In November of 2017, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released the 2018 version of its fire code (NFPA 1 Fire Code, 2018 Edition). This version of the NFPA code includes a chapter on marijuana growing, processing, and extraction facilities (Chapter 38). The code will apply to existing and new facilities, and will form the backbone of developing regulations within the marijuana industry.
Who is the NFPA?
The NFPA is a non-profit trade organization established in 1896. The organization focuses on establishing codes and standards to minimize the risks and effects of fire. According to its website, the organization has over 50,000 members (many of whom are fire marshals).
Why does the new code matter?
The NFPA releases updates to its fire code every three years. According to a recent NFPA blog post, the code was developed when “a member of the Fire Code Technical Committee was approached by an AHJ [authority having jurisdiction, which is often a fire marshal] about the increase in these types of facilities in their jurisdiction and the need for a model code to provide guidance on how jurisdictions can protect them as well as keep those responding to fires in these facilities safe.” 1
The codes and standards that it establishes often serve as the backbone of regulatory requirements covering various industries. The release of code covering marijuana growing, processing, and extraction facilities by the NFPA likely indicates that state and local authorities will be changing their regulations and permitting requirements for these types of facilities. Furthermore, the widespread adoption of these codes will help bring an enhanced level of legitimacy to the industry.
What is in the new code?
The updated code covers the following topics:
- 38.1 Application
- 38.2 Permits
- 38.3 Fire Protection Systems
- 38.4 Means of Egress
- 38.5 Growing or Production of Marijuana (including ventilation, fumigation, and pesticide application)
- 38.6 Processing or Extraction
- General (extraction room, staffing, operator training, signage, equipment, approval for equipment with no listing, equipment field verifications)
- LP Gas Extraction
- Flammable and Combustible Liquids Extraction
- CO2 extraction
To view a full version of the codes and standards developed by the NFPA for the marijuana industry, you can visit their website at: http://www.nfpa.org/codes-and- standards/all-codes- and-standards/list- of-codes-and- standards/detail?code=1
How should owners / operators of marijuana growing, processing, and extraction facilities respond?
It will likely take a little bit of time before local jurisdictions adopt the new codes and standards. However, owners / operators of these types of facilities should review the code and assess whether or not their equipment and facilities comply with the code. If your equipment and facilities are not in
compliance, you should develop a plan to address any deficiencies so that you can be prepared to comply with future regulations and avoid an interruption of business operations.
Bigda, Kristin. “NFPA 1, 2018 sneak peek: New requirements for marijuana growing, processing and extraction facilities, #FireCodefriday.” NFPA Website, 12 May 2017, https://community.nfpa.org/community/nfpa-today/blog/2017/05/12/nfpa-1- 2018-sneak- peak-new- requirements-for- marijuana-growing- processing-and-extraction-facilities- firecodefridays. Accessed 12 Dec. 2017.