Call it Six Degrees of Separation. According to new reports from several environmental groups, two species of owls are reportedly being killed off by chemicals used in California pot growing operations.

You may remember decades ago the Northwest Spotted Owl was 'used' to kill off a lot of the Northwest timber industry. Now, it and the Barred Owl, are facing dwindling numbers due to pot growing operations. Thousands of acres of timberland was made off limits due to reportedly being the habitat for the Spotted Owl, driving the timber industry into oblivion.

According to the Washington Times, the University of California Davis has released a new study showing the two owls are being killed by rat poison being used in thousands of illegal pot operations in the state.

The study says 7 of the ten Spotted Owls tested, and 40 percent of the 84 Barred owls tested shows significant levels of rat poison. It's used to keep rodents from eating or destroying the pot grows. Some of them had levels that were considered lethal. The poison keeps the rats away or kills them, the owls eat the rats and mice, and the poison is passed along.

According to the study, California's legal pot law Proposition 64 which went into effect in January after being passed in 2016, is expected to make the problem worse. While supporters of the measure say the state regulations will result in a crackdown and monitoring and elimination of illegal operations, the study says otherwise.

According to UC Davis:

 “Proposition 64, which legalizes recreational marijuana in the state, took effect this month, With its arrival, resource managers expect the number and size of unpermitted, private cultivation sites to grow, which could exacerbate the problem.”

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