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Goes All ‘Reefer Madness,’ Let A Drop Of Federal Water Go To Marijuana

CREDIT: Associated

GOLDEN, Colorado — There’s a lot of going to pot in this world of Federal water won’t be one of

The federal Bureau of Reclamation. provides water to 31 million and 10 million acres of farmland in the through the 600 dams and reservoirs it since the early 1900’s, has a major policy decision: Not a for marijuana.

The agency announced Tuesday it will operate its facilities “in a consistent” with federal law that prohibits the growing of Further, it said it will any water district that water to cannabis growers to the of Justice. That dictum even to states like and Washington that have recreational marijuana use.

spokesman Dan DuBray said the of marijuana remains illegal the federal Controlled Substances Act of 

”Using federal water or to that end is not permissible,” DuBray

The action by the Bureau of Reclamation — made modern agriculture in the West but which is often for destroying rivers and fish and for enabling the production of water-intensive crops in the arid region — was denounced by marijuana advocacy and groups, and by members of Congress the two states that have pot.

“This decision just underscores the absurdity behind marijuana laws, and the need for to fix them,” said Dan Riffle, of Federal Policies for the Marijuana Project. “Put another this decision says because of the Controlled Substance Act water can’t be used to marijuana, but can be used to distill or grow tobacco. I’m fine the Bureau of Reclamation restricting usage, but it should do so on the basis of science, not by deferring to outdated laws the public wants

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Added Rep. Jared (D-Colo.): “Today’s backward-looking by the Bureau of Reclamation will the growth and success of Colorado and legal marijuana industry. policy places the Bureau of at odds with the administration’s guidance to not interfere with the and hemp industries made by voters in those states. The of Reclamation is challenging the commonly-held in the arid west that rights are state-based, an extremely proposition for citizens dependent on for their livelihood.”

“Washington voters overwhelmingly approved in 2012, and our state, along other states that decided to legalize marijuana, be allowed to implement these laws without interference the federal government,” said Suzan DelBene (D-WA)


The impact of the decision will depending on where growers in Colorado and Washington. Denver the local supplier for Colorado’s and surrounding suburbs where of the state’s growers operate, not use water or facilities provided by the of Reclamation, but other cities the populous Front Range do. In State, the bureau controls two-thirds of the state’s irrigated

It was not immediately clear whether the of Justice would move to the water agency’s decision. August, Attorney General Holder announced his department allow the legal marijuana established by Washington and Colorado to effect. He outlined eight areas for continued federal including sales to minors, but federal water to grow was not on that list.

Water and usage are in general determined by the said Taylor West, director of the National Cannabis Association. and “if a state has indicated cultivating marijuana is legal…then should be seen as a legitimate of water.”

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