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California Regulators Want Pot Growers to Follow Drought-Driven Water Rules

Pot growers have been put on notice by state regulators that they will have to follow the same rules as the rest of the agriculture industry in protecting the state’s drought-stricken water supply.

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board issued an order Friday that will require medicinal marijuana cultivators to obtain permits to divert or store water. It also pushes them to use drip irrigation and other conservation measures, and avoid vegetation-clearing activities and other practices that add sediment and fertilizer to local waterways.

The board was the second to enact tighter regulation aimed at water use and land practices by the burgeoning marijuana industry, which supplies the state’s medical marijuana clinics. Last month, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board issued anorder with similar requirements.

The moves come more than three months after the Central Valley board and state wildlife officials issued a record-setting $297,000 fine against a marijuana cultivator and property owner in Shasta County over illegal grading that jeopardized a local waterway. [Read more at the Los Angeles Times]

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