Cannabis is a unique opportunity to develop small farm friendly stream flow protections

In the shadow of prohibition and regulatory uncertainty a diversity of practices has developed. This diversity of practices is reflected in the licensing framework in the legislation. This tiered licensing framework was a high priority to our organization last year and provides and important foundation for tiered requirements and fees.


In addition to the nine license types in state law, there are four distinct class of growers to consider:

  • Criminal: trespass or public land grows
  • Unregulated- Non conforming: land use restraints, need to be relocated quickly
  • Unregulated: Will need realistic timelines and fees to transition
  • Regulated: must ensure regulations actually protect natural resources

Balance between rewarding good practices and targeting bad practices. 


Open the door.

Participation is key. Once growers are in the system they will work with you to perfect the system. There is a strong stewardship ethic. Don’t spend all your time chasing the worst actors.  Don’t set the bar—or fees—to high.

Make regulations that make sense.

  • Make it easier to store water, especially on a small and micro scale
  • Make it easier to store water during peak stream flow events;
  • off channel storage must be a major focus
  • Ensure that restrictions on diversions make sense and are easy to understand

One size doesn’t fit all.

  • Develop and adopt regional and watershed specific protections
  • Develop and adopt specific rules for different scales and classes of businesses


Policy priorities

  • Expand the “Small irrigation registration” statewide, with regional adjustments as needed
  • Ensure consistency between licensing tiers and regulatory tiers 

Long term goal: A cannabis industry that is completely dependent on rainwater storage and does not divert and ground or surface water.