Cannabis Permitting

The Cannabis Advisory, Permitting Requirements, and Form 104 (all linked below) were updated as of July 10, 2023.

Existing cannabis sources without APCD permits have until December 1, 2023 to apply for permits. See notification sent to stakeholders.

The District’s Cannabis Processing, Manufacturing, Distribution & Storage Permit Application Form-104 is now available.

District rules and regulations apply to various aspects of the cannabis industry. This may include the need to obtain one or more permits or registrations. Certain equipment items have emission standards that must be met upon installing and/or replacing existing equipment (e.g., small boilers, large water heaters, diesel engines) as well as future compliance deadlines for existing equipment. The following summarizes the possible requirements.

Cannabis Operations: Many post-harvest cannabis operations and equipment require District permits due to the potential for issuance of air contaminants.  Cannabis operations requiring a permit include processing (drying, trimming, curing, flash freezing, packaging, etc.), storage (including cold storage), distribution, and manufacturing (volatile extraction, non-volatile extraction, post extraction refinement, etc.).  Depending on the size of cannabis operation, requirements such as a Best Available Control Technology (BACT) and emission offsets may be required.  The growing and harvesting of cannabis crops is considered an agricultural operation, and therefore exempt from permit requirements pursuant to District Rule 202.D.3.

More detailed information on permitting requirements for post-harvest cannabis operations is available here

Odors:  The strong odors associated with cannabis operations can negatively affect the surrounding community and cause a public nuisance.  The District recommends that cannabis projects be initially designed to minimize odor impacts and incorporate odor control systems to prevent offsite odors and public complaints.

Small Boilers / Large Water Heaters: Permits are required for any individual (or grouping) of boilers or large water heaters with a rated heat over 2.0 million BTUs per hour (MMBtu/hr). New units require a District permit prior to installation, and must comply with the requirements of District Rule 360 and/or Rule 361. To apply for a permit, use District Form -61 and Form -01. For detailed information, see the District’s Boiler and Water Heater Webpage.

Diesel-Fired Emergency Standby Engines: Diesel-fired emergency generators and firewater pumps with engines rated at 50 bhp and greater require a District permit and must also comply with the State’s Stationary Diesel Engine ATCM. Emergency generators using spark ignited engines (e.g., natural gas, propane) are not subject to the State ATCM and are exempt from District permitting if they are operated less than 200 hours per year, have an hour meter, and a log is maintained for each use. New diesel engines are required to meet specific emission standards and typically preclude the purchase of used equipment.  We strongly advise that you apply for and obtain your District permit prior to purchasing a new diesel engine.  To apply for a permit, use District Form -34EForm -34R and Form -01. For detailed information, see the District’s Diesel Engine Webpage.

Diesel Engines Used in Cannabis Growing Operations (AG Engines):  Diesel engines used in the growing of cannabis crops (e.g. water well pumps, booster pumps) are classified “agricultural.” Stationary and portable engines rated at 50 bhp or greater are subject to the registration requirements of District Rule 1201 and the State’s ATCM regulation. This does not apply to engines that power vehicles (e.g., tractors, bulldozers, front-end loaders). Registration applications for AG engines are required to be submitted to the District within 90 days of installation. New diesel AG engines are required to meet specific emission standards and typically preclude the purchase of used equipment. We strongly advise that you contact the District prior to purchasing a diesel engine if you are unsure. To apply for an AG engine registration, use District Form AG-1. For detailed information, see the District’s AG Engine Webpage.

Prime Electrical Power Generation: Cannabis regulations in the County of Santa Barbara and the City of Goleta prohibit the use of fossil fueled engines for generation of prime electrical power for cannabis operations.  Projects outside these jurisdictions must comply with the State’s Distributed Generation Regulation, and operators are strongly encouraged to contact the District if prime electrical power generation is proposed for the project.

Permit Application Material

  • Cannabis Processing, Manufacturing, Distribution & Storage Form -104
  • Small Boiler / Large Water Heater Forms
    • Application Form -61
    • Application Form -60 (for units installed prior to January 17, 2008)
  • Diesel Engine Forms
    • Emergency Standby Engine Form-34E
    • Emergency Standby Engine Form-35 (for units installed prior to January 2005)
    • ATCM Emission Inventory Form -34R
    • AG Engine Application and Instructions (Ag1 and Ag2 forms) download from this page.
  • General Permit Application Form -01
  • Authorized Agent Form -01A

Reference Material

Please note that all our application forms are also available for download at Download Permit Application Forms.

For more information or assistance, contact us via email at [email protected].

To request a copy of a District comment letter issued for a cannabis project, please email the District’s CEQA Staff at [email protected]