Local Medical Marijuana Cultivation & Possession Guidelines in California
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on Cal NORML's site should be substituted for bone fide legal advice. See a list of attorneys.
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 state law; Cal NORML recommends adhering to 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
On May 15, 2015, facing both a Cal NORML-supported lawsuit and a voter referendum, Clearlake city council voted 5-0 to repeal their medical marijuana cultivation ban. On June 12, the city voted in a new ordinance allowing 6-48 outdoor plants, depending on the size of the parcel.
The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board has issued an order for cannabis cultivation and similar activities along with Best Management Practices.
The Central Valley Water Board is also working on a pilot program, aiming to finalize on October 1. They are holding hearings across the state and will start taking formal comments on September 7. Read more.
Localities NOT listed below adhere to state law; Cal NORML recommends following SB 420's state default guidelines, which are: 6 mature OR 12 immature plants per patient in places without a local ordinance.
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.
Banning city code 8.48.330 says:
"Any real or personal property utilized in the manufacture, cultivation, sales, or storage of any drug which is illegal under any state or federal law, including marijuana, is declared a nuisance."
Since medical marijuana is illegal under federal law, it is not permitted to grow it there.
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."
Butte County citizens have filed a lawsuit seeking to block Butte's ordinance. Read more.
The county filed a demur to the original complaint, and it was granted by Judge Stephen Benson on May 14, effectively dismissing the case. The matter will be appealed to the Third District Court of Appeals.
Meanwhile, Butte county officials are out with their "Stay in the Box" campaign.
On November 4, 2014 Butte County voters passed Measure A and rejected Measure B. Measure A's more restrictive cultivation ordinance will go into effect on January 8. Read more.
On December 9, 2014, the Butte BOS voted to approve $450,000 to enforce the new rules, educate the public about them, and make it easier to make complaints. The "Stay in the Box" campaign will educate about the ridiculous rule to keep plants inside a contiguous space, rather than using the scientific plant canopy to determine yield. Cal NORML objects to this requirement, and notes that during the campaign the "box" was not an issue, but rather it was drummed out repeatedly that while Measure B would not allow further changes by the Supervisors, Measure A would. Getting rid of "the box" should be their first change. Read the ordinance. Read CalNORML's letter to the supervisors about "the box."
The allocation isn't final until the board takes a second vote. People can contact their supervisors and the sheriff at 530-538-6000.
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors held a study session on April 14, 2015 on the question of regulating medical marijuana gardens. The study session is just the first of a number of public meetings at which officials expect to discuss the issue before adopting a zoning ordinance that will regulate the gardens. Read more. The board decided not to take any action, pending further regulation by the state. Read more. Cal NORML recommends in places without local ordinances that patients stick to the state guidelines of 6 mature or 12 immature plants.
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).
On June 12, 2015, Clearlake city council gave final approval to a new cultivation ordinance, to take effect in 30 days. It allows for 6-48 outdoor plants, depending on the size of the parcel. Read more.
Cloverdale municipal code makes outdoor cannabis cultivation a nuisance, "enforced by any applicable laws or ordinances, including, but not limited to, Chapter 8.02" meaning an infraction with a fine of up to $500.
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.
In February 2014, Fremont banned outdoor cultivation, meaning anything not grown in a fully enclosed and secure structure. Indoor cultivation is banned if visible from the street, etc. No criminal charges are to be made, but fines of up to $1000 are possible. See section 19.190.095 of Fremont city code.
On April 2, 2015 Fresno city council voted on an ordinance to allow limited four-plant indoor grows, keeping in place the heavy fines they imposed last year. Read more. Faced with opposition from Prop. 215 patients, the Fresno City Council voted down the ordinance at its April 9 meeting. 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.
In January 2015, the Galt planning commission banned all medical marijuana cultivation, indoors and out. Read more.
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.
On April 7, 2015 Hesperia city council discussed an ordinance that would prohibit the commercial cultivation of marijuana within certain areas of the city, specifically within nonresidential land-use designations or zones.
In October 2014, Humboldt County Board of Supervisors passed an nuisance ordinance for parcels under 5 acres. The land use ordinance limits qualified growers with Proposition 215 recommendations to 100 square feet of cannabis canopy on land parcels an acre in size or less and up to 200 square feet of cannabis canopy on property over an acre to 5 acres in size. Read more.
