Recent Notice of Violations Sent to Cannabis Community Often Issued Erroneously, Says Letter to the Editor
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Dear State Water Board Division of Water Rights and Humboldt County Community,
I am writing to share with you a concern I have about the current widespread issuance of Notice of Violations (NOVs) from the State Water Board’s Division of Water Rights Enforcement program for Failure to Obtain Cannabis Cultivation Regulatory Coverage.
Thus far, I have assisted 5 Humboldt County land owners to handle such NOVs. Of those 5 recipients, 3 contained false allegations of cultivation of cannabis without the required Small Irrigation Use Registration (SIUR), Waste Discharge Waiver, or Humboldt County permit. For those 3, all required permits are in place.
I have heard (and am observing) that these NOVs were sent widely across the Redwood Creek and Salmon Creek watersheds of southern Humboldt county. I am sure that we can agree, Notice of Violations are serious statements that ought to be issued only when a factual basis for violations exist. Here in Humboldt County many farmers, consultants, and government personnel work very hard to achieve compliance. These erroneous violations press thin the already worn pocket books, calendars and emotional well-being of a community hard at work to comply with emerging commercial cannabis cultivation regulations.
I am writing with suggestions for both the Water Board and the Humboldt County community that if implemented will reduce the burden of erroneous NOVs.
First, the process leading up to the issuance of NOVs ought to be changed. Prior to issuance of the NOV, a review of up to [date] permitting
datedata must be reviewed to confirm potential violations. The existing, publicly available sources of data summarizing compliance status include:
- The State Water Board’s CIWQS database.
- The Humboldt County Planning Department’s Monthly Cannabis Reports.
- The CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Information email list serve.
Second, water diversion and cannabis cultivation permit holders ought to be ready to prove compliance. This can be done by:
- Understanding the permits that you have and what they permit you to do.
- Having digital copies of permits in a known location to be easily emailed to government personnel in response to inquiry or NOV.
I am eager to experience a reality in which our compliant community members receive the peace of mind deserving their position and am happy to further facilitate solution development.
Hollie Hall, PhD
Humboldt County Community Member