In the high desert of central Oregon, illegal marijuana growers are also tapping into water supplies, which are already so stretched that many farmers, including those who produce 60 percent of the world`s carrot seed supply, are facing water shortages this year. Daniel said another illegal crop involving 200,000 plants was drawing water from Deer Creek using pumps and hoses. He called it “one of the ugliest and ugliest things I`ve ever seen.” Illegal cultivation has “catastrophic” consequences for natural water resources, Daniel said. Many rivers have dried up much earlier than normal and the water table – the subsurface boundary between water-saturated and unsaturated soil – is sinking. In Oregon, the number of illegal producers appears to have increased recently, as the Pacific Northwest experienced its driest spring since 1924. But now, Deer Creek has dried up after several illegal marijuana crops surfaced in the neighborhood last spring, stealing water from the creek and nearby aquifers, calling Dwyer`s future into question. Illegal cultivation “depletes valuable groundwater and surface water resources” and endangers agricultural, recreational and residential water use, according to the county ordinance. On September 2, Deschutes County authorities raided a 30-acre (12-hectare) property in Alfalfa, east of Bend. It had 49 greenhouses with nearly 10,000 marijuana plants and had a complex irrigation system with several cisterns of 15,000 to 20,000 gallons. Neighbors told investigators that illegal cultivation forced them to drill a new well, Sheriff Shane Nelson said. The Bend region has experienced a population boom that is putting increased pressure on water supply.
Illegal cultivation only makes things worse. In California, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2016, there are even more illegal cannabis farms than licensed farms, according to the University of California, Berkeley`s Cannabis Research Center. From dusty cities to the forests of the western United States, illegal marijuana growers ingest water in uncontrolled amounts when there is often not enough to get around, even for authorized users. Water disputes have been going on for a long time, but illegal marijuana farms — which are spreading despite legalization in many Western states — are being strained during a severe drought. “With illegals, there is no persecution,” Hooper said. “They`re just stealing the rest of us` water, which leads us to spend thousands of dollars drilling new wells deeper.” Marijuana has been grown in southern Oregon for decades, but the recent explosion of vast illegal areas has shocked residents. FLAG was born in response to the agricultural credit crisis of the 1980s, after tens of thousands of families lost their farms due to low commodity prices and crushing debt. Lawyers Jim Massey, Lynn Hayes, Sarah Vogel and the late Dale Reesman collectively represented 230,000 farmers nationally in Coleman v. Lyng, who successfully challenged illegal lawsuits that allowed the Farmers Home Administration to freeze farmers` incomes and drive them off their land. The federal judge in that case issued an injunction that ended the seizures of 80,000 farms.
“Because peak water demand for cannabis occurs during the dry season, when runoff is at its lowest, even small diversions can dry out waterways and harm aquatic plants and animals,” according to a study by the center. Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel estimates there are hundreds of areas of illegal cultivation in his southern Oregon county alone, many of which are funded by money from abroad. He believes financiers expect to lose a few crops, but the large number of them means many will take time for marijuana to be harvested and sold on the black market outside of Oregon. Some jurisdictions are fighting back. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors in California banned trucks carrying 100 gallons or more of water in May from using roads leading to arid areas where about 2,000 illicit marijuana growers are believed to have used millions of gallons of water per day. Sheriff`s deputies searched an illegal grow a block away last November that contained 500 marijuana plants. Many operate under the guise of hemp farms, which were legalized nationwide under the 2018 Farm Bill, said Mark Pettinger, spokesman for the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission. By law, the maximum THC content of hemp – the compound that gives cannabis its high – cannot exceed 0.3%. The fibers of the hemp plant are used to make ropes, clothing, paper and other products. Jincks` neighbor, Jim Hooper, worries his well will fail. He is annoyed by the illegal cultivation and uncontrolled consumption of water. “The people of the Illinois Valley are experiencing an existential threat for the first time in local history,” Hall said.
LA PINE, Oregon. Jack Dwyer pursued his dream of returning to the countryside by moving to an idyllic, tree-studded property in Oregon in 1972 with a creek running through it. We use process servers located in the West Farms Bronx, which allows us to provide all our customers with professional process servers that provide five (5) levels of process service to West Farms Bronx. The water for these plants came from an illegal makeshift system of pumps and pipes on the nearby Illinois River, which is part of the Wild and Scenic Rivers system created by Congress to preserve certain rivers of outstanding natural, cultural and recreational value. Because of the expertise FLAG has gained through its national work with family farms, Congress continues to solicit our testimony on federal issues affecting family farms, particularly farm lending and civil liberties. The FLAG`s lawyers had the courage to literally “tell the truth” to those in power. The challenges facing family farms today are complex, but just as pressing as they were in the 1980s. And today, as then, everyone involved in food and commodity production — federal agencies, bankers, processors, and merchants — has their army of lawyers. And family farms still have FLAG. None of the new sites have been licensed for recreational marijuana cultivation, Pettinger said.
Regulators, faced with a backlog of licence applications and a flood of regulated marijuana in 2019, stopped processing new applications until January 2022. “It`s just blatant water theft,” Daniel said. “I just don`t know what I`m going to do if I don`t have water,” said the 75-year-old retired middle school teacher. Follow AP`s full drought coverage: apnews.com/hub/droughts The creekbed is now an avenue of rocks lined with brush and trees. “They had actually dug holes in the ground that were so deep that Deer Creek had dried up. And they were in the water table,” the sheriff said. Stake-Out is a special service level that allows you to select the date and duration of the time. Wait time of at least one (1) hour. Last month, Daniel and his deputies, bolstered by other law enforcement officials, destroyed 72,000 marijuana plants growing in 400 cheap greenhouses called hoop houses. The Illinois Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, where Dwyer lives, recently held two town halls on the topic. Water theft was the main concern, said Christopher Hall, a community organizer for the conservation district.
“We wanted to grow our own food. We would live in justice. We wanted to grow organically,” Dwyer said. In the decades since, he and his family have done just that. In the summer of 1985, Massey received a call from Willie Nelson inviting him to his first Farm Aid concert. The following spring, Farm Aid`s first funding check arrived at Jim`s office, signed by Willie Nelson himself, to start a nonprofit law firm with a single mission: to help family farmers stay on their land.
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