California’s terrible drought has become -- like just about everything else in the United States -- a political issue. Many liberals have taken to blaming anthropogenic climate change for the drought, while some conservatives have placed the blame at the feet of “liberal environmentalists.” The political point-scoring is tiring and just plain silly, given that the drought is almost certainly a result of natural processes -- processes that we humans, conservatives and liberals alike, have precious little to do with. Another problem is that our partisan pugilists are conflating two separate issues: the drought, which is the lack of rainfall that California has suffered over the past four years, and the water shortages, which may indeed have some man-made causes.
To that end, a San Francisco-based author with a PhD in Nutritional Ethnomedicine floated an interesting theory regarding those water shortages earlier this week. Speaking on the radio, he suggested that California’s huge crop of marijuana plants is “depleting the water table,” and is partially responsible for the massive shortfalls in water that the state is now facing.
It may sound outlandish, but it turns out that there may be something to the good doctor’s theory.
As anyone who has ever had the misfortune to visit, say, Santa Cruz can attest, there’s a lotof marijuana in California. (This despite the fact that it’s only legal for medicinal use in the state.) Indeed, by some estimates, California now produces more marijuana than Mexico.
Unfortunately, a reliable count hasn’t been done in years, but back in 2006, there were approximately 17.5 million outdoor marijuana plants in the state. (That number has almost certainly skyrocketed since, given that the DEA has eased its enforcement, but we’ll be conservative and use the old number.) Meanwhile, one outdoor marijuana plant requires approximately six gallons of water per day during its roughly 150-day growing season. That means that, over California’s four-year drought, outdoor marijuana plants -- based on the six-gallon a day estimate, and the 2006 figure -- have used roughly 63 billion gallons of California water. (Indoor growing is also rough on the environment; roughly 9 percent of household electricity use in the state is used for marijuana cultivation, reports Evan Mills of the Lawrence Berkeley National Library.)
California Governor Jerry Brown, meanwhile, has recently instituted a tough plan to conserve 400 billion gallons of water. Eradicating outdoor marijuana plants would have saved the state 15 percent of that total over the course of the drought.
All of which is to say, kicking the dope habit wouldn’t end California’s water problems (for that, the state would also have to jettison its ruinous almond addiction). But it would make a pretty good start.
The Republican party's best chance to win a statewide office in California for the first time since 2006 all started with a check for $800. Pete Peterson’s wife Gina is graphic designer in Santa Monica who owns her own business, a limited liability company. Last year, she was getting ready to pay her company's annual $800 licensing tax to the secretary of state’s office, which oversees business licensing. Only in California are LLCs taxed so much just to keep a license. In Delaware, the annual tax is just $300, and in Missouri, it’s just a one-time $50 free.
On November 6 voters in California did something nearly unheard of during the past 30 years: They approved, by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent, a ballot measure raising state income taxes on the most prosperous Californians and sales taxes on everyone, even though the state’s sales tax is already the highest in the nation.
On Monday, August 8, Governor Jerry Brown finally signed a bill the California state legislature had passed in July—a bill that binds California to “National Popular Vote” (NPV). Which is to say, to the committing of all its electoral college votes in a presidential election to the winner of the nation’s popular vote. In other words, regardless of which candidate carried California, the electors are directed to vote for the candidate who carries the nation.
Jodie Evans is a terrorist sympathizing, America and Israel bashing extreme left-wing activist in California. Evans, also, is a supporter of Democratic California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown. And, apparantely, Brown is a supporter of Evans.
How do we know? Brown attended, over the weekend, an exclusive fundraiser at Evans's California home. Here's the invitation:
You’re a California Republican and, this being an election year, anxiety is mounting. Your state endures unspeakable economic crises, mostly caused by the union-Democratic axis of Sacramento. Unemployment numbers are higher than the national average, and you’re hearing financial experts declare your deficit-plagued, once-golden state to be in worse shape than—oh the indignity!—Greece.