Local Medical Marijuana Cultivation & Possession Guidelines in California
Explanation of SB420 Cultivation Guidelines
On November 26, 2013, the Third District Court of Appeals upheld the city of Live Oak’s ban on medical marijuana cultivation. California NORML supported a court challenge to the Live Oak ruling, but the California Supreme Court refused to hear the challenge.
Cities and counties across the state have moved to establish zoning regulations for medical cannabis cultivation. In many cases, these are driven by complaints from neighbors who don't like the sight or smell of marijuana, or by public officials with overly punitive attitudes. Public safety concerns have been raised, and there have been a few incidents of violence around marijuana gardens. While there may be a need in some cities to require greenhouses or other security measures for gardens, in rural areas and in whole counties, there is no justification for outlawing outdoor marijuana gardens. In any case, hardship exemptions for indigent patients must be included to assure safe access under state law. Any patient who is impacted by planned or existing local ordinances can write to CalNORML.
Other local laws for cultivation and aggegate grows for multiple patients may be found in Local California Dispensary Regulations. Several cities and counties, e.g. Benicia, disallow collective grows for more than two or three patients. To find your city or county's code, Google the name + "code," then search for "marijuana" or "Cannabis".
NOTE: On May 22, 2008, the Second District of California Court of Appeals ruled that the state limits on medical marijuana possession and cultivation established under SB 420 are unconstitutional. The court's reasoning would seem to apply only when the SB 420 numbers are used to limit patients' rights, but has been interpreted otherwise by police who would prefer to ignore them. On January 21, 2010, the California Supreme Court in essence affirmed the ruling.
California NORML strongly advises Prop 215 patients to continue following the SB 420 guidelines – six mature or 12 immature plants and 8 ounces of processed marijuana except where local guidelines specify more. The Supreme Court’s recent Kelly decision has been widely misinterpreted to imply that the limits no longer apply, and that patients can therefore grow as much as they want. In fact, the Court’s decision lets the police arrest anyone who exceeds the guidelines, The only thing it disallows is for the guidelines to be used as a basis for conviction in criminal trials.
So, unless you don’t mind being arrested and dragged into court for a felony trial, where you will have to show that the amount of marijuana you had was consistent with your medical needs, the best rule of thumb is to follow the guidelines. The Kelly decision simply re-affirms the original intent of SB 420, which was to establish reasonable guidelines for arrest - not automatic limits for guilt.
Some doctors are charging clients extra for so-called "cultivation licenses" supposedly entitling them to grow more than the normal number of plants. There is no such thing as a "cultivation license" under California law. Any patient with a California physician's recommendation may legally cultivate or possess as much marijuana as they need for their own personal medical use, and no more. No physician can authorize them to cultivate more (they can only testify in court that a certain amount of marijuana is consistent with the individual patient's needs, and they do not have professional competence to prescribe plant numbers).
At right is the latest information CaNORML has about local guidelines; check with your local government entities for updates (and please let us know if this page needs to be updated). Localities NOT listed at right adhere to CA state default guidelines of 6 mature OR 12 immature plants and 8 oz. of dried processed marijuana. County ordinances have jurisdiction over unincorporated areas of their counties; cities with their own city councils have their own rules.
Back In the Closet: California medical cannabis patients are increasingly being forced to hide behind closed doors as bans on dispensaries and home cultivation sweep through the East Bay. East Bay Express April 30, 2014
Localities NOT listed below adhere to CA state default guidelines, which are: 6 mature OR 12 immature plants per patient.
City of Colusa
Desert Hot Springs
City of Los Angeles
City of Sacramento
City of San Carlos
City of San Diego
City of San Luis Obispo
City of San Mateo
San Mateo County
City of Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz County
South Lake Tahoe
City of Yuba
On 11/28/11, Amador county supervisors approved a 45-day ban on outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana and directed staff to come up with regulations to address impacts of outdoor grows. On 3/14/2012, Amador lifted its ban on outdoor cultivation, allowing as many as 12 plants per patient for as many as two patients for a maximum of 24 plants. An ordinance allowing those amounts was adopted on 3/27/2012 and is now Amador County Code 19.86. Read more.
On February 18, 2011, an ordinance took effect as muni code 17.65 in Anderson that prohibits cultivation either inside a dwelling or in an outdoor garden, limits the growing, harvesting and processing of medical marijuana to a 50-square-foot outbuilding that is built to city, state and federal codes, is protected by an audible alarm system, and contains electrical, plumbing and ventilation. A suit was filed against the Anderson ordinance on April 15, 2011, but was unsuccessful, so the ordinance stands.
The Avenal Planning Commission passed an ordinance banning medical marijuana cultivation and distribution in the City of Avenal on March 3, 2014. The Avenal City Council held a public hearing on the ordinance on March 13, and passed it on first reading. Read an oped from Cal NORML on the ban.
City Council passed an ordinance 11/08 allowing no more than 50 square feet for cultivation. In addition, dispensaries will be prohibited from using more than 25% of their property for cultivation and patients must grow in their own homes, which must be mainly residential space. Those with special needs may request more grow space.
In 2012, Arcata voters enacted a 45 percent tax on residences that use more than 600 percent of the energy baseline, with the aim of driving indoor grows out of the town. Read more.
On February 18, 2014 Beaumont city council voted to enact a total ban on medical marijuana cultivation. Read more.
Measure JJ, passed by the voters in 2008, repealed Berkeley's plant and possession limits. Outdoor gardens that are observable are limited to 10 plants.
City code requires marijuana be grown in a "fully enclosed and secure structure."
