Thursday, February 20, 2014

unintended consequences continued - marijuana and water

Having lived in Mendocino county and often visited Humboldt county, I found the following story of special interest. It confirmed some of my experiences at that time, 1990 - 1997, and reports from friends in the area since then.
"The huge volumes of water used to grow marijuana, as well 
as the noxious fertilizers and pesticides gushing into streams, 
are pushing local watersheds to their breaking point.

“Marijuana cultivation has the potential to completely dewater and dry up 
streams in the areas where [cannabis farmers are] growing pretty 
extensively,” Scott Bauer, a biologist with the California Department 
of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), tells Quartz...."
"The paradoxical status of marijuana in the US—it is legal to grow and sell 
in some states, but remains illegal under federal law—makes it hard to 
regulate. In theory, Californian state or local regulators should be able to 
set environmental standards for cannabis cultivation, the way they might 
with grapes or timber. But the federal government won’t let them. As a 
result, growers enjoy unregulated use of water, and the resulting easy profits 
have helped attract operations that are increasingly industrial in scale—and 
run by growers who are unrepentant about sucking the Emerald Triangle dry."

For the rest of the article see: