California residents are launching a campaign against growing of medical marijuana in the state as a crippling drought ravages the state. The residents aren’t opposed to cultivation of marijuana; rather, they are against the use of scarce water resources to nurture it.
Currently, California residents are reeling under the weight of water restrictions, which became more pronounced after the state declared a drought emergency in January. The situation got so worse, prompting the state to pass emergency water restrictions mid last month in response to the three-year drought.
Last month, Lake County passed an ordinance that requires growers to explain their water source. In the same month, state and federal agents conducted a raid at the Yurok Indian Reservation after elders, concerned by excessive water usage by medical marijuana farms, requested their help.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife, relying on Google Earth images, projected that outdoor marijuana growing activities in Humboldt County and Mendocino County doubled in 2009 to 2012, an alarming statistic. This is because marijuana plant is a very thirsty crop; one that consumes 5-10 gallons of water based on its growth cycle stage. This compares to 3.5 gallons for lettuce, one of California’s main food crops.
However, a section of cannabis growers who consider themselves environmentally-compliant due to the use of water-saving irrigation systems blame illegal growers and water guzzlers for tarnishing their reputation. His sentiments were echoed by Mendocino County Sheriff Thomas Allman, who blames those who wish to make quick money for the trend.
“I’m talking about people that move here in April, grow marijuana as fast as they can until October,” Sheriff Allman told New York Times. “The 20-year-old kid who wants to make his million bucks, and he’s using these steroid fertilizers. He doesn’t care about how much water he uses, or what he puts in the soil.”
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To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at firstname.lastname@example.org