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Marijuana's Unintended Victim—Thumper?

Marijuana in California is seemingly coming full circle. It gone from being a banned substance to legal under state law for medical uses to being banned again in many cities.

Marijuana
AP
Marijuana

None other than Los Angeles, the state’s largest city and home to hundreds of medical pot dispensaries, has moved to shut downalmost the entire industry.

The city council voted unanimously for the ban, claiming the business is out of control.

The mayor has yet to sign the bill, but, assuming he does, everyone from teenagers suffering from "anxiety" to little old ladies dealing with chemo will have to go to Beverly Hills or Santa Monica for medical pot. Residents with medical marijuana permits are still allowed to grow their own, but they do so at their own peril. The feds could always come knocking.

Now it turns out that pot is also bad for the animals, and this opens up a whole other can of baked worms.

The USDA has released a report claiming that rat poison used on illegal marijuana farms is running off into the soil water used by forest animals. Yes, pot's killing Thumper. Okay, maybe not Thumper, but it's killing something called a fisher — "a cat-sized, weasel-like critter."

Interesting. We'll have to see if the same environmentalists who've combated California farmers over their fertilizer runoff, and forced the restoration of water to save the Delta smelt, will feel the same about saving some other animal I've never heard of.

Pot farms are being blamed by the researchers because the dying animals were radio tracked, and they weren't going anywhere else where they might encounter rat poison.

"The fact that the problem is so widespread is particularly surprising,” said Kathryn Purcell, one of the study's co-authors.

Scientists fear the fishers are only the first of many victims.

"This new threat could have potential impact on other species already facing declining populations, including wolverines, martens, great gray and spotted owls, and Sierra Nevada red foxes," said Sherri Eng of the U.S. Forest Service.

And probably Thumper, maybe even Bambi. This will not stand.

—By CNBC's Jane Wells
@janewells

Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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