News Feature | August 9, 2017

California To Regulate Marijuana Wastewater

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

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California regulators are getting closer to regulating waste discharges by marijuana growers.

“The California State Water Resources Control Board has released draft water regulations for growing marijuana in attempt to reign in the environmental damage that pot farms have caused and prepare for a new wave of legal cannabis grows,” Cal Coast News reported.

“As required by California law, the state water board is developing a regulatory framework for marijuana cultivation. The state board will take public comments on the draft regulations until September 6, and the new rules could be adopted by the end of the year,” the report said.

The concern is that marijuana wastewater may pose a threat to California water resources.

“The program will prohibit waste discharges from agricultural practices, land clearing and grading activities in rural areas and forests. Permits will cover medical marijuana grown on private land. A permit obtained from the Water Boards does not approve or endorse cannabis cultivation,” according to the California State Water Resources Control Board.

Growers are required to operate on private land because growing marijuana on public land is illegal, Cal Coast News reported.

State and local authorities each have a hand in regulating marijuana growers in California.

“Local agencies in California are adopting marijuana cultivation regulations on top of what the water board is planning,” the report said.

Waste discharge is not the only policy issue related to marijuana. The intense water needs of marijuana plants became a concern in California during the state’s record-setting drought.

Many communities fought “not the mere cultivation of cannabis — which is legal in the state, though subject to myriad restrictions — but the growers’ use of water. Marijuana is a thirsty plant, and cultivating it at a time when California residents are subject to water restrictions [became] a sticky issue,” The New York Times reported.

For similar stories visit Water Online’s Wastewater Regulations And Legislation Solutions Center.

Image credit: "LEGAL Colorado Marijuana Grow," Brett Levin Photography © 2013, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/