The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation provides irrigation water to one out of five farmers in the Western United States. According to Reclamation, the irrigation water it provides is used to produce 60% of our nation’s vegetables and 25% of our fruits and nuts. But Reclamation is now deciding whether to leave one Washington crop high and dry: marijuana.
Washington recently issued licenses that allow licensees to grow marijuana. But the cultivation, possession, use, and sale of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. This tension between state and federal law is forcing Reclamation to analyze whether it can provide irrigation water to contract holders who plan to grow marijuana.
The timing of Reclamation’s decision is important because the irrigation season is rapidly approaching in many parts of Washington and has already arrived in other parts of the state. The Olympian reports that Dan DuBray, a spokesman for Reclamation, recently said that Reclamation will make a decision on this issue by early May, and perhaps as early as this week.