On November 4, 2014 Butte County voters passed Measure A and rejected Measure B. Measure A's more restrictive cultivation ordinance is expected to go into effect in January. Read more.
Interim Calaveras County Counsel Megan Stedtfeld said in October 2014 she is working on the medical marijuana code revisions and hopes to bring them to the Board of Supervisors for consideration by the end of the year. County officials say the goal is to have regulations in place before a new growing season begins in the spring. Read more.
On January 9, 2014, the city of Capitola will consider an urgency ordinance to disallow commercial cultivation of medical cannabis, allowing only 50-square foot indoor gardens in residential zones. Violators would face misdemeanor charges with 6 mos. in jail, and fines of $1000 per day. See agenda.
Chapter 19.77 of Chico municipal code allows outdoor, residential cultivation of 50 square feet per parcel, regardless of the number of patients. Plants must be enclosed, screened, and 5 feet from the property line. Indoor cultivation (under 50 square feet and 1200 watts) can take place only with a permit stating outdoor is not possible and the building owner approves. States all marijuana grown must be for personal use only.
Chowchilla Municipal Code 9.09.040 requires medical marijuana to be grown in an inspected "secure enclosed structure" with solid walls and roof, and not encompassing living space. The total area dedicated to cultivation of medical marijuana is be limited to a total of 120 square feet per parcel. Cultivation may only be conducted by the property owner of the subject property or a resident of the subject property with written permission of the property owner of the subject property to conduct cultivation. (Ord. No. 463-12, 8-14-2012)
In 2013, Citrus Heights passed an ordinance requiring medical marijuana to be grown inside the home (50 sq. ft. limit) or in an enclosed structure (100 sq. ft. limit).
September 27, 2013 - Clearlake city council passed a new ordinance, which is modeled on the cultivation ordinance adopted by the Lake County Board of Supervisors, which became effective Jan. 1, 2014.
The new ordinance prohibits cultivation within 600 feet of a school or licensed child day care center next year. The number of plants allowed is connected to parcel size, allowing no more than six plants on parcels smaller than a half acre and as many as 48 plants on properties 40 acres or larger. Processing of marijuana is to be limited to the amount of plants that can be grown on a given parcel. Grows on vacant lots are prohibited as is cultivation in mobile home parks – unless management has designated a specific garden area. Cultivation on multifamily and apartment properties also is prohibited. The ordinance also establishes setback and screening requirements.It is the city's intent to enforce the ordinance based on legitimate and verified complaints.
The Clovis City Council voted on October 8, 2012 to approve stricter rules for its 6-year-old medical marijuana ordinance, giving police the authority to direct valid medical marijuana users to grow the crop inside their home where it can't be seen or inside a locked structure on their property. Gardens are limited to 32 square feet. Clovis already bans outdoor marijuana gardens, dispensaries and patient-to-patient sales.
The city of Colusa voted on March 18, 2014 to draft an ordinance banning all marijuana cultivation. The mayor has called for public comment on the matter. Read more.
Concord began looking at cultivation restrictions after a neighbor complaint about a medical marijuana grow. On December 11, 2012 Concord city council moved forward on an ordinance banning outdoor cultivation.
On March 26, 2013, Concord city council voted unanimously to adopt a ban on outdoor cultivation, not even allowing it an ancillary buildings, after winning assurances from the chief of police and city attorney that code enforcement would be complaint-driven. At the ordinance's second reading, zoning variances were discussed. Anyone interested in applying for a variance or who is impacted by Concord's ordinance can write here.
Corcoran is meeting about a growing ban on September 15, 2014. Read more.
The city of Corning prohibits cultivation outdoors or in a residential structure. Gardens must be located in a secure detached structure in the rear yard only, removed ten feet from the property line and with a six foot solid fence and with a mechanical ventilation system and security system approved by a Building Official or the Police Dept.
Desert Hot Springs
On November 4, 2014 the voters of Desert Hot Springs enacted Measure HH, establishing a tax of $25/square foot for marijuana gardens under 3000 sq. ft., and $10/square foot for larger gardens. Read more.
El Dorado County
On September 24, 2013, El Dorado enacted a new cultivation ordinance.
Property of an acre, or less, is allowed 200 square feet of cultivation area. Five acres or more may use 400 square feet while 20 acres or more can have a maximum of 600 square feet under cultivation. Setbacks were established at 50 feet on the smaller plots and 100 feet on the 400 and 600 square foot units. Not more than three qualified individuals may participate per parcel under the ordinance.
Supervisors restricted the location of gardens to not less than 1,000 feet from a school, school bus stop, church or other “youth-oriented” facility. The property must be fenced and secured and the garden must be otherwise screened from view by additional fencing, plants or trees, buildings or other structures.
On January 22, 2014, Elk Grove staff asked for direction from the city council on their medical marijuana cultivation ordinance, in light of the Maral decision allowing total cultivation bans. The City Council directed the preparation of an ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana cultivation in the City. The video of the Council Meeting is available at www.elkgrovecity.org.
On February 8, 2012, the city council of Elk Grove voted to disallow medical marijuana cultivation outdoors or in a greenhouse, allowing it only inside a home or in a detached building outside. In the detached building, the grow area could be no more than 120 square feet. A 6-foot backyard fence must surround the site. Inside a home, medical marijuana can be grown in a 50-square-foot area, excluding the bathroom, kitchen or bedroom. Grow lights cannot exceed 1,200 watts; and use of gas products is prohibited.
