California has been under a state of emergency since January because of dangerous drought conditions that currently affect over 99 per cent of the population and more than 37 million people.
Despite the fact that California has long been vulnerable to forest fires and water shortages, some suggest that a steady increase in cannabis grows since medical marijuana was legalized in the state in 1996 has had a significant impact on conditions. This has led to environmental crimes including water theft.
Scott Bauer of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife examined aerial photographs of four watersheds in northern California’s so-called Emerald Triangle, which contains the counties of Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity. He found that marijuana growing areas doubled between 2009 and 2012.