Water Restrictions for Cannabis Growers


Recent heatwaves are presenting unprecedented challenges to California cannabis growers. Drought and water restrictions could affect your crop. Keep reading for more information.

Water Dependence

Most plants and animals live in a state of symbiosis – a mutually beneficial relationship between species. For example, rain and groundwater help trees to grow, the trees pull water from the ground and release it into the atmosphere, where it eventually becomes rain, and the cycle begins again. Trees and the water cycle go hand in hand, but how do marijuana plants contribute to this life-giving cycle?

If you ask California officials, they might tell you that cannabis is a drain on resources, especially water. Since the beginning of the year, growers across northern California have been operating under stringent regulations regarding water. Now, with climbing temperatures and diminishing resources, cultivators face even more scrutiny from regulatory bodies.

For growers, water is a critical part of their livelihood, and restriction interferes with production. For the cultivators, battling transpiration (the process of water evaporating from the surface of the plant) is an ongoing struggle. Despite their best efforts, it could be a losing battle.

What’s the Big Deal?

Amid a record-breaking heat and fire season, water is in short supply. That said, one of the biggest threats to the water supply for legal growers is illegal growers.

County officials regulate water rations based on the number of legal growers in the area and the size of their crop. However, when cultivators are working under the radar, these numbers aren’t accurate. Not only that, but those who do not have a proper license to grow and take water for themselves are draining resources from cultivators with legal business operations.

If you are a cannabis grower without proper licensing and permits, you could face severe penalties.

How to Protect Your Cannabis Business

All business owners have a responsibility to follow the law. The most critical first step is filling a state license. Fortunately, filing for a business license is relatively straightforward, but keeping up with California regulations is difficult at best.

Marijuana laws and ordinances are constantly changing as legislators acclimate to legal cannabis business operations. It’s also important to understand that legal cultivation is a new concept, and the cannabis industry is growing exponentially. During this heightened growth period, it can be challenging to keep up. That’s why you must enlist the help of a qualified professional.

In addition to business licenses, marijuana growers must also have Water Boards permits and certificates to comply with the Water Boards Cannabis Program requirements. The California Water Boards ensure that growers are following irrigation, waste disposal, and cultivation guidelines.

It can seem like a lot of tedious red tape (and in some ways, it is), but these certificates protect you from harsh penalties from state and environmental regulatory bodies. Cannabis growers who don’t comply with these rules could face a $10,000 fine and probation.

Contact Purdy & Bailey, LLP for guidance regarding cannabis business licensing and certification.

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