Cultivation is barred within 1,000 feet of any school, child care center or public park, and the growing area may not be accessible to anyone 17 or younger. A ventilation and filtration system approved by the city's building official must be installed. A security system is required and also must be approved by the building official or police chief. A cultivation permit is required, good for two years, and the application for that must include the notarized signature of the property owner.
On May 3, 2011, Eureka city council approved an ordinance that allows personal cultivation within 50 square feet in area and 10 feet in height, or up to 100 feet with an Exemption Request, only in a residence. Processing area cannot exceed 20 square feet. Also regulates dispensaries, delivery services, and labs.
Cultivation Ordinance says:
- Medical marijuana cannot be grown in a rental unit unless the tenant has the property owner's written permission.
- There must be no evidence of marijuana cultivation visible from the street.
- No more than 50 square feet of floor area may be used for cultivation.
- Cultivation is not permitted in the kitchen, bathroom, or primary bedrooms of a residence.
- Grow-lights cannot exceed 1,200 watts total and all electrical wiring must be installed and permitted in accordance with applicable Building Codes.
January 27, 2014 - Fremont is looking at banning outdoor medical marijuana cultivation. Read more.
Fresno City Council voted to enact a total ban on marijuana grows on March 20, 2014. Read more. Also see: Fresno council committee formed to review marijuana growing Read more.
A lawsuit challenging the City of Fresno’s 2011 temporary ban on the outdoor cultivation of medical cannabis was filed April 23, 2012. The second amended petition and complaint against Fresno’s outdoor growing ban was filed April 15, 2013, in Fresno County Superior Court. No trial date has been set. Read more.
The city's ban is also included in ACLU's suit against Fresno county (see below).
May 8, 2014 - Advocates challenge Fresno cannabis cultivation ban.
May 2, 2014 - Judge Puts Fresno County medical marijuana fines on hold
On January 7, 2014, Fresno County voted to ban all medical marijuana cultivation in unincorporated areas of Fresno county. Violations are misdemeanor crimes, with daily fines, after an abatement order is sent to the property owner with a 15 day notice, or an "immediate threat" is determined. Read the ordinance.
The city of Fresno has now also passed a cultivation ban (see above). The ordinance in the Clovis allowing indoor grows remain in effect.
For questions about Fresno's laws call 559-270-1411.
Glenn County supervisors passed Title 15, Section 797: guidelines for medical cultivation in the unincorporated areas, on February 21, 2012. It allows plants to be grown outdoors in a 100-square-foot area provided it is fenced and not visible to neighbors. Three-hundred foot and 1,000-foot setbacks from churches, schools and parks are required by the county depending on the size of the parcel. Personal gardens for medical marijuana patients are confined to property owned by the patient — not rentals.
The city of Gridley has banned outdoor cultivation. In April 2014, Gridley held a study session on its marijuana cultivation laws, and is considering new regulations. Read more.
In November 2012, Gustine passed an ordinance requiring growing inside a secure structure, up to 120 square feet per parcel. Smoking in public places is also disallowed.
On August 29, 2014 the Hanford City Council took the first steps toward possibly banning the cultivation of marijuana in the city limits.HANFORD TO CONSIDER BAN ON MARIJUANA CULTIVATION
On May 5, 2014 the City Council voted in favor of an ordinance to limit outdoor cultivation to 3 plants, and indoor to 6 plants. Read more.
Healdsburg city council considered banning outdoor cultivation at a June 3, 2013 meeting, but instead convened a task force on the matter. Read more.
At a June 5, 2014 Planning Commission meeting, a time of 6 PM on June 19 was set for a public hearing on an ordinance to restrict growing on parcels five acres or smaller. On the agenda were amendments to the Zoning Ordinance and Local Coastal Program (LCP) to regulate outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana for personal use on parcels ranging from ½-acre to 5 acres in size. For parcels within this size range, the ordinance would authorize cultivation by qualified patients of up to 5 mature plants with canopy size not exceeding 50 square feet. Outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana on parcels less than 1/2 acre in size would be prohibited. Thanks to Woods and Esteban of HUMMAP for the report.
On May 1, 2014 the Humboldt County Planning Commission heard a proposal to ban outdoor cultivation on small parcels.See agenda. At the meeting, activists, including HUMMAPers, Bonnie Blackberry of CLMP, Kristin Nevedal of EGA, and Cal NORML legal committee attorney Ed Denson, successfully stalled Humboldt Supervisor Sundberg's attempt to fast-track the proposal, citing environmental concerns. Instead the planning commission will take its time and gather public input on the matter.
On October 22, 2013 the Humboldt County BOS sent back to a sub-committe for drafting a proposal to extend the terms of the existing indoor cultivation ordinance to allow the same amount of cultivation outdoors on parcels from ½ acre to 5 acres without any permit or registration. Cultivation would be limited to 50 square feet and no more than 5 mature plants, and would be disallowed within 20 feet of any neighboring residence. This stated aim is to reduce the impacts of large grows in rural neighborhoods, while providing the assurance that a small but reasonable amount of cultivation shall not be considered a nuisance. This proposal does not attempt to address large grows on large parcels. Read proposal.
On March 5, 2013 the Humboldt Board of Supervisors announced a series of public meetings to discuss a proposed outdoor cultivation ordinance. This would replace the current county guidelines allowing patients 100 square feet with no plant number limit per Humboldt's 2004 ordinance.
On May 8, 2013, the Board referred the issue back to the MMJ Subcommittee (Ryan and Lovelace) to try to develop something that addresses only neighborhood impacts, ignoring the environmental harm being done in rural areas by larger grows.
On 12/14/2011, the Humboldt county passed an ordinance limiting indoor gardens to 50 square feet per parcel, and 1200 watts, regardless of the number of patients.
