The legalization of marijuana will lead to an influx of stoned wildlife with no survival skills, a DEA agent testified last month.
With Utah considering a bill allowing the use of medical marijuana, DEA special agent Matt Fairbanks was called before a state Senate panel on Feb. 26 to give his opinion on the proposal. According to Fairbanks, if the bill became law then wildlife would “cultivate a taste” for marijuana plants, becoming perpetually high and losing their fear of humans.
The ten-year veteran of the DEA said he had witnessed large-scale marijuana productions in the Utah backcountry that damaged the surrounding flora and fauna. Fairbanks also spoke of witnessing a rabbit that refused to flee at the sight of approaching humans. Fairbanks said;
One of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone.
Scientists contend that large-scale drug cultivation can indeed harm the environment, but through the use of pesticides by causing deforestation and erosion. These effects are not exclusive to drug cultivation, and can occur in every type of agriculture. Since marijuana growers usually operate illegally, they don’t obey regulations and can cause excessive damage to the land as a result. In fact, some advocates say legalization would actually help the environment, since it would allow marijuana to be grown on farms and in gardens, sparing the remote forests that criminal pot farmers use to escape detection.
In some cases, animals can feed on marijuana plants and become high. However, many advocates for legalization dispute the idea that large groups of animals would seek out the plant for recreational use. They also say the occasional inebriated rabbit doesn’t justify denying the use of medical marijuana for patients with debilitating illnesses.
Fairbank’s forewarning of a wildlife reefer madness was unable to dissuade lawmakers, who approved the bill for further debate.