- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Marijuana may be legal in Colorado and Washington, but it’s going to be hard going for growers to irrigate their pot crops, given the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation just announced it’s not going to grant them access to certain water stores.

In what it billed as a “temporary policy” decision, the bureau issued a statement about its irrigation waters — and the gist is, no, pot growers can’t tap them, NBC News reported.

“Reclamation will operate its facilities and administer its water-related contracts in a manner that is consistent with the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, as amended,” the statement read. “This includes locations where state law has decriminalized or authorized the cultivation of marijuana. Reclamation will refer any inconsistent uses of federal resources of which it becomes aware to the Department of Justice and coordinate with the proper enforcement authorities.”

Public hearings are likely to be held to determine if the temporary ruling will stand as formal policy, NBC reported. It’s not clear what the Justice Department would do to offenders — though a spokeswoman for the agency said agents would enforce the pertinent laws.

Pot growers and marijuana supporters say the policy is harassment.

“It looks like another case of public officials acting against the better interests of themselves and their constituency due to a lack of critical thinking,” said Naomi McCulloch with the Green Lion Farms in Seattle, which is a member of the Association of Cannabis Breeders and Growers, NBC News reported. “The general feeling is that there are ways to get water. If one source closes, another will open.”

The bureau says it provides enough water to cover about 1.2 million acres of land in Colorado and Washington.

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