Water problem in California
California legalized the cultivation of medical marijuana almost twenty years ago, but it did not stop assaults on the industry. Farmers were constantly blamed for growing violations. The most recent accusation was about the diverting local wild rivers and stealing water from the watersheds that serve as a home for protected fish species. The marijuana industry became a scapegoat for all the state’s water problems and was blamed for exacerbating the infamous California’s droughts.
Unfortunately, all the blame did have some strong evidence behind it. A group of scientists made a two-year study of the impact of growing cannabis on the threatened fish population. They studied four watersheds using aerial photographs and found out that the effect is indeed enormous. In some cases low stream tributaries reduced up to 23%.
The California State Water Resources Control Board decided to visit over hundred cannabis farms out of the blue. They charged the cultivators for all kinds of violations. For instance, the pot farmers near Fish Lake in Humboldt County were using PCV pipes and funnels to take water for their fields. They even used 2-liter Pepsi bottles to bring water for their plants, they did everything to take every single drop of water out of the local streams.
Being under the pressure from the public and media, the farmers who did not violate the law did not have any chances to be heard. Not all the cultivators were diverting the rivers, there were lots of farmers who took the drought seriously. Without comprehensive common rules for all the farmers, it was too easy to target the cannabis industry.