The Fresno Bee has published an editorial blasting marijuana growers, noting the environmental impact of marijuana farms around the state of California and the catastrophic ecological impact effect of 18 years of medical marijuana legalization, including “exacerbating the drought.”
The Bee wrote, “Acres of ancient trees are disappearing and illegal marijuana farms are popping up in their place. Streams and rivers are being sucked dry, diverted sometimes miles away through plastic pipes into tanks. Several species of fish, along with a rare breed of wild rodent, are on the verge of extinction.”
The Bee noted alarming information that had been distributed July 1 at the state Senate’s Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture, including Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman’s testimony that the Eel River had been sucked so dry by marijuana growers that it was covered with moss. Allman added that about 500,000 gallons of water were used to maintain the roughly 87,000 marijuana plants his team had discovered in a bust.
Resources Secretary John Laird told the Bee, “It’s hard to ask everyone to cut their water and deal with water cuts when we’re not dealing with this.” The Bee supported bills from Sen. Mike McGuire (D-North Coast) and Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) that call for regulation of the state’s marijuana industry.
McGuire’s bill, SB 643, would regulate medical marijuana by licensing and regulating dispensaries and cultivation sites; it would also establish a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. McGuire said the state’s current medical marijuana regulations were “impotent.”
Wood’s bill, AB 243, was passed in early June by the Assembly and sent to the state Senate. It would require nine regional water quality control boards in California to create regulations for water, chemical, and sediment use and discharge.