The National Fire Protection Association provides the research for codes and standards utilized across America and many other parts of the world. Recently the development of NFPA 420 was approved for the standard Fire Protection of Cannabis Growing and Processing Facilities.

The new fire protection standard for facilities in the cannabis industry will set a clear guideline. Previous serious fire emergencies at cannabis facilities have promoted this standardization of safety standards.

The committee to develop NFPA 420 is seeking individuals directly involved with cannabis facilities. The NFPA technical committee application expired on June 15, 2021. Applications received after this date will still be considered in the December NFPA meeting.

< Go to NFPA Technical Committee Application Page

One example of standardization for the industry will be defining occupancy classification. NFPA 1, Chapter 6 defines facility occupancy where projects also fall any other applicable building code. The NFPA released Safety Issues For Cannabis-related Facilities that offer some likely occupancy classifications for cannabis facilities:

– Growing and processing facilities (including extraction rooms): Classified as industrial or storage.

– Selling facilities: Classified as mercantile

– Consumption facilities: May be classified as assembly or business depending on the occupant load

< Download the NFPA 420 Resource

The NFPA 420 will develop solutions that address the fire protection needs of cannabis facilities. The authority with jurisdiction decides if and how Codes are adopted locally. Often facilities will fall under multiple NFPA standards like the NFPA 22 standard Water Tanks for Private Fire Protection.

Pioneer Water Tank for Fire Protection

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    Resources:

    Cannabis fire safety and NFPA 420 Technical Committee Application Page

    https://www.nfpa.org/Codes-and-Standards/Resources/Standards-in-action/Marijuana-grow-and-extraction-facilities

    NFPA Standards Council approves development of NFPA 420, Standard on Fire Protection of Cannabis Growing and Processing Facilities, By Susan Mckelvey, May 4, 2021

    https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Publications-and-media/Blogs-Landing-Page/NFPA-Today/Blog-Posts/2021/05/04/NFPA-Standards-Council-approves-development-of-NFPA-420

    Safety Issues for Cannabis-Related Facilities Resource Download

    https://www.nfpa.org/Codes-and-Standards/Resources/Standards-in-action/Marijuana-grow-and-extraction-facilities/Safety%20issues%20for%20cannabis-related%20facilities

    Using an above-ground water tank for a water well system can resolve a lot of issues that come with a well water source.

    Adding a water storage tank to a water well system solves pressure and consistency problems that property owners can face in California. The never-ending battle over groundwater can affect water well owners drastically, and change the availability of water in a short amount of time.

    Above ground water storage acts as a fill tank for your water well. If you have a low flow water well, a pump may not be able to keep up with the water demand for a typical home. With the water tank, the pump pulls from the above-ground for a consistent water source that also reduces strain on the pumping system.

    It’s easier to filter water that is stored above ground. Tank flocculation along with typical pre-tank filters get rid of a lot of taste and cloudy water issues than what a straight water well source can provide. If your well water comes up with some sediment, a well water storage tank can allow the sediment to fall to the bottom of the tank while taking water from the top. This helps to prevent clogging your plumbing fixtures or constantly changing an inline sediment filter. Well water that has a high level of dissolved sulfur gas that is allowed to sit above ground is found to dissolve some of that gas.

    Installing a water tank above ground is also easier to clean and fill with an alternative water source, like rainwater harvesting. Having a water source that can be instantly accessed prevents things like electricity outages from affecting your water supply. You can also add firefighting nozzles to your tank in case of an emergency and the water will be ready to go instead of having to pump it from the ground.

    The California State Water Board has established basic well standards that have been adopted with amendments to all counties. Local requirements should be researched before adjusting or drilling for a water well.

    “Well owners obtain permits from local environmental health agencies or local water districts before construction, modification, or destruction takes place. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water Board have established well construction standards (well standards).”

    https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/gama/docs/wellowner_guide.pdf

    Get Started on a Water Storage Solution

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      Proposition 72 was passed in June of 2018 to exclude rainwater harvesting systems from property tax reassessment in California.

