Cannabis Cultivation Policy - Principles and Guidelines (Requirements) for Cannabis Cultivation
On October 17, 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) adopted the Cannabis Cultivation Policy – Principles and Guidelines for Cannabis Cultivation (Cannabis Policy), under Resolution No. 2017-0063. The state’s Office of Administrative Law approved the Cannabis Policy on December 18, 2017, putting the policy into effect as of that date.
The Cannabis Policy establishes principles and guidelines (requirements) for the diversion and use of water, land disturbances, and the activities related to cannabis cultivation to protect water quantity and quality. The requirements help to minimize the effects of cannabis cultivation on fisheries, wildlife, and water quality, maintain healthy riparian corridors, and protect springs, wetlands, and aquatic habitat.
NEW! Proposed Updates to the Cannabis Cultivation Policy – Principles and Guidelines for Cannabis Cultivation
The State Water Board adopts the proposed updates to the Cannabis Cultivation Policy – Principles and Guidelines for Cannabis Cultivation. The Cannabis Policy and Form 400 were submitted to the Office of Administrative Law for review and approval on March 4, 2019. If approved the Cannabis Policy will go into effect on or about April 16, 2019.
Fully Contained Springs
Fully contained springs do not flow off a person’s property in the absence of diversion, including wet years, or after periods of heavy rain. The Cannabis Cultivation Policy allows cultivators to request an exemption from certain flow requirements if the spring being used for cannabis cultivation meets a set of pre-determined conditions. The full text of the requirements is available. Detailed information on how to request a fully contained spring exemption is available at the Fully Contained Springs page.
Online Cannabis Compliance Gage Mapping Tool - The Online Mapping Tool provides cannabis cultivators that divert surface water with a tool to check whether they may divert for cannabis cultivation on a given day.
Cannabis Compliance Gages Website (Cannabis Policy, Attachment A, Section 4)- Provides an overview of the Cannabis Policy’s current list of active compliance gages and the associated Tessmann Instream Flow Requirements. Please use the online mapping tool above to determine whether water is available to divert at your point of diversion.
On June 27, 2016, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Senate Bill No. 837 (SB 837), which required the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board), in consultation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), to adopt interim and long-term principles and guidelines (requirements) for the diversion and use of water for cannabis cultivation in areas where cannabis cultivation may have the potential to substantially affect instream flows.
Per Water Code section 13149, the principles and guidelines:
- Shall include measures to protect springs, wetlands, and aquatic habitats from negative impacts of cannabis cultivation;
- May include instream flow objectives, limits on diversions, and requirements for screening of diversions and elimination of barriers to fish passage; and
May include requirements that apply to groundwater extractions.
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