Sunday, May 5, 2013
Experiential Journal: Could Marijuana Be Good for the Environment?
By Nick Bower
Ramapo College held its annual GreenFest on April 20 on the Bandshell lawn in the front of the campus. The event was sponsored by the local chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws) and featured food, yoga lessons, vendors selling original merchandise, an inflatable slide and jousting ring, tie-dye station, live rotating bands playing music, and a representative from NORML, who was distributing wristbands and newspapers from his organization.
Throughout the day, students could be seen lounging on the lawn, enjoying the live music and warm, sunny weather. The event, which has always been held on April 20, is gaining in popularity, and is beginning to attract students from nearby schools.
“We heard about this last year, but it was during a weekday so we couldn’t make it down,” Justin Gabriele, a sophomore from Nyack College, said while wearing his Nyack Soccer sweatshirt. “Word got around that GreenFest was on a Saturday this year, I guess because it’s 4/20, so with nothing better to do, me and my friends drove here to see what was going on.”
Everyone was able to enjoy a day out with nice weather and indirectly show their support or curiosity for the cause of reforming marijuana laws. Although GreenFest, with a very environmentally sounding name, seemingly had nothing at the event pertaining to the environment, by advocating for the legalization of marijuana, GreenFest and NORML might actually be helping to improve the environment.
Marijuana, or cannabis, is a plant, which if allowed to grow freely would improve the soil and allow other plants to grow from it nearby. Also, it uses carbon dioxide in its photosynthesis, which reduces the amount of it in our air.
The Scientific American online magazine researched this further and found more benefits that marijuana and the legalization of it would potentially have on the environment. Growing marijuana legally would eliminate the strain on public land, they argue, and also meet higher standards for the use and disposal of toxic substances. If marijuana was legalized, cartels who illegally distribute it by using generators, diesel storage tanks, and animal poison would essentially be of no use and the negative impact they cause to the environment would stop.
Aside from cartels, marijuana growers anywhere would no longer have to keep their plants, which like all plants need light to grow, inside with tons of artificial light. This essentially would reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprint the numerous marijuana growers currently exhibit. Also, if marijuana is legalized, then the production of hemp, which can be used to make paper, fiber, and fuel, would also be legalized.
So, the legalization of marijuana would apparently directly and indirectly benefit the environment, something neither NORML nor the visitors to GreenFest may realize, but promote regardless.