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Medford officials concerned about water used for growing pot

MEDFORD — The Medford Water Commission is concerned that commercial marijuana growers might be illegally taking water from municipal sources.

The commission is installing water meters to measure how much water is being used at filling stations in White City and Medford and see if increased marijuana production has had an impact, reported The Mail Tribune. Officials are also hoping to determine if there are ways to police the water usage.

“A lot of growers are buying land that is pretty arid,” said commission member Bob Strosser.

He said that as a result they could look for other water sources.

Under state law, municipal water can be used for homes, lawns and other landscaping around a house. The law isn't specific about using the water for agricultural purposes.

Local contractors can get permission to use fire hydrants at construction sites, but the commission has gotten reports that other water trucks are also filling up there. There's also concern about commercial growers with hundreds of plants using water from filling stations.

“At some point, we need to look at our policies and come up with clear and definitive guidelines as to when the treated water can be used,” said Strosser, who will be on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners beginning in January. “It's an emerging issue that we are going to have to address and deal with because water is a finite resource.”

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Information from: Mail Tribune, http://www.mailtribune.com/

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