Well, well. Another argument in favor of individual control over the means of production. In Northern California, where marijuana production is a major playa in the regional economy, the growers’ demands for water are now impacting salmon populations.
Although new conservation efforts have helped populations to rebound—30,000 salmon and steelhead swam up the Eel to spawn in 2012, up from 3,500 two years before—the new, booming industry is hurting the nascent recovery. In part that’s because growing marijuana requires a lot of water, some three to six gallons per plant. “It’s possible that in some watersheds, marijuana cultivation is consuming all the water available for fish,” one salmon recovery expert with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife tells the radio station.
Do I need to point out that this stuff is called “weed” for a reason? It grows very easily and reseeds itself enthusiastically. It is our deluded national drug policy that turned high-potency specialty MJ into a profitable cash crop. Growing pot is ridiculously easy; it’s growing sinsimella or whatever exotic buds are popular that’s ridiculously difficult and demands tons of water and a huge investment of time.
Pot is still illegal in most states, and the fact is that an ounce of shitty pot will get you just as busted as an ounce of designer buds. Subtract the legal consequences and there’ll be plenty of people happily growing a few plants for home use, and watering them with the leftover slop from doing the dishes.
Once again, mass production is only efficient in a benign climate with no shortages or disruptions. Change the climate to a hostile or even marginally less friendly one, and all those economies of scale go (ahem) up in smoke.