California Medical Marijuana Growers and Water

California Medical Marijuana Growers and Water

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California medical marijuana growers have been blamed for being major contributors to the California drought for the past few years; but the true numbers tell a very different story.  Cal NORML and Sacramento NORML did their own research to refute a calculation done by the Humboldt  Growers Association that 6 gallons of water was used for one marijuana plant per day.  This is not correct, especially when you consider that they were looking at people who were growing one crop a year, where the plants look more like trees.  Their study started a serious investigation and a possible restriction that would put patients at risk of being fined, if they grew their own plants or loosing their ability to get their medicinal marijuana altogether.  False reporting and scapegoating is something that hits the the marijuana industry often and sometime hard.  That is why California’s NORML,  is there to challenge and provide the actual facts.  

Who is California’s NORML

To put it simply, they fight for the right of medical marijuana patients, dispensaries and growers.  They are a non-profit that has been around since the 1970’s fighting , lobbying, informing and helping people fight for marijuana rights.  They were instrumental in California medical marijuana law passing in 1996.  If you want to learn more information about Cal NORML or become a member, click here to visit their website.

Marijuana Water Usage Compared to Big Agriculture 

California-drought-MGN1 gram of medical marijuana uses 0.72 gallons of water.  That is what NORML calculated as the average in their investigation.  This is a drop of water in comparison to California’s other agricultural industries.  For instance:

  • Wine (Grapes) – 28 gallons of water for 1 glass of wine
  • Almonds – 1 gallon of water per almond
  • Oranges – 13 gallons of water per orange
  • Pistachios – 0.75 gallons per pistachio
  • Walnuts – 5 gallons per walnut
  • Rice – 299 gallons per pound of rice

I also just want to mention that one pound of beef uses 1,847 gallons of water.  So you may want to rethink having a hamburger for lunch and steak for dinner.

If you also compare size (amount of acres), you get an even bigger grasp of where most of the water used in agriculture is going.  For instance: (I did research for the acres of the others listed above to no prevail.  I will keep digging.)

  • Wine (Grapes) – 2.8 million acre-feet
  • Almonds – 3.7 million acre-feet
  • Rice 2.2 million acre-feet

Marijuana uses approximately anywhere from 3,000 to 15,000 acres-feet.  Once again, you can see how little impact marijuana is having in comparison.  

Marijuana is a scapegoat.  Something to protect big agriculture from harm, because the truth can be damaging.  Yet the truth has been out there for a while and we still use almond, rice and drink our fair share of California wine.  We are a nation of excess and we will stop drinking our wine and almond milk until the water is all gone.  That is the sad reality.

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Conclusion

The marijuana industry is not here to harm the planet and suck the world dry of water.  We are happy to use water conservation methods.  I can tell you that we do and will continue to find ways to conserve even more.  The fact remains that without water humanity dies.  So rather than looking for a scapegoat that has an insignificant impact in comparison to the other industries.  The industries that waste, pollute and cut corners for profit, need to re-evaluate themselves and figure out solutions to better humanity not their grasp on the almighty dollar. 

Please leave a comment with any questions or thoughts, we would love to hear what you have to say.

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2 Comments

  • Rob

    March 15, 2016 at 8:02 am Reply

    Very interesting article. Thank you. There is so much myth and hype surrounding Marijuana. A lot of negative propaganda is out there as it was illegal for so long. Many say this was for big business reasons. I didn’t realise quite how much water beef takes to end up on our plates either. Thanks again for the good info.

    • Gina

      March 15, 2016 at 6:19 pm Reply

      You would be very surprised at how much water it takes to bring many items to market including electricity. Conservation is important, but you cannot pin it one industry, like marijuana has been a great scapegoat for this crisis, while other worse contributors don’t make any effort to conserve because it would effect their bottom line. The truth is without water the bottom line will not matter, humanity will cease to exist. So the bottom line for many industries needs to be how they care for the planet and it’s important resources. The planet would do just fine, maybe even thrive better, without humans; humans, on the other hand, cannot survive without the planet.

      Thank you for the comment.

      Gina

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