Both indoors and out, patients in Humboldt county are currently permitted 3 pounds.
The Cities of Fortuna and Eureka enforce SB 420 limits (6 mature/12 immature plants, 1/2 lb) indoors and out. Also see: Eureka and Arcata (above).
On July 7, 2011, with a 4 to 1 vote, the Imperial Beach City Council approved an ordinance banning collective cultivation of medical marijuana within city limits including in the private homes of qualified patients. Read more.
An emergency ordinance disallowing more than 12 plants per parcel is in effect in Kern. Growing more than 12 plants per parcel in Kern county will be treated as a misdemeanor violation, with a possible 6 mos. or $1000 fine per plant, in addition to nuisance abatement costs.
A ban on outdoor medical marijuana grows was enacted by Kings county in November 2011. It states, "Cultivation of medical marijuana is prohibited in all zones of the county, except for cultivation for personal medicinal use by a qualified patient within a secured, locked and fully enclosed structure on their personal residence." Read King County's medical marijuana ordinance. (Search for "marijuana"; it's Article V.)
On June 3, 2014, the voters of Lake County voted yes on Measure N by a 51.6-48.4% margin. This means Lake's ordinance #2997, passed in December 2013, took effect on July 11. Under the ordinance, outdoor cultivation is banned on parcels less than one acre in size and in all community growth boundaries, maps of which can be found here. Plant numbers on parcels larger than one acre outside of community growth boundaries are limited to six mature or 12 immature plants. The only exception is property 20 acres or more in size that is zoned for strictly for agriculture, on which collective gardens of up to 48 mature plants can be grown. Indoors throughout the county, a 100-square-foot area limited to 1200 watts can be grown subject to inspection by the Building and Safety Department and the sheriff. Read more.
Measure O, the Medical Marijuana Control Act failed to pass on the November 2014 ballot, as did Measure P, the Freedom to Grow and Use Natural Plants.
On 5/21/2013, Lakeport city council passed a ban on outdoor cultivation, or cultivation in a residence, only 80 square feet of canopy in a secure, detached backyard building. It is "primarily" complaint driven. Read more. Also see: City of Lakeport begins community outreach on new marijuana cultivation ordinance
Lassen County Code 18.107.040 says, "The cultivation of marijuana as defined in Section 18.14.275 is prohibited in all zones and districts of the unincorporated areas of Lassen County and shall be considered a public nuisance unless said cultivation can be demonstrated to be for use only by a qualifying patient. (Ord. 575 § 3, 2010)....“Cultivation” means the planting, growing, harvesting, drying, or processing of cannabis/marijuana plants or any part thereof, whether indoors or outdoors. (18.14.275). Those in violation are guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a $1000 fine and/or 6 months in jail, plus court costs. shall be punishable therefor by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not more than six months or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Live Oak (Sutter County)
A lawsuit was filed against Live Oak's ban on indoor and outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana, passed in December 2011. The Third District Court of Appeals upheld the city of Live Oak’s ban on medical marijuana cultivation on November 26, 2013. California NORML supported a court challenge to the Live Oak ruling, but the California Supreme Court refused to hear the challenge.
Lodi City Council has extended its moratorium on medical marijuana cultivation through Nov. 5, 2014 (the last date it can do so). On October 15, 2014 the council plans to ban outdoor cultivation. Read more.
City of Los Angeles
On May 22, 2013 the voters of LA approved Proposition D, which allows three-patient collective grows by patients or designated primary caregivers. No plant limits are stated; using the state guidelines, 18 mature plants for a three-patient garden would be permitted.
Sept. 2014 - The sheriff has promised swift enforcement of a new ordinance that levies fines of $250 per plant and gives patients only one day to comply. Read more.
Manteca Health and Safety Code 8.35 requires medical marijuana to be grown in a "secure enclosed structure." No collective cultivation of over twelve plants is permitted in residential districts, and a cooperative or collective must file articles of incorporation with the state and "conduct its business for the mutual benefit of its members."
April 2014 - Mariposa County supervisors enacted an ordinance that limits each parcel to 12 plants and prohibit any outdoor grows within 1,000 feet of schools, bus stops, churches, parks, or youth oriented facilities. Violators face fines of one thousand dollars per day and up to six months in jail. Read more.
On Wednesday, April 16, Martinez city council voted to ban outdoor growing. Read Cal NORML's report.
On March 25, 2014, Martinez city council voted to amend their marijuana ordinance, limiting individuals to growing six plants for personal medical use. Read more. On April 3, 2014, Martinez city council took no action on an ordinance to limit outdoor gardens to six plants, instead directing staff to write a total outdoor ban.
In January 2012, Mendocino rescinded its ordinance allowing for regulated 99-plant gardens. The maximum allowable indoor or outdoor garden in Mendocino county is now 25 plants per parcel; indoors, plants are also limited to 100 contiguous square feet. The sheriff's office still offers voluntary zip-tie permits for about $25 apiece. See the ordinance.
Merced county supervisors voted unanimously on September 10, 2013 to approve an ordinance that would limit medical marijuana cultivation to 12 plants per parcel of land, indoors or out. Violators will receive a 72-hour abatement notice and be subject to a misdemeanor charge possibly resulting in six months in jail and-or a $1,000 fine. An administrative appeal may be filed within 10 days after a notice to abate is served (sections 9.29.086 and 9.29.103). The ordinance took effect 30 days after its adoption.
