LIFESTYLE

High jumpers? If Utah passes pot law, watch out for buzzed bunnies, DEA warns

When people think about baked rabbit they probably have something very different in mind.

The Utah state legislature is considering a bill permitting patients with certain debilitating conditions to be treated with edible forms of marijuana, and one Drug Enforcement Administration agent is worried, but not about the changes that will be wrought among humans. 

Special agent Matt Fairbanks is more worried about the environmental damage that large-scale marijuana cultivation can cause. 

"Personally, I have seen entire mountainsides subjected to pesticides, harmful chemicals, deforestation and erosion," he told the state's Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminial Justice Standing Committee. "The ramifications to the flora, the animal life, the contaminated water, are still unknown."

Think of the poor little bunny rabbits, Fairbanks said.

"I deal in facts. I deal in science," he testified. "The deforestation has left marijuana growths with even rabbits that had cultivated a taste for the marijuana."

He added, according to the Washington Post, "One of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone." 

While illegal marijuana growths – and farming in general – can have unsavory effects on the environment, most experts seem to agree that there won't be an epidemic of buzzed bunnies roaming the Utah desert in search of Doritos and rare Grateful Dead bootleg albums.

"Some wild animals apparently do develop a taste for bud (and, yes, best to keep it away from your pets)," wrote Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post. "But I don't know that the occasional high rabbit constitutes grounds for keeping marijuana prohibition in place, any more than drunk squirrels are an argument for outlawing alcohol. And let's not even get started on the nationwide epidemic of catnip abuse."

Despite Fairbanks' warnin the Utah panel sent the measure to the state senate, where it will be debated this week.

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