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State Water - Board Cannabis Cultivation Programs

Cannabis Cultivation

Welcome to the State Water Resources Control Board's (State Water Board) cannabis cultivation regulatory programs webpage. The State Water Board is developing and implementing new regulatory programs 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 Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act.

The Water Boards (State Water Board and Regional Water Boards) responsibilities under the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act and SB 837 encompass the State Water Board's Division of Water Quality; Division of Water Rights; Office of Enforcement; and Regional Water Quality Control Boards (Regional Water Boards). The State Water Board is conducting outreach and participating in stakeholder meetings while developing the Cannabis Cultivation programs.

The Water Boards' cannabis cultivation programs focus on water quality protection requirements associated with the cultivation of cannabis on private lands. Cannabis cultivation on public lands is illegal and may be subject to criminal prosecution. The State and Regional Water Boards' water quality programs do not authorize, endorse, sanction, permit or approve the cultivation, use, sale or other activities associated with cannabis.

New Information

  • UPDATE: Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment, Staff Information Workshops, Board Workshop, and Public Hearing (Notice). The State Water Board is accepting public comments on the Draft Cannabis Cultivation Policy - Principles and Guidelines for Cannabis Cultivation (Cannabis Policy), Draft Cannabis Cultivation Policy Staff Report (Staff Report) and Draft General Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges of Waste Associated with Cannabis Cultivation Activities (General Order). The comment period ends at 12:00 P.M. (noon) on Wednesday, September 6, 2017. Information on where to submit comments and the workshops and hearings associated with this effort is detailed in the Notice. The three draft documents available for public comment are provided below:

    The State Water Board will hold two staff informational workshops and one State Water Board workshop as detailed below.

    Staff Informational Workshops*
    Thursday, July 20, 2017
    4:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.
    Adorni Center
    1011 Waterfront Drive
    Eureka, CA 95501
    Thursday, July 27, 2017
    10:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. (noon)
    Joe Serna Jr. CalEPA Headquarters
    Building – Coastal Hearing Room
    1001 I Street, Second Floor

    * The purpose of the staff informational workshops is for State Water Board staff to present information and answer questions on the Draft Cannabis Policy, Staff Report, and General Order.

    State Water Board Workshop**
    Wednesday, August 2, 2017
    9:30 A.M.
    Joe Serna Jr. CalEPA Headquarters Building
    Coastal Hearing Room
    1001 I Street, Second Floor
    Sacramento, CA 95814

    ** Oral comments will be accepted and recorded at the Board Workshop and will be entered into the appropriate administrative record.

    The State Water Board will hold public hearings to receive oral comments regarding (1) the Cannabis Policy, and (2) the General Order. The State Water Board may adopt each of these items after their respective hearings. The hearings will be conducted as part of the Board's October 17, 2017, State Water Board meeting. The location and start time of the Board meeting are provided below.

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017
    9:30 A.M.
    Joe Serna Jr. CalEPA Headquarters Building
    Coastal Hearing Room
    1001 I Street, Second Floor
    Sacramento, CA 95814

    Additional information is available on the Notice and the Fact Sheet.

  • State Water Board Informational Meetings Presentation: Cannabis Cultivation Draft Policy and Draft General Order

Water Rights

  • Cannabis Cultivation Water Rights Homepage - Information on the development of principles and guidelines for diversion and use of water for cannabis cultivation and water rights information related to cannabis cultivation. Principles and guidelines for cannabis cultivation will be incorporated into the State Water Board's water right and regulatory programs and the California Department of Food and Agriculture's CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing .

Water Quality


  • Cannabis Cultivation Enforcement Homepage - Information regarding the State Water Boards enforcement program for the diversion and use of surface water and waste discharges that could harm the waters of the State.

Coordinating Agencies

Related Resources and Publications

General Information

envelope   Subscribe to our Cannabis Cultivators email subscription list to receive email updates, notices, and opportunities to comment. The email subscription list appears in multiple sections (i.e., Water Rights, Water Quality, etc.). You only need to sign up once as all sections subscribe to the same list.