In December 2013, Modoc county passed a zoning ordinance establishing chapter 18.175 of county code. Cultivation is limited to a total of twelve or fewer medical marijuana plants per qualified patient for up to two qualified patients per parcel. A 30-day notice of abatement is issued to noncompliant gardens under Chapter 8.20 of county code.
The city of Moraga outlaws outdoor cultivation; indoor is allowed only if not visible. Read Chapter 7.32 of Moraga municode.
On November 4, 2014 Nevada county voters rejected Measure S. That means the ordinance adopted on May 8, 2012 in Nevada county is in effect. Premises in rural zones AG, AE,FR, or TPZ less than 2 acres are limited to 100 contiguous square feet of indoor cultivation area or 150 contiguous square feet of outdoor cultivation. Larger parcels can grow more.
Indoors - 72 plants in maximum 32 sq. ft growing area. Outdoors - 20 plants, no area limit. Weight limit 3 lbs dried marijuana per patient. Collective gardens limited to 3 patients. Dispensaries serving four or more patients are allowed max. 6 mature and 12 immature plants and 1/2 pound per patient. See Oakland Municipal Code 5.81.101
On February 21, 2012, the Orland city council voted to prohibit the cultivation of medical marijuana within 300 feet of any hospital, church, school, park or playground, or any other area where large numbers of minors congregate. Grows are limited to 50 square feet per parcel and must be in a detached building with locking doors and a security system, on property that is the patient's or main caregiver's primary residence.
The cultivated marijuana must be used by the patient and cannot be distributed, sold or given to other parties or organizations. Outdoor cultivation is banned along with growing it inside a residence. If it is in a greenhouse, it must be surrounded by a solid 6-foot high fence.
Wherever possible, there should be a 10-foot setback from the property line on the side and rear yards and any other building on the parcel. The plants cannot be grown in front yards.
On July 8, 2011, the Paradise planning commission approved a draft medical marijuana ordinance that would limit personal cultivation to 50 square feet within a residential zoning district and require permits for indoor gardens. Collective cultivation could take place in industrial zones with a permit. A requirement that residential gardens be fenced and locked has been added.
Placer County's land use code disallows any “Medical marijuana collective, cooperative or dispensary” which includes a place where medical marijuana is cultivated, processed, distributed, made available, sold, traded, exchanged or bartered for in any way, with or without consideration. So while personal cultivation is not zoned out, any cultivation for others, absent a primary caregiver designation, would be.
October 2014 - Porterville City Council passes an ordinance allowing up to 20 plants with restrictions: a permit and notarized approval from landlord is required prior to planting; no felons permitted at the property; no cultivation in multi-family dwellings or mobile home parks, etc. Read more. The ordinance went into effect on Nov. 6, 2014. Read more.
In November 2010, Rancho Cordova passed a medical marijuana tax measure that Cal NORML strongly opposed as excessive: Measure O (56%-44%) would require all marijuana grows to pay $600 per square foot for up to 25 square feet of growing space.
Chapter 6.90 of Rancho Cordova city code limits cultivation to 25 square feet of growing space, requires fencing, prohibits sales, and requires taxes. Indoor cultivation over 25 square feet is allowed with a doctor's recommendation and inspection by the building code enforcement department. Odors, excessive noises, and repeated incidents can deem gardens a public nuisance.
City of Ripon (San Joaquin County)
Outdoor cultivation is not permitted in the city. The ordinance also limits the number of plants that can be grown. Read the ordinance.
An ordinance imposing fines and possible jail time for growing marijuana in unincorporated parts of Riverside County held a Sept. 23, 2014 public hearing before county supervisors decide whether to enact the new law. Read more. The Board of Supervisors has postponed consideration of the ban until Tuesday, November 25. According to a memo released by Supervisor Jeffries’ office, the postponement is in order for the Supervisors “to protect legitimate patients and their care-givers who are growing marijuana for their personal use.”
In January 2011, the city of Rocklin passed ordinance 970 (Section 1. Chapter 17.81 of Rocklin Municipal Code), which limits cultivation to 50 square feet and ten feet in height per residence only within an enclosed structure. Marijuana cultivation lighting cannot exceed 1200 watts, and the authorized grower must reside in the residence where the marijuana cultivation occurs. Other building and fire codes, issues of privacy, noise, odor, etc. must be observed. With documentation of a second patient living on the premises, up to 100 square feet can be grown. Penalty for violation is $500/day.
On October 31, 2012 a ban on outdoor growing in Roseville took effect.
City of Sacramento
On November 20, 2012, the City of Sacramento adopted a compromise personal use medical cannabis cultivation ordinance. It bans outdoor cultivation but alternative structures are acceptable if compliant (secure locked door; solid, non-transparent, not-easily-penetrated walls and roofs; and odor-free--all conditions met by a secure greenhouse system). It includes: 400 square foot allowance for personal cultivation; 3800 watts artificial light; and requires no special registration or permit for personal use cultivation; rather, complaint-driven enforcement.
CalNORML would like to see a hardship exemption added to any city's ordinance that precludes outdoor cultivation. We do not support blanket outdoor cultivation bans, certainly not in whole counties, or rural areas. Any patient who is impacted by planned or existing local ordinances can write to Sacramento NORML. One possible option would be to apply for a variance to the zoning code, either before growing or at the time of a complaint.
On June 17, 2014, the Sacramento Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance allowing nine indoor plants per parcel. Read more.
On April 22, 2014, the Board voted unanimously to ban outdoor medical marijuana cultivation in unincorporated areas of the county, but chose not to ban indoor cultivation and rather work with advocates to develop an indoor ordinance. On May 13, the board voted again to enact the outdoor ban. Read more and see the agenda packet.
