|Toke of the Town/Wikimedia Commons (Downtowngal).
Water is as precious as gold in the West, so the saying goes. The wet stuff could become even more valuable soon for marijuana producers as federal officials mull whether or not to cut off irrigation for otherwise state-legal pot and hemp growers.
Basically, the feds don’t want to be assisting in the watering pot gardens while at the same time maintaining marijuana’s illegal status.
At issue are local water control agencies that are run by major municipalities or counties but partially funded and supplied by the feds, specifically the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. According to spokesman Peter Soeth, the bureau is “evaluating how the Controlled Substances Act applies in the context of Reclamation project water being used to facilitate marijuana-related activities.”
The investigation came at the request of local water boards like the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District. NCWCD director Brian Werner tells the Huffington Post that they just want to follow the law and don’t want to risk the federal aid they currently receive.
According to the Bureau of Reclamation, the feds deliver water to 6.6 million acres of agricultural land in Washington and Colorado combined. Traditionally, the bureau has shied away from dictating what crops the water can and can’t be used to grow, according to the Seattle Times, which wrote an editorial urging the feds to back off the issue.
Officials expect to reach a decision by the end of the month.