Skip to content

Will The Feds Let Colorado River Water Grow Marijuana??

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

So we got you with that headline, right?  Hey, it’s real too!  The U.S. government issued a directive last week prohibiting the use of “federal water” for growing recreational and potmedicinal marijuana. States and cities up and down the Colorado River basin are trying to determine how this directive impacts marijuana agriculture in their state.  Colorado has completely legalized marijuana while other states including Nevada and California have legalized medicinal marijuana, and the Colorado River serves them all.  Further, nearly all of Colorado River water is administered by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation through its network of dams and reservoirs from the top of the basin to the bottom.  However, as the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports, cities in the Colorado River basin apparently can sell their water to grow marijuana.  So, it’s complicated…  Read more in this Vegas news article here.  The legalization of marijuana raises a lot of questions about agriculture in Colorado River states, such as: Will this crop replace other crops? Is marijuana “water intensive?”  Can you make more money growing marijuana than alfalfa in the Imperial Irrigation District of California?  All interesting questions — we’ll see how it plays out over the next few years.

“I Hate Dams!” A couple years ago, Patagonia’s visionary founder, Yvon Chouinard, made that declaration in a speech in Salt Lake City, UT.  And now he’s made real good on yvonhis claim by being the executive producer of the new documentary film, DamNation, and issuing this editorial in the New York Times, titled “Tear Down Deadbeat Dams.”  The Save The Colorado River campaign has had the great pleasure of joining DamNation and Patagonia at the premiers of the film in Denver and Fort Collins.  The film continues to travel around the U.S., playing at local screenings and film festivals. As Yvon says in his editorial, “I’ve been working to take down dams for most of my life.  The idea, once considered crazy, is gaining momentum.  We should seize it and push for the removal of the many dams with high costs and low or zero value.  ….. After a river is restored and the fish have returned, you never hear a single person say, “Gee, I wish we had our dam back.”  Read it all here!  Thank you, Yvon!

And, yours truly got in the media action this past week!  I had an editorial in High Country News‘ Writers on the Range syndicated column service titled, “A franklyKiss That Brought Hope To River Lovers.”  The “kiss” refers to the meeting of the Colorado River with the Sea of Cortez, like two long lost lovers reunited after 20 years.  In addition though, at the very same time we are working to protect and restore the Colorado River Delta, cities and states up and down the Southwest U.S. are trying to get even more water out of the river, proposing new dams, reservoirs, and pipelines.

We river lovers are paying close attention!  And the water agencies like Denver Water and Northern Water in Colorado, and the folks in Utah that want to build the Lake Powell Pipeline and Green River Nuclear Plant, are put on notice.  You have money and power, we have passion — who will win?!?  Time will tell!  Take a read of the editorial here.

And Great News!  We (you!!) sent in over 900 emails to Colorado’s Governor, John Hickenlooper, asking him to create a “Colorado Water Plan” that protected and restored n-JOHN-HICKENLOOPER-large570the Colorado River.  Can we get to 1,000??  I know we can!  Please click through here and help us hit the cool 1,000 mark!

As we noted in our blog and eblast last week, the State of Colorado has started to create a “Colorado Water Plan” that is in danger of being hijacked by water developers who want to drain even more water out of all of Colorado’s rivers and pipe it to the Denver metropolitan area to fuel, subsidize, and slake the thirst of new growth. These developers and cities need to focus on water conservation, efficiency, and recycling instead of draining more water out of our rivers.  Your voice can make a difference now at a critical time.  Please click here to our Email Campaign to send an email to Governor John Hickenlooper Your email will be taken as “public comment” in the Colorado Water Plan process, and it needs to come as soon as possible.

Thank you for your support!!


Back To Top