Is Illegal Marijuana Really Causing California's Drought?
Dried up reservoirs, lakes, creeks, and rivers are taking their toll on California like never before this year. As the Golden State faces one of it's worst droughts in it's history, political pundits and researchers alike are starting to take aim at the state's "numero uno" cash crop culprit.... marijuana. According to a recent study released by PLOS journal, marijuana can be a pricey investment, requiring as much as an estimated 22.7 liters, or 6 gallons of water per day for one single plant. On top of this, researchers are claiming that illegal marijuana plants in Northern California are contributing not only to the prolonged water shortage, but also, it's devastating effects on wildlife. "Clearly, water demands for the existing level of marijuana cultivation in many Northern California watersheds are unsustainable and are likely contributing to the decline of sensitive aquatic species in the region," claims the study. With the help of aerial footage, the study supposedly surveyed 32 marijuana greenhouses in the region and was able to conclude from research that "due to climate change, water scarcity and habitat degradation in northern California is likely to worsen in the future." From the results of the study, illegal marijuana is obviously being positioned as the scapegoat; however, viewing it as as one of the the main problems, instead of looking for intelligible solutions to combat the actual drought, only makes the situation worse. Results and factual data should also be used when addressing the war on drugs and it's effects on the environment as well. For instance, according to data from 2014, the DEA destroyed 3,904,213 outdoor marijuana plants and 396,620 indoor plants for a total of 4,300,833 total marijuana plants, that succumbed to an untimely death. This information should also be analyzed when assessing the true causes of waste in a state where marijuana is the number one cash crop, with no plans of changing anytime soon. Instead of burning millions of marijuana plants that took trillions of gallons of water to make, why not consider using them in California's medical marijuana industry that's been around since 1996? The whole policy of bush burning and wasting millions of plants for the sake of law enforcement's marijuana crusade, should have been stopped years ago. With the way that marijuana is being taxed and regulated in states like Colorado and Washington, there's simply no excuse for state monetary potential to be thrown out of the window, especially considering California's current financial deficit. Destroying natural medicine, that even the Federal Government finally admitted this year, to treating brain tumors, should be illegal in and of itself. Using marijuana reserves from past raids may not put an end to California's drought, but it may spark more intelligent solutions to California's water shortage, then the redundant marijuana scapegoat method.