Rat poison from marijuana farms is sickening and killing owls, fouling wildlife habitat and allowing rodents to spread contamination through large swaths of Northern California’s most famous cannabis-growing region, according to University of California researchers,
High levels of rodenticide were found in seven of 10 northern spotted owls and 34 of 84 barred owls tested between 2006 and 2016 near marijuana plantations in Humboldt, Mendocino and Del Norte counties. Both species are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
The study, by UC Davis and the California Academy of Sciences, is the first account of deadly rodenticide in northern spotted owls, a redwood tree-loving bird that is listed as a threatened species under the federal and state Endangered Species acts.
The San Francisco Chronicle says large quantities of rat poison were previously found in the weasel-like creatures known as Pacific fishers, which also live in the Emerald Triangle marijuana-growing region.
“We’re deeply concerned that there aren’t sufficient conservation protective measures in place,” said Mourad Gabriel, a researcher on the faculty of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and the lead author of the study. “If no one is investigating the level at which private marijuana cultivators are placing chemicals out there, the fragmented forest landscapes created by these sites can serve as source points of exposure for owls and other wildlife.”
California’s Democratic attorney general says his office will vigorously enforce the state’s new recreational marijuana law despite the threat of a federal crackdown. Attorney General Xavier Becerra wants weed, money, and a platform to criticize U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Clearly he doesn’t give a damn about the environment.