The federal government says marijuana is “sucking the Emerald Triangle dry.”
Image: Flickr / The Equinest

Along with several other reasons, the federal government has been reluctant to legalize marijuana because a large number of marijuana operations negatively impact the environment through excessive water usage, a recently released report suggests.

Pointing to California’s recent extreme drought problems as an example, the report notes that “The huge volumes of water used to grow marijuana, as well as the noxious fertilizers and pesticides gushing into streams, are pushing local watersheds to their breaking point,” and that because “growers enjoy unregulated use of water,” marijuana growers are “sucking the Emerald Triangle dry.”

The Emerald Triangle are three Northern California-based counties — Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity — where marijuana is largely grown in the state and where there happened to be the majority of California’s drought problems.

Legalization advocates say this latest attempt to curb public support for legalization of marijuana is just another ridiculous effort by the government to keep the substance illegal and support for the drug down.

Since a single marijuana plant needs around six gallons of water per day to grow — which is between 12,000 and 30,000 gallons of water each day for industrial growing operations — and the amount of land in the Emerald Triangle that is used to grow marijuana has doubled since 2009, the federal government said crackdowns on marijuana growing operations are needed to protect the environment.