Business is booming for cannabis cultivators in California, but that success is unfortunately coming at the expense of the environment. As cannabis fields grow, livable habitats for the dwindling population of Humboldt martens have been shrinking, putting the species at risk of extinction.
The Humboldt marten has been suffering for years. And while they are not recognized as an endangered species at this time, they had actually been thought to have gone extinct before a small group of them were discovered in 1996. Today it is estimated that there are only approximately 100 left in the wild.
Aside from cutting back their natural habitat, cannabis cultivation may also be responsible for poisoning some of the marten's food sources as well. Some farmers have taken to rodenticides to prevent mice, rats and other rodents from disturbing their operations. When predators such as the marten eat the poisoned mice, they die, too.
The state of California has recently issued a report recommending the Humboldt marten receives endangered status in hopes that the designation would provide authorizes with more tools to protect the small critter. Legal cannabis may be a huge economic boon for the state of California, but, as with most things, there continues to be room to do better in terms of making the industry greener.