The desert is now strewn with makeshift pot farms. California allows them, with proper permits and local approval. But the penalty for growing even thousands of marijuana plants is only a misdemeanor and a $500 fine; 80 percent of California’s roughly 30,000 pot farms are illegal, according to the state water board.
Bill Bodner, DEA Special Agent in Charge : Where these grows are, they do not have running water hooked up there. So they either have to drill wells, or they have to truck in water from other areas. And that’s where the incentive to steal water comes from.