On November 8, 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, allowing for commercial cultivation of recreational cannabis. This new law took effect in 2018 and legalized the cultivation and growing, processing, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of cannabis and cannabis products. This new legislation also requires cannabis operations to obtain a license from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Local governments have the authority to regulate cannabis operations within their jurisdiction. Therefore, the District recommends cannabis project proponents contact, at the earliest stage of their project, the local land use agency to ensure that land use related permits, including Conditional Use Permit (CUP), and all other applicable authorizations have been received.
This Advisory provides local agencies and potential cannabis business operators located in the San Joaquin Valley with guidance regarding the air quality related requirements associated with this activity. Please be aware that failure to obtain the necessary permits from the District may result in enforcement action, which could result in monetary penalties. To avoid this situation, cannabis business operators and public agencies should call the District’s Business Assistance hotline at (559) 230-5888 to obtain the latest information and guidance on how District rules and regulations impact the aforementioned cannabis operations. In addition, see the District’s Recommendations for Local Agencies, below.
The District recommends local agencies, as a part of their own permitting processes, require the use of odor abatement equipment to control the potent odors that can be expected from cannabis growing, harvesting or processing operations. While this recommendation is applicable to all cannabis operations, special attention should be given to operations that could cause odors that would affect sensitive receptors such as schools, day care facilities, hospitals, etc. As always, the District is available to discuss this recommendation, and other potential air quality impacts, as lead agencies analyze CEQA requirements for these or other development projects. Our CEQA team can be reached at 559-230-6000.
Cannabis cultivation (growing and harvesting) operations are agricultural operations, which may require District permits prior to construction or operation. If subject to District permits, the District’s New and Modified Stationary Source Review (NSR) rule, District Rule 2201, applies and the proposed operation will be evaluated to ensure compliance with rule requirements such as Best Available Control Technology (BACT) and offsets if certain thresholds are surpassed.
Equipment commonly requiring permits at cannabis growing and harvesting operations, include but are not limited to: internal combustion engines (any fuel type), gasoline storage tanks greater than 250 gallons, and odor control devices. Other types of equipment, such as turbines used to produce power, and printing operations, may also require permits from the District.
Diesel Engine Powering a Generator State law1 requires all compression-ignited engines driving a generator (full-time use or emergency), rated at 50 horsepower or greater, to obtain a permit from the local Air District. The engine will be subject to New Source Review requirements, including Best Available Control Technology, District Rule 4702, Internal Combustion Engines, and other applicable District prohibitory rules.
Other Engines Other engines rated greater than 50 brake horsepower and located at large commercial cannabis growing and harvesting operations may require a District permit prior to installation and operation.
Gasoline Storage Tanks Gasoline storage tanks greater than 250 gallons and located at large commercial cannabis growing and harvesting operations may require a District permit prior to installation and operation. Diesel tanks are not subject to permit requirements.
The District recommends that potential commercial cannabis growing and harvesting operators call the District’s Business Assistance hotline at (559) 230-5888 to assess permit applicability and associated requirements, prior to any construction or equipment purchases.
1 California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 3 (Food and Agriculture), Division 8 (Cannabis Cultivation), Chapter 1, Section 8306, requires a District-issued permit or a state-issued Portable Equipment Registration. However, state and local air quality rules do not allow the use of portable equipment as a part of the operation of a stationary source of emissions such as an agricultural or processing operation, and therefore a permit must be obtained from the District.
Processing operations of commercial cannabis products including, but not limited to, packaging, oil extraction, and volatile extraction are required to obtain District issued permits in accordance with District Rule 2010, Permits Required, prior to installation and operation of any processing equipment.
To obtain a permit, the applicant must file an “Application for Authority to Construct/Permit to Operate” and a supplemental “Application for Cannabis Manufacturing/Processing Operations”. During the permitting process, the operation will be evaluated to ensure compliance with District Rule 2201 requirements such as Best Available Control Technology (BACT) and offsets if certain thresholds are surpassed.
Odor control devices used to abate odor from cannabis operations including, but not limited to, growing, harvesting, storing, packaging, oil extraction, and volatile extraction, require permits according to District Rule 2010, Permits Required, prior to installation or operation of such equipment.
As permitted operations, cannabis processing operations are subject to District Rule 4102, Nuisance, and any public nuisance related to odors from cannabis processing operations are subject to District enforcement. To comply with District Rule 4102, the District may require the use of odor abatement systems (e.g., activated carbon filtration systems, deodorizing systems).
Please note that local land use agencies may already require the use of odor abatement equipment, such as carbon control on greenhouses, storage buildings, etc., to control the cannabis related odors and prevent nuisances from occurring.
Under District Rule 4103, Open Burning, the burning of crops such as cannabis, or of related residue or waste, is not allowed in the San Joaquin Valley.
To receive further information or to discuss any permitting or application questions, please contact the District’s Small Business Assistance office at (559) 230-5888.