May 16, 2017

Written by Hon. Steven K. Lubell (Ret.)

The Medical Cannabis Regulation and Act enacted Business and Professions Code Section 19303 which states:

“Protection of the public shall be the highest priority for all licensing authorities in exercising its licensing, regulatory, and disciplinary functions under this chapter. Whenever the protection of the public is inconsistent with other interests sought to be promoted, the protection of the public shall be paramount.”

The Department of Food & Agriculture determined that as part its obligation to protect the public and environment from potential risks of activities conducted by indoor cultivators to limit the amount of greenhouse gas emission levels.

Proposed Regulations for the Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program requires that indoor cultivators adhere to additional environmental protection measures not required of the other cultivator license types.

Proposed regulations, California Code of Regulation Section 8315 provide that Indoor Cultivators of all canopy sizes shall ensure that electrical power used for commercial cannabis activity is provided by any combination of the following:

(a) On-grid power with 42 percent renewable source.

(b) Onsite zero net energy renewable source providing 42 percent of power.

(c) Purchase of carbon offsets for any portion of power above 58 percent not from renewable sources.

(d) Demonstration that the equipment to be used would be 42 percent more energy efficient than standard equipment, using 2014 as the baseline year for such standard equipment.

This rule would require cultivators use renewable energy sources for 42 percent of power consumed at the site. If 42 percent of the power consumed is not from renewable sources, the cultivator may purchase carbon offsets for any portion above 58 percent. The Department of Food & Agriculture Literature Review on the Impacts of Cannabis Cultivation identified several key concerns with energy use and indoor cultivation including, but not limited to, greenhouse gas emission levels. The Department of Food & Agriculture determined that requiring the use of renewable power sources, at a level of 42 percent, would diminish the anticipated impacts of indoor cultivation. The Department also determined that energy efficient equipment (using 2014 for an efficiency standard baseline) would lessen indoor cultivation impacts on the environment.

Written Comments regarding the proposed rule must be received by the Department of Food and Agriculture at its office no later than 5:00pm (PST), June 14, 2017, or must be received by the Department at one of the previously scheduled public hearings.

If you have comments on the proposed 42% renewable energy source rule for indoor cultivators, direct them to:


Rachelle Kennedy

Department of Food and Agriculture

CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing

1220 N Street, Suite 400

Sacramento, CA 95814


Disclaimer: This article has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice.