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Study finds pot farms draining streams dry in Northern California


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"Patients who cannot grow their own medicine can rely on our farmers to provide them with the best holistic medicine that is naturally grown, sustainable and forever Humboldt," the group’s website advertises.

Despite efforts of some pot farmers to clean things up, the increased water use by farms is a "full-scale environmental disaster," said Fish and Wildlife Lt. John Nores, who leads the agency’s Marijuana Enforcement Team.

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"Whether it’s grown quasi legally under the state’s medical marijuana laws, or it’s a complete cartel outdoor drug trafficking grow site, there is extreme environmental damage being done at all levels," Nores said.

Officials say until the federal government recognizes California’s medical marijuana laws, growers will continue to operate clandestinely to meet market demand for their product due to fear of prosecution. Meantime, enforcing federal and state environmental regulations will be harder.

"If cherry tomatoes were worth $3,000 a pound, and consumption was prohibited in most states, people would be doing the same thing," Nores said.

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Jason Dearen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/JHDearen




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