California to Regulate Water Use Among Cannabis Growers

Up to 50,000 marijuana growers in California could be required to obtain state permits to use irrigation water under a new law which spells out operating details of the state’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.

The state law, SB837, calls for an unprecedented water conservation effort, KQED reported, and one that hasn’t been tried in other states with legal marijuana industries.

It’s aimed at protecting the environment and other water users given the rapid growth of the state’s cannabis industry. Cultivators – led by the California Growers Association – support the move.

The new rules require growers to get cultivation permits from a new Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. To get the permits, growers must certify where they are getting their water from.

The new program also directs the State Water Resources Control Board and Department of Fish and Wildlife to create a task force to assess environmental damages from marijuana growing. The task force also has the authority to collect fees and penalties from growers to pay for programs to correct the damage, KQED reported.

Growers are generally allowed to divert water from creeks or other sources on or adjacent to their land, but not when it causes environmental damage.

KQED also noted some regions lack enough water for everyone, in which case some growers may have to get water other ways, like buying it from a tanker truck or digging a well.

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4 comments on “California to Regulate Water Use Among Cannabis Growers
  1. Ma Dang on

    What a shame ! This is an unfair regulation for the Cannabis industry and one that the CGA has taken to ensure their position as a ‘power broker’ in writing laws and protecting their own interests. As a Plant Scientist conducting cannabis usage studies, i know that it consumes no more water or fertilizer than a tomato plant when grown in soil and vituraly none when grown hydroponically in a closed loop system.
    Look around, non-cannabis farmers are allowed to flood irrigate crops, pasture lands wasting water that is needed for cities that have ‘water conservation’ regulations enacted because of the drought. Grape growers and wineries are not monitored with their water use and where is the water resources board in all this ? Big lobbies in Sacramento support all these industries and allow them to operate unrestrained !
    So what is different about Cannabis ? Will hemp farms also be regulated for water use while the cotton field next door isn’t ? Is it now not time to regulate ALL water usage in California Agriculture as well as remove price supports and reduce air pollution from animal husbandry ?
    After all isn’t Cannabis is the #1 dollar crop in California and should be supported, regulated and taxed fairly as other medicine is or if recreational then have the same status as alcohol and its tax structure !
    The current set of regulations is pushing growers into Agriculture zoning, which has specific water rights differing from city controlled water or industrial/commercial usage. Where are the Pro-Cannabis attorneys ? Is this in part a western water rights issue or step 1 in big business’s plan to change the landscape by future 3A and 3B licence holders ?

  2. OAFRC on

    Every grower of any commodities, in California, should have to obtain the same info and permits, as you are asking of these groups. “Right”
    This way of government thinking, is only for fees, of burden new entities, such as cultivators of this industry.

    Sure there is definitely a water issue in about every state these days.

    But good farming techniques and practices in marijuana growing, will use less water for MJ, than corn, wine, wheat, soy, rice, and yes iHemp.

    So California MJ and Industrial Hemp growers, you must get in line to pay the state, for the water they don”t have and you will probable never received, just like the almond, peach, olive, and cotton farmers. Most growers have moved to Oregon. What’s up with that.

  3. seesoclearly on

    Well well, looks like our leaders that have allowed the rip off ‘for profit colleges’ and ‘payday loan’ businesses to prosper and have created tax loopholes for big pharma to hide profits offshore while overcharging US citizens for much needed drugs like the new Hep C cure drug are now attempting to winnow out as many small growers and produces as possible with the so called short water squeeze before any real guidelines are established by the 1/1/2016 date the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation expects to have licensing applications available for those wishing to grow/produce healing meds. This way when the big pharma companies move in to ‘legally’ produce medical cannabis meds, they will have less competition or grower/producers to buy or crowd out. Of course we can trust our governmental officials so that any grower applying for the permit honestly today will not have to fear exposure to, and a visit from, any government regulator, right.

  4. Hastings RH on

    Many will leave the business or state when the Jan 1 2018 deadline arrives or join the black market. Black market prices are still 200 an oz in WA because of over regulation and poor quality from licensed producers. If gov were smart they’d make it easy to pay taxes and stop harassing people. Cali for example could easily bring in 7 billion a year in cannabis tax revenues but will likely bring in maybe 1 billion because politicians are grossly incompetent.

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