New Oregon law requires water haulers to keep records, in bid to deter illegal cannabis grows
SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- During the 2022 session, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 4061 to deter water use on unlicensed cannabis growing sites. The Oregon Water Resources Department is set to implement the new law, which takes effect on Friday, June 3.
The information provided in this release is an overview of the bill’s provisions. For full details, visit the Department’s water hauling and cannabis laws webpage.
Records Retention for Persons Hauling Water
Any person who purchases water to haul the water to grow a crop (irrigation and nursery use) must keep records for 12 months from the date of purchase and present those records to law enforcement or OWRD upon request. Records will include the:
- Purchase date.
- Location where the water was purchased.
- Name and contact information of the person that the water was delivered to.
- How the water will be used (irrigation or nursery), including the plant type.
- Quantity of water delivered.
- Location the water was delivered to.
- Date the water was delivered.
Records Retention for Water Suppliers
Water suppliers that sell water to the public must keep records for up to 12 months for certain sales. Records must be presented immediately to OWRD or law enforcement upon request, and include the:
- Name and contact information of the person the water was sold to.
- Quantity of water sold.
- License plate number of the vehicle used to haul water.
- Purchase date.
Prohibitions on Water Hauling and Providing False Information
Hauled water on unregistered cannabis: House Bill 4061 prohibits hauling water, or arranging to haul water, to any location growing cannabis that has more than four cannabis (marijuana or hemp) plants and is not registered/licensed by the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC), Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), or Oregon Health Authority (OHA). OWRD recommends water haulers verify that a site is licensed before hauling water to a location growing cannabis and maintain records.
Providing false information about water hauling: The law prohibits any person from willfully or negligently providing false information to OWRD or law enforcement related to water hauling for cannabis plants.
Criminal and Civil Penalties
With one exception, these new penalties pertain to newly established violations by House Bill 4061 described above.
Use of water without a water right on unregistered cannabis: Use of water without a water right at any unlicensed cannabis site may be punishable by a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in prison, with a maximum fine of $25,000.
Hauled water on unregistered cannabis: Hauling water or arranging to haul water to any unregistered cannabis site, if done with criminal negligence, may be punishable by a Class A misdemeanor and a maximum fine of $25,000 if the violator is the owner of the water hauling business or the responsible party for the cannabis grow operation.
Providing false information about water hauling: Willfully or negligently providing false information to either OWRD or law enforcement regarding the hauling of water to a cannabis site, may be punishable by civil penalties up to $5,000 per day and up to a Class A misdemeanor.
Failure to retain and present records: Persons purchasing water from a water distribution location for irrigation/nursery use that fails to retain and provide records of hauled water may be subject to civil penalties up to $5,000 per day.
Notice of Violation Timelines
This bill extends the period of time for OWRD to issue a Notice of Violation after becoming aware of a violation from five days to ten business.
For situation-specific inquiries, individuals should contact their local watermaster with any questions.
The Oregon Water Resources Department is the state agency charged with studying, allocating, and distributing water in Oregon. Visit www.oregon.gov/owrd to learn more.