Cannabis Cultivation Program


Welcome to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s (Central Coast Water Board) Cannabis Cultivation Regulatory Program webpage. On December 18, 2017 the State's Office of Administrative Law approved and put into the State's regulatory code the State Water Board’s Cannabis Cultivation Regulatory Program, which is now in effect. The Cannabis Regulatory Program Portal is now live. Visit the Cannabis Regulatory Program's Portal to enroll for coverage under the Cannabis General Order or to file for a cannabis Small Irrigation Use Registration water right. The Cannabis Regulatory Program is implemented by the Regional Boards, a map of the Regional Board boundaries can be found here. To receive email updates from the Central Coast Water Board’s Cannabis Program, please sign up online.

The State Water Board in coordination with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) have identified Cannabis Priority Watersheds throughout the state that are of special environmental concern and are at increased risk of environmental impacts due to cannabis cultivation activities.

Central Coast Water Board Cannabis Program Overview

The Central Coast Water Board regulates discharges from irrigated agricultural lands to limit environmental damage associated with commercial crop production. This applies to owners and operators of irrigated lands used for the commercial crop production of cannabis.

On October 17, 2017, the State Water Board adopted the Cannabis Cultivation Policy - Principles and Guidelines for Cannabis Cultivation (Cannabis Policy) and General Waste Discharge Requirements and Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges of Waste Associated with Cannabis Cultivation Activities (Cannabis General Order). The State Water Board established this new regulatory program to address potential water quality and quantity issues related to cannabis cultivation and to meet the directives of Senate Bill (SB) 837 (Statutes 2016, Chapter 32, Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review) and the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA; Senate Bill 94 [Statutes 2017, Chapter 27, Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review]).

Cannabis Policy and General Order Outreach Presentation

Fact Sheets:

Cannabis General Order Fact Sheet

Indoor Cannabis Cultivation Fact Sheet

Technical Reporting

Technical reporting is required for cannabis cultivators based on operation size and site characteristics. Templates and reporting guidelines are linked below.

Annual Reporting:

Annual reports are due March 1st for all Tier 1 and Tier 2 cultivators. To submit the annual report, log in to the Cannabis Program Portal.

Nitrogen Applied Reporting Worksheet

Technical Report Templates:

Technical reports are due within 60 days of the issuance of a notice of receipt.

Site Management Plan Template

Nitrogen Management Plan Template

Technical Reporting Guidelines:

Site Management Plan

Nitrogen Management Plan

Site Erosion and Sediment Control Plan

Disturbed Area Stabilization Plan

Site Closure Report


In October 2015, the Governor signed into law the California Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA), which consists of three bills (Assembly Bills 243 and 266, and Senate Bill 643) that created a licensing and regulatory framework for medical cannabis. In November 2016, California voters voted in favor of Proposition 64, which permits non-medical use of cannabis for adults over the age of 21. The passage of this new legislation regarding cannabis use, distribution, manufacturing, cultivation and transportation brings with it new regulatory requirements.

Cannabis cultivators are now required to obtain a state and local cultivation license and must meet all state and local environmental regulations including the Water Code, Basin Plan, and Clean Water Act. Cannabis cultivation can cause significant environmental damage, including discharges of polluted wastes to surface water and groundwater, erosion and sedimentation, and illegal diversions of surface water. The environmental provisions of MCRSA and Prop 64 are more important now than ever to limit environmental degradation associated with cannabis cultivation as the new legislation will bring existing cultivators into a regulatory framework and new cultivators will join the growing market.

2017-2018 Cannabis Fee Schedule

The Fee Schedule table for cannabis cultivators covered under the Cannabis General Order is posted below. To determine the correct fee amount, refer to the Tier and Risk Designation listed on the Notice of Receipt (NOR) emailed to the enrollee upon submission of the application.

To read the table below, first locate the appropriate Tier, then find the appropriate Risk Designation and the associated fee. The fee associated with the Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements is listed at the bottom of the table.

  Risk Designation Annual Fee
Tier 1 Low Risk
Moderate Risk
High Risk
Tier 2 Low Risk
Moderate Risk
High Risk
  Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements $600




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