Last month, hundreds of Emerald Triangle cannabis farmers received letters from the state threatening penalties unless they complied with California water quality regulations.
Thousands of growers in Northern California have complied with these regulations, to be extended statewide by 2018. But State Water Resources Control Board Office of Enforcement Director Cris Carrigan said that officials at the agency still have their work cut out for them.
“There has never been anything like this, dude,” Carrigan said with a laugh. “It’s a $10 billion industry in California that has been unregulated until now. So no, there has never been anything like this before.”
Carrigan said the state and regional water boards have come a long way in the past three to four years in terms of cannabis regulation, thanks largely to cannabis cultivators’ willingness to work toward compliance.
“They want to do it, but the question is can they overcome the hurdles after operating in secret for so long?” he asked.