A new report confirms what many people already thought: marijuana cultivation in California’s North Coast is sucking streams dry and having serious impacts on the environment. Marijuana is a water-intensive crop, requiring nearly twice as much water per day as another signature California crop, wine grapes. Marijuana’s unclear legal status in the state has made regulating cultivation difficult, even as demand has grown nationwide.
Ucilia Wang (@UciliaWang) writes for The Guardian US:
It’s natural for many in the marijuana businesses to be wary of the state effort to regulate them more closely, says Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the Emerald Growers Association, which is based in Humboldt County and represents growers, dispensaries and others in the business statewide.
But growers need to support regulations that reduce environmental impact and become more involved in public policy, he says. Being more politically active also makes it more likely for growers to get help in these drought years.
“The bottom line is unregulated agriculture has environmental impact. Our challenge is in how to regulate it,” Allen says. “It takes time. We are not going to be in perfect compliance tomorrow.”
As “rainy” season ends, California faces fourth consecutive year of drought