Earth Day Forum Probes Marijuana’s Environmental Impact

Humboldt State University will host its inaugural Earth Day Symposium on Marijuana and the Environment this weekend, centering on a key issue often overlooked in mainstream analysis: marijuana’s environmental effects.

The first annual symposium, sponsored by the university’s Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HIIMR) and Humboldt State’s Department of Sociology, is scheduled Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20, from 9-5 p.m. in the Native American Forum, Room 162, of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Building.

The two-day symposium is titled “Communities and Landscapes in the Balance: The Crossroads of Environmental Protection and Marijuana Agriculture.” It is outlined in full on the new HIIMR website ( and comprises numerous panels, workshops and multimedia presentations.

The symposium will bring together leading policymakers, grassroots environmental organizations, activists, scientists, students and community members.

Day one of the symposium, Friday, April 19, will be devoted to keynote presentations by academics, authors and preeminent activists. Saturday will be given over to panels and workshops.

Panelists will share their expertise about a full spectrum of marijuana issues. Among the topics to be addressed:

  • Public Land Management Perspectives on Marijuana Agriculture
  • Private Timberland Impacts: Trespass, Conversion and Solutions
  • Environmental Crimes and the Marijuana Industry
  • Environmental Impacts and the Marijuana Industry: Worst Case Scenarios
  • Impacts on Cultural & Natural Resources from Marijuana Cultivation on Tribal Lands
  • Ecological Data – What We Know and What We Need to Know
  • Legislative Update on Marijuana Policy
  • Legal Strategies to Protect Nature From Marijuana Crimes
  • Stories from the Frontlines: Reporting on the Culture and Practice of Marijuana Agriculture
  • Managing Harmful Agricultural Practices in the Industry
  • The Threats to Fish in Marijuana Agriculture
  • Grassroots Environmentalism and the Marijuana Industry: Past, Present and Future
  • The Ecological Footprint of Indoor Marijuana Agriculture

“We expect the symposium to enhance the understanding of the many ways marijuana cultivation affects the environment,” say HIIMR Co-Directors and Professors Erick Eschker and Joshua Meisel. “It also will contribute to California’s efforts to develop ecologically sound and economically sustainable policy.”

Other campus observances of Earth Day are scheduled on Monday, April 22. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the student-led Humboldt Energy Independence Fund (HEIF) Art Initiative (HART) will host Hart Day, a series of workshops and activities promoting art and sustainability.

Monday evening, the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology will screen “Trashed” at 7 p.m. in Siemens Hall, Room 108. Awarded a special screening at the Cannes Film Festival, “Trashed” follows Academy-Award winning actor Jeremy Irons as he sets out to discover the extent and effects of global waste.

Also Monday night, April 22, at 7 p.m. in the Van Duzer Theatre, the College of Natural Resources and Sciences will host a screening of “Switch,” a documentary about how energy is produced and how it will likely be produced in the future.

Registration for this weekend’s symposium on marijuana is available online at Registration is recommended but not required.

The Environment and Community Program, the Environmental Protection Information Center (, the Salmonid Restoration Federation (, as well as the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research ( and the HSU Department of Sociology, are sponsors of the symposium.