Planet Watch

Cannabis front in Western water wars?

Posted on May 23rd, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

Cannabis cultivation is emerging as an issue in the American West's interminable conflicts over control of water. On May 20, the US Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec), which supplies irrigation districts across the western states, issued a policy memo saying its water may not be used for marijuana. BuRec staff would document "all activities and communications" regarding "known or potential uses" of its waters for cannabis cultivation—and "will report such use to the Department of Justice." Washington state's Roza Irrigation District, which supplies BuRec water to some 72,000 acres in Yakima and Benton counties, in early April issued a "precautionary message" warning cannabis growers that they could get cut off. But the practical effects of the policy are unclear. If the Justice Department were to target irrigation districts for supplying water when it's not targeting the folks actually growing the cannabis, it would have a lot of angry corn and apple farmers on its hands.

Cannabis contributes to California drought?

Posted on April 12th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

CaliforniaThe latest boost to anti-cannabis propaganda comes in the form of California's crippling drought. The dought is no joke. For the first time in its 54-year history, the State Water Project has cut off the flow to towns and farmland because there simply isn't enough water. But is cannabis a major factor here? An April 10 report on the Weather Channel, "Marijuana: Another Contributor to California's Drought," reads: "Along the coast of Northern California, where there are thousands of pot plants hydrated by a single, stressed water source, each plant requires as much as six gallons of water per day in the summer months... As an already extensive drought likely gets even more dire this summer, marijuana farms are going to guzzle up a lot of the state's water if dry, sunny conditions persist." Compare this with rice—a key crop of California's heavily-irrigrated Central Valley, and one of the world's most water-intensive crops, at some 435,000 gallons per acre per year according to a UC Davis study. Not counting water lost due to irrigation ineffiiciencies. Cannabis is water-thrifty in comparison. Also highly water-intensive is another key California crop, alfalfa—used almost entirely as an animal feed. As Scientific American noted, "The relatively low-value crop uses up about a quarter of California's irrigation water but contributes only 4% to the state's total farm revenue." Not to mention the water-profligate suburban sprawl in the interior deserts of Southern California, complete with private swimming pools and year-round emerald-green golf courses. Pointing to cannabis almost seems designed as a distraction from some far more critical points.

UN report bashes legalization; Uruguay talks back

Posted on March 7th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

earthIn its newly released annual report, the UN International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) on March 4 took aim at legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington states, urging the US federal government to ensure that anti-drug treaties are "fully implemented on the entirety of its territory." INCB president Raymond Yans said the Colorado and Washington laws "contravene the provisions of the drug control conventions, which limit the use of cannabis to medical and scientific use only." Also singling out the new legalization policy in Uruguay, he added that such initiatives pose "a very grave danger to public health and wellbeing." (BBC News, The Guardian, March 4)

Mystery illness strikes Albanian cannabis harvesters

Posted on November 2nd, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

EuropeOK, no pun intended, but this one doesn't pass the smell test. Reuters reports all too credulously Nov. 1 that doctors in Albania say hundreds of people have fallen ill from harvesting cannabis. The hospital in the southern city of Gjirokaster said some 700 have sought treatment since June for the effects of planting, harvesting, pressing and packing the crop. "In the last two months about seven to eight people arrive in the emergency ward each day and many more have come earlier with disorders from hashish," Gjirokaster doctor Hysni Lluka told local Top Channel TV.  Lluka said women and teenagers, who account for some 40% of those working in the notorious cannabis district of Lazarat, had sought help for vomiting, stomach pain, irregular heart beats and high blood pressure. One patient reportedly arrived "in a critical state." Uninitiated readers are left with the clear impression that harvesters were suffering from severe cannabis intoxication.

The Emerald Triangle enters the post-CAMP era

Posted on February 12th, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , .

A market glut and paranoia about criminal cartels getting into the act coincide with the end of the CAMP program. Can Northern California's cannabis industry remake itself along ecological and community-rooted lines?

With the 2012 fall harvest season, Northern California's legendary cannabis-growing Emerald Triangle—centered around the counties of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity—is at a turning point. And as the old cliché goes, the Chinese character for crisis is made up of the characters for danger and opportunity.

The current juncture is ripe with both.

Legal cannabis: environmental disaster?

Posted on November 19th, 2012 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

earthWe have noted before that the cannabis industry has a huge carbon footprint—something of a dirty little secret for the legalization movement. This is an especially relevant fact in Colorado, where Amendment 64 specifies that all legal weed must be grown indoors. Roberta Ragni in the Italian eco-journal GreenMe, asks "Marijuana Legalization: What Will It Mean for the Environment?" After quoting triumphant pot activists, Ragni lays on the inconvenient truth:

California: CERT replaces CAMP

Posted on September 29th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

CaliforniaFor 28 years, the now-defunct state Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) sent teams of state, federal and local officers aboard helicopters into Northern California's remote forests to hunt down and destroy cannabis grows. But this year, Gov. Jerry Brown cut CAMP from the state budget. The program has been restructured under direct federal leadership—and the new moniker of Cannabis Eradication and Reclamation Team (CERT). The DEA and other federal agencies are now working with local law enforcement, with no involvement from the effectively shuttered state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.

Massive grow op eradicated on Hoopa Valley tribal lands

Posted on September 7th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

More than 26,000 cannabis plants from what authorities called a "sophisticated grow operation" were eradicated on Hoopa Valley tribal land in California's Humboldt County on Aug. 7. The Hoopa Tribal Police worked with the Sheriff's office, the Humboldt County drug task force, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the US Marshals Office, the California Department of Justice Narcotics Enforcement, the Bureau of Land Management and the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, according to a statement from the office of the sheriff. The Hoopa Valley Tribe, already hit hard by the methamphetamine plague, expressed outrage that large-scale growers had trespassed on their lands.

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