      The California Proposition 72, Rainwater Capture Systems Excluded from Property Tax Assessments Amendment, passed this June 2018 with 83.28% of the vote. (Link to Prop 72)

      Previously, the California AB-1750 Rainwater Capture Act of 2012 put the ability the collect and store rainwater for domestic and potable use into law. AB-1750 also provides that rainwater captured off of building rooftops doesn’t require filing for a water rights permit.

      “California AB-1750 (c) Rainwater and stormwater, captured and properly managed, can contribute significantly to local water supplies by infiltrating and recharging groundwater aquifers, thereby increasing available supplies of drinking water. In addition, the onsite capture, storage, and use of rainwater for non-potable use significantly reduce demand for potable water, contributing to the statutory objective of a 20-percent reduction in urban per capita water use in California by December 31, 2020.” (Link to AB-1750)

      Prop 72 expands State support for rainwater harvesting by excluding installing a system from property tax reassessment starting January 1, 2019. This isn’t a direct financial incentive but it does prevent any property taxes from increasing from a rainwater system. State Senator Steve Glazer backed the proposition after being inspired by seeing a resident use a rainwater system to supply for their domestic water usage.

      Rainwater systems are extremely successful in other areas in saving utility water, reducing water waste and decentralizing water distribution. In Tucson, Arizona the Tucson Water Utilities’ research found that 720 homeowners in their rebate program saved an average of 748 gallons each, per month with rainwater harvesting. (Link to article)

      Encouraging California residents and businesses to change or alleviate their water source with rainwater collection could help the ongoing water crisis as it has in Texas. Rainwater is soft water with a neutral pH, which is great for growing plants and drinking. It’s easier to filter than groundwater and doesn’t require a permit like water diversion does. Once a system is set up with low maintenance, your rooftop becomes a virtually clean, drinkable free water source.

      We offer BPA free water storage for rainwater systems, and beyond. Our tank liner is NSF 61 certified for drinking water and has a 65-year lifespan.

      > Learn More about the exclusive NSF-61 certified AQUALINER® Fresh

       

       

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        It’s legal to collect rainwater off of a roof for beneficial use and doesn’t require a water rights permit in California. Rainwater is renewable, clean, soft water with the perfect ph for cannabis cultivation.

         

         

         

        It’s been completely legal in California to collect rainwater off of a building roof since the AB-1750 Rainwater Capture Act of 2012 came into fruition. On top of this progressive statute, California recently passed the California Proposition 72, Rainwater Capture Systems Excluded from Property Tax Assessments Amendment.

        This amendment excludes rainwater systems from property tax reassessment, starting January 1, 2019. For cannabis cultivators, these initiatives extend in making permitting easier when your water source is rainwater collection.

        Unlike with surface water diversion, or water wells, rainwater collection for cannabis doesn’t require a water rights permit. You just need a rainwater system that can supply enough water for the cultivation production that you are applying for.

        “Rainwater catchment systems collect runoff from rooftops which are then stored for later use. Since collecting rainwater in this way does not require additional state permitting, it is a cost-effective solution to meeting some of your water needs.” – The Humboldt County Planning and Building Department (Link)

        < Learn More on WaterSafe

        The first step to rainwater collection is to test the rainwater runoff from the building gutter system, especially when used for drinking or irrigation for your cash crop. There are testing kits like WaterSafe (https://www.watersafetestkits.com/) or testing facilities (https://www.calwater.com/waterquality/water-quality-testing-labs/) that can provide contamination information.

        The quality of the rainwater depends on the roofing material, and location of your system. Typical rainwater systems include pre-tank filtration as well as more filtration before the rainwater is used.

        Using rainwater for cannabis (or growing in general) has many advantages, besides easier permitting.

         

        1. Rainwater is soft water. It’s free of the salts, minerals, treatment chemicals, and pharmaceuticals that are found in municipal water, groundwater, and surface water. Salts and chemicals can build up in your soil over time and these residues are tough on plants.