For more information, contact Sacramento NORML 916-905-4203.
San Bernardino County
County code 82.02.070 outlaws outdoor cultivation in unincorporated areas of San Bernardino. A lawsuit has been filed against the ordinance, based on CEQA. The case was denied, and is being appealed (10/13). Read more.
City of San Carlos
San Carlos's collective regulation ordinance says a patient may grow medical marijuana for consumption at their residence. It adds: All cultivated marijuana must be secured in structures consisting of at least four walls and a roof, and be held secure to the satisfaction of the police chief.
City of San Diego
City Municipal Code allows up to 1 lb of marijuana, 24 plants in 64 square feet indoors; no outdoors growing except in "a fully enclosed yard with a minimum six foot fence perimeter or a greenhouse or structure that must be locked or contained."
Patients allowed up to 24 plants or 25 square feet of canopy; dispensary gardens capped at 99 plants in 100 square feet. Possession limit 8 oz. dried cannabis per patient. See p. 44 of the ordinance.
San Francisco has enacted regulations on edibles.
City of San Luis Obispo
On May 6, 2014 San Luis Obispo city council rejected an ordinance that would have banned outdoor cultivation and delivery services. The proposal will go back to the Human Relations Committee as well as the San Luis Obispo City Planning Commission. Read more.
City of San Mateo
San Mateo's city collective ordinance says:
Marijuana cultivated and possessed at a private residence must not be visible from
adjacent public areas or neighboring properties, and must be secured within structures
consisting of at least four walls and a roof with standard locks.
San Mateo County
San Mateo County's municipal code requires licensing and puts other restrictions on collective grows (needs secure structure, etc.); Chapter 5.148.080 says:
This chapter does not apply to individual cultivation of marijuana for consumption or use of an individual at his or her residence, or for consumption by another individual or individuals regularly residing at said residence, if such consumption is otherwise permitted by state law.
On May 5, 2014, San Pablo reportedly passed an ordinance banning all cultivation on a second reading.
The city of San Pablo considered an ordinance on March 17, 2014 outlawing medical marijuana cultivation inside homes. Read more. The council decided to table the measure pending the outcome of the Live Oak case. Read more.
City of Santa Cruz
The City of Santa Cruz has an ordinance recognizing "growing certificates."
ALERT 4/17/2014 - Cal NORML Legal Committee attorney Ben Rice warns Santa Cruz County residents that county code enforcement has been comparing arial views of properties over several years looking for changes to the landscape, and red tagging buildings that don't comply with building codes, including greenhouses. Planning department officials can enter properties without a warrant if they suspect a land-use code is being violated. Infractions and fines, and in some cases misdemeanors, are possible for violators. For more information, contact Ben Rice's office at 831-425-0555. Do this before you are red tagged.
On December 10, 2013, Santa Cruz county Supervisors approved cultivation rules as an effort to push large-scale operations out of the residential neighborhoods and into the hills. They limit personal medical marijuana grows to 100 square feet, but allow up to 3,000 square feet in rural areas, depending on the size of the property. Read more.
On October 16, 2013, Selma city council passed an ordinance disallowing outdoor medical marijuana gardens. For indoor gardens, a permit from the Community Development Director must first be obtained, and the cultivation must take place in a residential zone. Cultivation in the residential building is restricted to 50 square feet; it must be done in a secure area with a separate ventilation system. Any detached structure used for cultivation must be secured and approved by the Community Development Director and limited to a maximum area of 100 square feet. The structure must comply with all building standards, be set back at least 10 feet from any other building or property line and be located at least 1,500 feet from any child care center, public park or school. Anyone who violates the ordinance could be charged with a misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Read more.
In January 2011, Sebastopol city council enacted an ordinance allowing patients and caregivers to grow up to 30 plants within 100 square feet at their homes. Under the ordinance, patients and caregivers can possess up to 3 lbs. at the garden site. It also allows two secured 750 square-foot gardens for dispensing collectives, and two more for non-dispensing patients and caregivers.
Sungrown in Shasta and other grassroots groups, aided by the California Cannabis Coalition, turned in an estimated 13,080 signatures on February 27, 2014 to repeal the outdoor cultivation ban in Shasta. Despite a heroic effort, Measure A carried and so the ordinance the Shasta County Board of Supervisors voted in on January 29, 2014 is now in effect.
The ordinance states, "Cultivation may only occur on a Premises within a detached residential accessory structure affixed to the real property that meets the definition of "Indoor," or "Greenhouse," that is located on the same Premises as the Residence of a Qualified Patient(s) or a Primary Caregiver(s), and that complies with all of the provisions of the Shasta County Code relating to accessory structures..."
"Greenhouse" is defined as an accessory structure to a Residence located on the same Premises, legally established with all required permits approved, constructed primarily of translucent glass or glass-like material (or other similar material approved by the Director of Resource Management), completely enclosed with one or more secure locking doors as the only means of ingress and egress, where plants are grown. Read more.
The Shasta county sheriff has said he is enforcing the new ordinance immediately and advises all outdoor growers to harvest their plants. Read more.
In December 2010, city council adopted an ordinance that allows growing only in residential or mixed-used zoning districts, while it would be banned in commercial and industrial districts. The ordinance allows for growing up to 100 square feet inside a garage or adjacent building, but not inside the home.
Outdoor growing is limited to 25 square feet on a half-acre parcel, 60 square feet on a parcel between half-acre and one acre and 240 square feet on parcels larger than one acre. Outdoor grows must also be enclosed in a 6-foot high, non-climbable fence with a locking gate. Chain-link fences are not allowed, according to the ordinance.
