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Amid ‘GreenRush’ Of Legal Cannabis, California Strives to Control Adverse Effects On Water

WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: STATE CRAFTS WATER RIGHT AND NEW RULES UNIQUE TO MARIJUANA FARMS, BUT WILL GROWERS ACCUSTOMED TO THE SHADOWS COMPLY?

For decades, cannabis has been grown in California – hidden away in forested groves or surreptitiously harvested under the glare of high-intensity indoor lamps in suburban tract homes.

In the past 20 years, however, cannabis — known more widely as marijuana – has been moving from being a criminal activity to gaining legitimacy as one of the hundreds of cash crops in the state’s $46 billion-dollar agriculture industry, first legalized for medicinal purposes and this year for recreational use.

The “green rush” that began more than 20 years ago with the legalization of medical cannabis has introduced a host of issues as state and local officials seek to stay on top of a quickly growing industry. State Water Resources Control Board officials have crafted regulations that are unique to the cannabis industry, including a small irrigation use permit specifically for cannabis growers with unique terms and conditions.

 Yet coaxing growers out of the shadows is complicated. Some local jurisdictions are reluctant to accept the industry. The federal government bans the use of federal project water for cannabis production. And no one really knows for sure whether growers will widely accept the new regulations or shrug them off as too burdensome. [Read More @ Western Education]

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