         

        2. Rainwater has a slightly acidic ph. Organically grown plants prefer soil pH levels between 5.5 and 6.5. This is on the acidic side of the neutral pH 7, and by nature’s design, it is the exact pH range for rainwater.

         

        3. Rain contains nitrates, an important macronutrient. Nitrates are the most bioavailable form of nitrogen. Nitrogen is one of the three key macro-nutrients that plants need to thrive.

         

        4. Collecting rainwater off of a building roof is renewable, reduces the distance between the source of your water and use, and is proven to reduce stress on groundwater resources.

         

        Some growers have noted that they sometimes need to add minerals to filtered rainwater, but it depends on your specific setup, system and watering needs. Water is one of the most important factors when it comes to growing cannabis successfully so testing is necessary to ensure the biggest buds.

        Sources:

        California Proposition 72, Rainwater Capture Systems Excluded from Property Tax Assessments Amendment (June 2018)

        https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_72,_Rainwater_Capture_Systems_Excluded_from_Property_Tax_Assessments_Amendment_(June_2018)

        The State of California AB-1750 Rainwater Capture Act of 2012

        https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120AB1750

        The City of San Francisco Guide to Rainwater Harvesting

        https://www.urbanfarmerstore.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/RWHManual_Finals.pdf

        Truly Organic “Water Quality and Cannabis”

        https://www.trulyoreganic.com/blog/2017/9/26/water-quality-and-cannabis

         

         

         

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          Legally starting a cannabis cultivation farm takes registration with the State, applying for local permits, meet all of the requirements for the inspections, have your site plan approved. 

           

           

          The process of registering and permitting a cannabis cultivation farm in California is based on State and local County requirements. These steps are generalized based on Statewide requirements but every County will have a process set out on the County government website.

          One Example of the Process in  Humboldt County

          Stage 1:

          Determination of Eligibility and Application

          The first step is to gather the appropriate documents and determine the local requirements for the location of the purposed cultivation site. All Counties require a background check and a Business Tax License.

          • Business Tax License Application
          • Corporate Documentation (Articles, Bylaws/Operating Agreement, Statement of Information, Certificate in Good Standing California Tax Franchise Board, BOE Seller’s Permit).
          • Each Principal must undergo a criminal history check demonstrating compliance with the eligibility requirements of HMC Section 5.42.050 for background checks.
          • Proof of ownership of the proposed location of the business or a signed and notarized statement from the Property Owner.

          Stage 2:

          Evaluation and Ranking for Application

          Most applications, depending on the location, will be evaluated based on criteria given importance by a point system for the application to be evaluated with.

           

          Check with your local County to see the exact scoring criteria. Some example stipulations include:
          • The proposed location of the business
          • Business Plan
          • Neighborhood Compatibility Plan
          • Safety and Security Plan

          Stage 3:

          Second Evaluation and Initial Inspection

          Applications that achieve the first ranking requirements, move onto the second round. The proposed site is then inspected by the assigned City designee if there is an existing building structure.

           

          The second-ranking will be scored based on local requirements such as:

          • The final location
          • Maximum points will be given for those proposed to be located within a business park or complex with other medical marijuana businesses.
          • Completed business plan
          • Community Benefits
          • Enhanced Product Safety
          •  Environmental Benefits
          • Labor & Employment
          • Local Enterprise
          • Neighborhood Compatibility Plan
          • Qualifications of Principals
          • Safety and Security Plan

          Stage 4:

          Final Evaluation and Selection

          The last phase involves finalizing all of the requirements to get public approval by the local authority. This can be generalized into four steps:

           

          1. Public Meeting of finalist applicants for all categories of medical marijuana businesses (if there are still available permits in those categories to be issued by the City).
          2. Selection Committee’s final review and evaluation.
          3. The city staff prepares and presents a final report to City Council.
          4. City Council makes the final selection.

          Learn more with this California Secretary of State “10 Easy Steps to Start a Cannabis Business Entity in California”

          https://bpd.cdn.sos.ca.gov/cannabizfile/10steps2.pdf

           

          Get Started on a Water Storage Solution

           

          Call (877) 223-7784