LAS CRUCES, New Mexico – Marijuana might be legal in New Mexico, but it remains illegal at the federal level.
Because Elephant Butte Irrigation District is a federal irrigation project, cannabis growers will not be able to utilize water from EBID, according to its manager and treasurer.
“It’s not been legalized through the federal government,” said Gary Esslinger, the treasurer and manager of the district. “We could irrigate hemp because it wasn’t considered illegal. Marijuana is a different topic. Most people are using groundwater.”
“We were able to capitalize on grandfathered water rights to utilize our well,” said Kwamé Ponschock, a co-founder of Sol Cannabis.
Ponschock and his partner, Brett Burke, have a farm in Anthony. They are planning to open Sol Cannabis on April 1st on Idaho Avenue in the El Paseo district.
“We feel incredibly lucky because there are a lot of people still fighting to get those rights,” Ponschoch said. “Water is our gold, and it has to be tracked and traced by any means possible.”