UPDATE 9/12 - On Sept. 4, 2012 the Shasta Lake City Council had a first reading of amendments to their ordinance, striking a registration program for larger gardens, citing the Pack case and saying they hadn't had any requests for such permits. Their next regularly scheduled meeting is Sept. 18; the agenda is not yet posted.
On February 18, 2014 the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors was presented with a proposed ordinance that would limit medical marijuana cultivation to 100 square feet per parcel, regardless of the number of patients on the land. Fencing, setbacks, lack of proximity to sensitive use areas, and permission of the landowner are all required. The supes decided to have four public meetings about the topic in the coming months. Read more. Also see: Siskiyou County Marijuana Regulation Facebook group
Guidelines permit 3 lbs for possession; maximum 100 square feet cultivation area with 30 plants or fewer (approved Sept 2006). In 2011, the BOS has commissioned a study to recommend options for cultivation regulations.
On Tuesday, December 11, 2012, the BOS considered and rejected a motion to repeal the county's medical marijuana ordinance, thus not reverting to state cultivation guidelines.
On December 12, 2012, St. Helena passed an ordinance (Chapter 9.18) banning outdoor cultivation.
October 2014 - Police Chief Tom Downing reported to the counsel regarding a meeting he had with medical marijuana growers within the city.
Downing said those attending the Sept. 10th meeting offered many suggestions, and some of those will be included in a new ordinance he plans to bring forward at the counsel's Nov. 5th meeting. He said he expects the proposed ordinance will be less restrictive then the one he originally proposed but one that will offer more controls.
On Sept. 25, 2013 Sutter County passed the first reading of an ordinance that says marijuana may not be cultivated within 2,000 feet of any school, school bus stop, school evacuation site, church, park, child care center and youth-oriented facilities. On parcels less than one acre, the cultivation area must be set back at least 100 feet from each property line or must be cultivated in a detached, fully enclosed and secure structure that has a ventilation and filtration system. On parcels between 1 and 160 acres, the setback requirement is 500 feet. On parcels greater than 160 acres, the setback requirement is 1,000 feet. All gardens must be registered with the Development Services Department. Read more.
South Lake Tahoe
On May 17, 2011, the City of South Lake Tahoe unanimously passed an ordinance "to require that medical marijuana be cultivated in appropriately secured, enclosed, and ventilated structures" in permitted residential structures only; "in compliance with the maximum dimensions permissible for the cultivation of medical marijuana" within 10% of the total residence square footage. Registration is required. Fines for violations start at $100/day and escalate to $500 with repeat offenses. Read the ordinance.
On April 29, 2014 Tehama voted to increase the cost of medical marijuana garden registrations. Read more.
Tehama County Board of Supervisors has adopted Chapter 9.06 of county code that declares it a public nuisance for anyone cultivate over 12 plants on any parcel in the county. The Tehama ordinance bans any cultivation whatsoever within 1,000 ft of a school, and requires every landlord to register any Prop 215 garden with the Tehama County Health Services Agency. The ordinance allows hardship exemptions to a requirement that gardens be 100' from property lines.
On February 6, 2013, the Third District Appellate Court ruled in favor of Tehama's ordinance, after a challenge from Cal NORML.
On September 19, 2013, Tehama BOS granted two hardship exemptions to their ordinance; the sheriff pulled a third and 11 were denied.
Tracy municipal code section 10.08.3196 disallows all medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation. This is in direct violation of state law. If you are a Tracy resident who would like to challenge this ordinance, write here.
Trinity County passed county code 8.55 in June 2012 that limits personal gardens, indoors or outdoors to:
1) For parcels of one acre or less, two marijuana plants or 50 square feet;
2) For parcels between one and 2 acres, four plants or 100 square feet;
3) For parcels between 2 acres and five acres, six plants or 200 square feet;
4) For parcels between five and ten acres, six plants or 300 square feet;
5) For parcels of ten acres or greater, eight plants or 400 square feet
Trinity Planning Commission approved an aggregate grow ordinance on July 12, 2012 that would allow up to 99 plants within 2500 square feet, if properly zoned with a residence on the property, etc. However, this was not approved by the Board of Supervisors and is not law.
Attorney Matt Kumin sought an injunction against the County's restrictions on plant numbers on behalf of a patient with cancer. The court ruled that the county was not liable because the patient had not applied for a variance under Trinity County's zoning code.
9/13 - We are now hearing of Trinity county enforcement teams out in Trinity Pines area. Those aggrieved by the ordinance are advised to seek legal counsel and possibly apply for a zoning variance through the planning dept.
UPDATE 10/13 - A variety of proposed medical marijuana policy changes were discussed at the Board of Supervisors meeting on 10/22/13, with the board voting to move ahead with a proposal to ban storefront and mobile dispensaries and collective grow sites. Only individual grow sites will be allowed, and those will come with restrictions. Although the exact number of plants that will be allowed was not decided, six or eight plants seemed to be the general consensus. This will limit the number of plants allowed per parcel.
The individual grow site will need to be a structure that is connected to the main structure; it cannot be a separate structure out in a field, for example. The structure will need to be covered, locked and secure, keeping from sight any plants and reducing the odor of marijuana. There was discussion about creating a residency requirement, so that only residents of the county or homeowners will be able to receive a permit. Read more. Read agenda packet.
Chapter 11 of existing Tulare County code requires marijuana be grown "within a secure, locked, and fully enclosed structure" whose exterior is "compatible with the exterior appearance of structures already constructed or under construction within the immediate area" and has an alarm system and exterior lighting. Collectives may grow up to 99 plants within proper zoning; otherwise up to 24 plants at 6 mature or 12 immature plants per patient for only 2 patients. Patients may smoke "only entirely within a private residence or on the premises of a private residence but out of public view." Violations are criminal misdemeanors.
