Delivering a major blow to state-licensed pot growers in Washington state and Colorado, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said today it will not allow any federally-controlled water to be used on marijuana crops.
“As a federal agency, Reclamation is obligated to adhere to federal law in the conduct of its responsibilities to the American people,” said Dan DuBray, the agency’s chief of public affairs.
The decision could hit particularly hard in Washington state, with the federal agency controlling the water supply for two-thirds of Washington state’s irrigated land.
Growers in Colorado will be less affected because the state allows only indoor pot farms.
The ruling makes clear that the Obama administration is willing to set limits on the states’ legalization experiments, even though the Justice Department said in August that it would not block their plans to tax and sell the drug.