During the five-year drought in California, cannabis became an easy target for those looking to conserve water, especially among those predisposed against legalization. While everyone should support water conservation with or without a drought, a new report by the San Luis Obispo County Planning and Building Department found that cannabis is not a major water hog compared to many culinary items.
According to the report, a pound of cannabis requires 150 gallons of water, which roughly equates to 2.4 cups for every one joint. By comparison, a gallon of wine requires 870 gallons of water, which comes out to about 54 gallons per wine glass. Plus, you need water to wash the wine glass and (for the non-savages) decanter.
Still, your daily dose of pinot noir is a cactus compared to that Double-Double you just ordered at In-N-Out. The county report said each pound of hamburger meat requires 1,800 gallons of water. So for those who hate themselves, that Quarter Pounder they're gagging down at McDonald's required 450 gallons of water (and god knows what else) to make.
Per other studies, one pound of chocolate or almonds requires about 2,000 gallons of water, while it takes 1,729 gallons of water to produce a gallon of olive oil. Then there's cotton, which one source claims will suck up 1,320 gallons per pound. In the fuller context, cannabis doesn't look quite so bad at 150 gallons per pound.
The findings in the report will help county supervisors draft regulations for commercial cannabis operations that could take effect this year. It's presumably a good sign that the report included other products like hamburger meat and wine to offer an informed comparison.
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