Since the 1960s, primarily, pot smoking and tree hugging have gone hand in hand for many would-be world peace advocates and drum circlers. In the 60s, hippies cried out for everyone to come together, get along, care about the planet, and also, light up. Today, there are many environmentalists who smoke, and the legalization in California, Colorado and other states has resulted in lots of marijuana farms cropping up (literally).
What’s a modern hippie to do? Pot farmers are using pesticides and rodenticides, killing off wildlife and allowing the runoff to drain into various bodies of water – it’s like factory farming in terms of its negative environmental impact.
One of the answers, of course, is to nationally legalize the drug – that way, regulations could be placed upon these farms. As it is now, no such regulations can be handed down because that would validate the farms as legitimate, legal businesses, which could get each state’s government in federal hot water. For the states, they must either crack down on the marijuana farming which they themselves legalized, or they’re complicit with marijuana farming by nature of their regulation. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
So of course, environmentalists who smoke pot are going to say “Legalize on a federal level” and there’s certainly valid arguments to be made for that. The problem is what happens in between now and the day when that happens, because government is slow and progress is incremental; don’t hold your breath. Until the day (most likely 2020 or beyond), smoking pot isn’t any more environmentally friendly than buying food from Monsanto or driving a Hummer (at least in principle).
If you’re a true environmentalist who drives a Prius/bike, eats sustainably, reuses, reduces, recycles and fights for the conservation of this planet, you can’t smoke pot without exhaling a little bit of hypocrisy. Not yet. If you want to smoke without hurting the planet, lobby your congressperson or do your research on where you’re getting your stuff (Disclaimer: I’m only saying this to people who live in states where this is legal, of course). Until marijuana farms stop hurting the planet, you’re better of going green by not smoking green.