One outdoor marijuana plant requires approximately six gallons of water per day during its roughly 150-day growing season.
Ethan Epstein writes: California’s terrible drought has become — like just about everything else in the United States — a political issue. Many liberals have taken to blaming anthropogenic climate change for the drought, while some conservatives have placed the blame at the feet of “liberal environmentalists.” The political point-scoring is tiring and just plain silly, given that the drought is almost certainly a result of natural processes — processes that we humans, conservatives and liberals alike, have precious little to do with. Another problem is that our partisan pugilists are conflating two separate issues: the drought, which is the lack of rainfall that California has suffered over the past four years, and the water shortages, which may indeed have some man-made causes.
“Over California’s four-year drought, outdoor marijuana plants — based on the six-gallon a day estimate, and the 2006 figure — have used roughly 63 billion gallons of California water.”
To that end, a San Francisco-based author with a PhD in Nutritional Ethnomedicine floated an interesting theory regarding those water shortages earlier this week. Speaking on the radio, he suggested that California’s huge crop of marijuana plants is “depleting the water table,” and is partially responsible for the massive shortfalls in water that the state is now facing.
“…by some estimates, California now produces more marijuana than Mexico.”
It may sound outlandish, but it turns out that there may be something to the good doctor’s theory.
As anyone who has ever had the misfortune to visit, say, Santa Cruz can attest, there’s a lot of marijuana in California. (This despite the fact that it’s only legal for medicinal use in the state.) Indeed, by some estimates, California now produces more marijuana than Mexico.