Environmental Degradation due to Cannabis Cultivation in Lapas Village
Cannabis cultivation likely has a long history in Lapas Village, given Cannabis' natural range. However, with the rise of tourism in the 1960s and the huge demand for charas that has continued unabated since then, the cultivation of domesticate landrace cannabis has expanded massively with fields increasing in both size and number at the expense of the environment. The proportion of domesticated landrace plants vs; feral cannabis has changed in favour of more economically viable fields of domesticated landrace with much higher water usage while lower-intensity farming practices, which were more sustainable, such as crop rotation and co-planting with nitrogen-fixing plants like legumes, have been replaced by more intensive farming practices. Additionally, the overuse of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, coupled with a lack of rest periods for fields, has severely impacted the soil and water resources. Since the construction of a new road to the village the price of transporting bulk chemicals up into the fields above the village have dropped to the point where farmers are ordering tonnes of product with which to amend their soils and spray their plants in a bid to secure vast profits that do not appear to be invested in developing the local area. The situation has become so dire that streams below the village now smell like rank cow piss from overuse of urea (as in Rasol nearby) and the lives of those living below the fields are being significantly impacted. Moreover, the lack education on modern sustainable farming combined with the coercive pressure to move away from traditional systems has led to the adoption of the worst practices of modern industrial farming and the loss of cultural knowledge on traditional cultivation practices leading to the erosion of confidence in traditional practices, further reinforcing the cycle. To top it off, the constant cat and mouse game played between the police and cultivators have forced the fields to be relocated ever higher after every eradication, leading the farmers to cut down ever more forest in the process disturbing ecosystems deeper into the gulleys, higher onto the promontories, ridges, plateaus and ever farther into the complex network of sub valleys and remote areas in Parvati. Despite the situation, local farmers are making so much money from the cannabis trade that they are unwilling to change their practices. The illegality of cannabis in India and the control of its trade by corrupt elements of India's ruling class make it unlikely that things will change anytime soon. It's essential to recognize that the environmental degradation in Parvati is not just a local issue but a global one. As consumers of cannabis, we have a responsibility to support sustainable farming practices and demand that our products are grown with minimal environmental impact!