GRA SAN DIEGO: Cannabis cultivation regulation and environmental concerns in Southern California

September 16, 2020 @ 6:15 pm – 8:30 pm

Brian Covellone, Ph.D., P.G. Engineering Geologist South Coast Regional Cannabis Unit Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board

This meeting will be hosted virtually on Zoom.


The passage of Proposition 64 ushered in a new era of legal cannabis cultivation and recreational consumption in California. However, local jurisdictions have ultimate control over the distribution and style of commercial cannabis cultivation throughout the State, and many cities and counties in southern California prohibit commercial cannabis cultivation.

Enforcement of illicit cannabis cultivation for the purpose of the protection of water quality and habitat plays an important role in the South Coast Cannabis Cultivation Unit’s program. Agencies such as the State and Regional Water Boards and the Department of Fish and Wildlife work together with local law enforcement to document environmental crimes and violations of California Code.

In the first two years after Proposition 64, the South Coast Cannabis Cultivation Unit inspected greater than 200 illicit cannabis cultivation sites in southern coastal California. Observations from those inspections identified threats to Clean Water Act 303(d) waterbodies and Regional Water Board priority water systems, and observed illegal and unauthorized pesticide use, and discharges of wastes such as pesticides, fertilizers, hydrocarbons, litter, and sewage to California’s land and waterways.

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