Environment takes big hit from water-intensive marijuana cultivation

Published today in the journal Bioscience, the report outlines how illegal marijuana production is hitting California where it hurts, such as in sensitive watersheds already stressed by the state’s ongoing drought. Networks of pipes and hoses siphon water directly from small streams to irrigate the crops, draining what little water there is for wildlife and plants.

Led by researchers from the Nature Conservancy, the study included significant UC Berkeley contributions from freshwater fish ecologist Stephanie Carlson, an associate professor of environmental sciences, policy and management; stream ecologist Mary Power, a professor of integrative biology...

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