UPDATE 5/12 - Tulare County has voted to streamline the administrative process
dealing with medical marijuana compliance, so cases can be handled in 30 to
45 days as opposed to the current 120 to 180 days. Under the new procedures, when a citizen files a complaint with the county about a code violation, the alleged violator will be given a 10-day notice to bring the property into compliance. If the matter is not addressed, the violator could be assessed a $765 fee to place the matter on the administrative hearing agenda, along with a daily fine of $100 per day, per violation.
On February 4, 2014 the Tuolumne county board of supervisors voted unanimously to table an outdoor cultivation and dispensary ban. Read more.
On December 17, 2013, the Tuolumne County Supervisors voted unanimously to send a proposed medical marijuana ordinance to the Planning Commission for review and recommendation. The ordinance would amend the existing zoning code regarding medical marijuana. It would prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries, medical marijuana collectives and outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana. It would also place regulations on indoor cultivation. Some of those restrictions would include limiting the space to grow plants to 32 square feet and allowing three pounds of processed pot to be stored. Read more.
Visalia city code 8.64.040 disallows cultivation in Single Family Residential Zones (R-1 Zones) or the Agricultural Zone (A Zone). Cultivation must occur "within a fully enclosed and adequately secured building". The total area dedicated to cultivation is limited to a total of 100 square feet per parcel, and any person cultivating between 10 and 100 square feet of medical marijuana "shall request and obtain a code compliance inspection no less than every three months consistent with this subsection. (Ord. 2011-10 § 6, 2011; Ord. 2005-19 § 2 (part), 2005)
Thursday, March 13 in Weed, the planning commission will suggest that the city council set hearings toward a cultivation ordinance. See Agenda.
For residential zones: indoor only, 50 square feet and 2000 watts. Up to 100 feet can be grown with approval from physician and city manager.
All interested persons are encouraged to provide written and/or oral questions or comments concerning this agenda item. The City Administrator at P. O. Box 470, Weed, CA 96094 will accept written comments no later than February 13, 2014. If you challenge the project proposal in court, you may be limited to raising only those issues raised at the public hearing or in written correspondence delivered to the City Administrator at, or prior to, the public hearing.
A public hearing will be held on January 15, 2014 on an outdoor cultivation ban in West Sacramento. Read more.
A temporary moratorium on outdoor cultivation is in effect.
Woodlake City Council voted on July 9, 2012 to adopt an ordinance allowing individuals to grow up to four plants without registering with City Hall in a locked and fully enclosed structure. Outdoor cultivation is prohibited. Any more than four at a single location would require the patient or caregiver to pay fees for a code compliance inspection every three months. Those individuals are also required to display proof of the inspection at all times and be prepared to provide proof of inspection upon request. An individual with a code compliance inspection is allowed to cultivate up to six mature plants or 12 immature plants.
The ordinance limits the maximum number of marijuana plants per collective or cooperative to 24 on property zoned residential and 48 plants on property zoned light industrial if they have enough eligible members to justify that number; no sales or payment of employees is allowed under the ordinance. Cultivation is not allowed in multi-family residential or commercial zones.
An ordinance taking effect May 17, 2012 prohibits outdoor cultivation of medicinal marijuana within a residential zone or 600-feet of a school. Indoor gardens are limited to 50 square feet. Read more.
Yuba county allows different amounts of marijuana plants on different sized parcels, according to its ordinance, which took effect January 2013.
City of Yuba
Yuba City council has enacted a temporary medical marijuana ordinance that allows for personal cultivation within 75 square feet in residental areas, only in a detached structure that has been registered with the city, and not within 750 feet of a school, etc. Read the ordinance.
Yuba will hear a new ordinance on 5/7/2013. They want to add registration requirements, plus security fences and carbon infiltration systems.
State Guidelines Under SB 420 (Health & Safety Code 11362.7)
H&SC 11362.77(a). A qualified patient or primary caregiver may possess no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana per qualified patient. In addition, a qualified patient or primary caregiver may also maintain no more than six mature or 12 immature marijuana plants per qualified patient.
H &SC 11362.77 (b) If a qualified patient or primary caregiver has a doctor's recommendation that this quantity does not meet the qualified patient's medical needs, the qualified patient or primary caregiver may possess an amount of marijuana consistent with the patient's needs.
H&SC 11362.77 (d) Only the dried mature processed flowers of female cannabis plant or the plant conversion shall be considered when determining allowable quantities of marijuana under this section.
State law, SB 420 (Health & Safety Code 11362.7), which took effect on Jan. 1, 2004, protects Prop. 215 patients from arrest provided they cultivate no more than 6 mature or 12 immature plants and possess no more than 8 ounces of dried marijuana (H&SC
Counties and cities are authorized to establish higher (but not lower) limits if they wish (H&SC 11362.77(c)). Listed above are those localities that have adopted limits above the state limit.
Patients who need more marijuana can be exempted from these limits if they obtain a physician's statement specifying that they need more (H&SC
11362.77(b)). While police are often reluctant to recognize such exemptions, they are helpful in court.
Despite supposed protections of SB 420 and Prop 215, patients may still be arrested if law enforcement suspects they are outside the law, for example, by being involved in illegal sales or distribution, or growing plants with excessive yields.
In general, the state Attorney General has given local authorities discretion in how they enforce Prop. 215, as explained in a letter to local law enforcement officials.