Study Finds Legal Cannabis Reduces Illicit Grows in National Forests

Conversations about the effects of legalizing cannabis frequently focus on a few key issues: economic opportunity, social justice, the potential for new medical treatments, and other health benefits. What’s less talked about, however, is how cannabis legalization impacts the environment. Researchers have long documented the ways unchecked outdoor cannabis cultivation can strain resources and negatively impact the environment. And data from the U.S. Department of Justice shows that a significant amount of illegally produced cannabis is grown on federal lands— especially, national forests.

But what if legalization was making a difference? That’s exactly the question a new, first-of-its-kind study set out to answer. Do cannabis-related policies have any effect on illicit grow operations in U.S. national forests? The answer appears to be that yes, legalization does impact illegal grows. In fact, it reduces them significantly.

Expanding Legalization Reduces Illicit Grows in National Forests by a Fifth

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