Medical pot farms polluting California streams, hurting wildlife

Medical pot farms polluting California streams, hurting wildlife

California's large-scale medical marijuana farming is not only sucking drought-stricken rivers and streams dry but also polluting the waterways and hurting wildlife.

Higher demand for marijuana in the state and the country as a whole has prompted many people to pursue larger-scale pot farming. Remote areas in counties like Lake, Humboldt and Mendocino are offering a lucrative opportunity to people to grow the drug and make money.

The state's medical pot law permits people to grow the drug for only personal medical purposes, but many people in northern counties of the state are growing it for sale in other parts of California as well as other states where pot farming is still illegal.

Growers are diverting water for irrigating their marijuana farms; and in some cases, these farms are literally sucking all the water from streams.

Lake County supervisor Denise Rushing, who supports an ordinance that basically bans outdoor growing of marijuana in populated areas, said these farms are also polluting the rivers and streams, and hurting fish and other creatures.

Speaking on the topic, he said, "People are coming in, denuding the hillsides, damming the creeks and mixing in fertilizers that are not allowed in the U. S. into our watersheds. When rains come, it flows downstream into the lake and our water supply."

Wildlife biologists have cautioned that many of the California's affected waterways contain some endangered species, such as steelhead and salmon.