requires plenty of water, irrigation and waste removal materials that need to be moved to said locations. Also, since the cultivation is not regulated by external entities, many times pesticides and other additives are used on the soil, intoxicating the whole surrounding environment.

These practices severely impact both the local fauna and flora, and so the authors argue that legalizing cannabis cultivation would allow the producers to stop cultivating in secret and stop negatively influencing remote ecosystems.

Moreover, the legalization would require tighter control of the cultivation methods. This would allow the implementation of better waste removal strategies and more ecological cultivation practices, which would impact not also environmental quality, but the products’ quality as well.

#2: Better resources management strategies

The resources used to illegally cultivate and smuggle cannabis are extremely high.

For example, since the producers can’t cultivate cannabis out in the open, it forces them to illegally cultivate the plants indoors and spend tremendously high amounts of energy to keep the required artificial lights working. Therefore, allowing the plants to be cultivated in the sun would greatly reduce the carbon footprint and energy consumption.

Moreover, the allocation of resources needed to enforce the anti-cannabis laws is also very high. In fact, the authors argue that legalization would decrease the expensive operations and destructive chemical efforts to eradicate illegal cultivation sites, as well as decrease the heavy burden on prison systems.

#3 New environmentally friendly resources

The authors also refer that legalizing the production of hemp would have a tremendous impact on our current domestic use of resources.

It is well-known that hemp has a wide variety of industrial applications and can be used as a biodegradable ingredient in the production of textiles, plastics, paper, food, and even fuel. Moreover, cultivating hemp requires very little use of pesticides and fertilizers since it grows very fast and in abundance.

These arguments make very interesting points in favor of legalizing cannabis cultivation, but the social impacts also need to be carefully evaluated. Worldwide experts are currently studying these topics, and some countries are considering expanding their cannabis production, or even legalizing the recreational use of the plant.

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