Pot Lobby vs. Environmentalists: Looming Conflict on the Left?

Written by Wes Walker on June 10, 2014

They’re two of the darling issues of the Left. And they’re about to be in conflict. Isn’t that great?

On the one hand, you have the Marijuana lobby with their perpetual call to legalization. Pot advocacy has become almost as central to leftist ideology as abortion or the environment.

On the other hand, you have the other “Big Green”: Environmental Lobbyists. Generally they’re the best of friends. But might that be about to change?

Increasingly — especially with the diminished state of California’s water supply — the environmental groups will come in conflict with any human activities that will threaten the perceived “balance of nature”. That includes agriculture.

And that puts California grow-ops at ground zero of this conflict.

According to Smithsonian.com, illegal grow-ops “can dodge the water use restrictions, efficiency demands, and environmental regulations leveled on other agricultural sectors.” Grow-ops in Northern California’s “Emerald Triangle” take upwards of 720,000 gallons of water per day.

Translation: Illegal grow-op owners don’t just flaunt the drug laws (which the Left, especially smokers, might be okay with) but they also flaunt *gasp* environmental laws.

They “rape the land” and all the other things that only “real villains” like tobacco manufacturers and fossil fuel producers do. (Which, technically speaking, would make pot smokers complicit to the “crime” of “raping the land” in the same sense that — for example — SUV drivers might be.)

Whatever your position on these issues, you cannot support both groups in this story. It forces you to choose who the good guys and who the bad guys are. Supporting one side of this conflict can only be at the detriment of the other side. Pro-pot growers will be (for this story, at least) anti-environmental. To be Pro-environment you must be anti Illegal California grow-op.

Why do we miss chances to play up in-house ideological Progressive conflicts like this? You know for sure they don’t miss any to divide our side.

For myself, I’m happy to throw a question like this out there, grab some popcorn, and see what happens. The fact that it so directly affects such a Left-leaning state only makes it better.