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First Funds Awarded Through New Cultivator Grant Program

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), through its Cannabis Restoration Grant Program (CRGP), awarded over $1.7 million from its Qualified Cultivator Grant Program. These grants are designated to assist cannabis cultivators obtain their annual license and promote sustainable cultivation practices, which can include addressing legacy issues on their property and water conservation measures.

While funding is not directly paid to cultivators, it can be secured through eligible entities, including non-profits, government agencies or tribes. CRGP released the Qualified Cultivator Funding Opportunity in August of 2021 with $6 million of total funding available. The noncompetitive solicitation will remain open until April 2023.


Sun + Earth was awarded $395,643 for planning and capacity building to support sustainable cultivation practices for their cannabis cultivator network. The grant will also provide the framework necessary to help cultivators secure an annual license and support sustainability projects focusing on land restoration and conservation.


The Mendocino County Resource Conservation District (MCRCD) was awarded $1,388,181 for water conservation projects in the South Fork Eel River Watershed. The funds will focus on three cannabis cultivation sites and will be used to design and install three rainwater collection systems, perform irrigation infrastructure upgrades, develop and implement an invasive species management plan, install native, pollinator-friendly plants and prepare site-specific California Environmental Quality Act documentation required for cannabis cultivators.


“These are well-conceived and timely planning projects that will result in lasting benefits to fish and wildlife resources and the habitats they depend upon for survival,” said Sarah Paulson, Acting Cannabis Program Director. “Supporting these entities will help preserve California’s natural resources and pave the way for future cannabis farmers in the regulated market.”

There are three steps to the qualified cultivator program: consultation, pre-application and full application. The consultation process is optional but will allow staff and the prospective applicants to discuss the proposed project’s applicability and eligibility. Applicants are required to submit a pre-application before being considered for the full application.

More information about the concept consultation and funding priorities can be found in the Concept Consultation Request Overview.

Grants through the CRGP are funded through California’s Environmental Restoration and Protection Account pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code section 34019(f)(2), and may be used to fund the cleanup, remediation and restoration of environmental damage in watersheds affected by cannabis cultivation and related activities, and to support local partnerships for this purpose.

For questions on CDFW’s CRGP, email