A group called California Cannabis Voice Humboldt is proposing an ordinance for parcels over 5 acres.
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 residents are currently permitted 3 pounds.
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.
On May 13, 2015, city officials will consider placing a 45-day moratorium on the commercial and industrial cultivation, processing and distribution of medical marijuana, according to a staff report. 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
On April 22, 2015 Lassen County adopted an urgency ordinance (Title 19 of municipal code) allowing no more than 12 plants on parcels one acre or smaller, only 6 of them outdoors. Plant numbers scale up from there to parcels 41 acres or larger, where no more than 72 plants can be grown. Setbacks from other properties and schools, etc. are included. Civil penalties of $1000 per day may be levied for violations after notice is served.
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 adopted an ordinance prohibiting the outdoor cultivation of marijuana, and limited indoor cultivation to the residence or garage of qualified patients or caregivers. 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.
On December 16, 2014, Modesto's Planning Commission, voted 7-0 for city officials to revise a proposed medical marijuana cultivation ordinance ordinance and bring it back to them for further review. They were concerned that the proposed ordinance would inadvertently harm those who legitimately grow and use medical marijuana. Read more.
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.
Pittsburg defines a "dispensary" as three or more patients growing together, and outlaws them.
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.
Cal NORML recommends staying within the 6-plant guideline for personal gardens, not relying on bogus 99-plant notes to cover collective gardens, which need regulation at state level.
October 2014 - Porterville City Council passed 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. Also see: Pot permits picking up pace
In January 2015, Rancho Cordova supervisors voted unanimously to pass an ordinance continuing their outdoor ban and also banning indoor cultivation in "a residence where persons under eighteen (18) years of age reside, whether full or part-time." 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.
Redding City Council will meet on Tuesday June 2, 2015 at 6 PM to consider limiting marijuana gardens to six plants. Read more.
Redding City Council passed new rules for cannabis cultivation in the city limits on April 7, 2015, agreeing to 1000-foot buffers from schools and other "sensitive" areas, and to a six-plant maximum. Councilmembers Cadd and Weaver wanted a ban, but didn't have the votes. The city imposed rules immediately under an "urgency" provision. Read more. and see the ordinance and staff reports.
On January 20, 2015, Redding city council voted not to enact an outdoor cultivation ban, and instead let their existing ordinance remain in effect.
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.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors passed a medical marijuana cultivation ordinance at its May 19, 2015 meeting, allowing 12 plants per patient, indoors or out, if not visible with setbacks from schools. Read more and background.
To get involved in Riverside area advocacy, Email MAPP.
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.
San Joaquin County
At its April 7, 2015 meeting, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the introduction of an ordinance banning all cultivation of medical marijuana in unincorporated areas of San Joaquin county. The ordinance, proposed by San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore, was finalized on April 14. Fines of $500/day for violations, and a misdemeanor charge, are set for violators.
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 went to the Human Relations Committee as well as the San Luis Obispo City Planning Commission. Read more.
In March 2015, the SLO city council approved an ordinance that bans offensive smells. The city’s administrative citation fines are $100 for each violation. The fines increase to $200 and $500 for the second and third violations, respectively, of the same code violation within 12 months of the original violation. 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."
This means the earlier ordinance allowing 100 sq.ft. canopy and up to 99 plants is allowable under county guidelines for a patient or a bone fide caregiver.
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.
Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on March 10, 2015 adopt a medical marijuana cultivation ordinance. After a second reading and vote, the ordinance went into effect on May 7.
Under the rules, 6 mature OR 12 immature plants can be grown on parcels less than one acre; 12 mature or 16 immature plants can be grown on parcels between one and 20 acres; and for parcels 20 acres and larger, 24 mature or 36 immature plants are permitted. The ordinance includes setbacks for plants and generators, a decibel limit for generators, and a screening requirement for plants. Properties used for cultivation must be occupied by a Siskiyou County resident, with a legally established residence on the property that’s connected to a county-approved wastewater disposal system and a legally established water source. Read more.
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.
UPDATE 7/15: Sutter County's Tough Pot Law Still Under Review
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.
An urgency ordinance to ban outdoor marijuana gardens in Tehama County was adopted by the county's Board of Supervisors on a 4-1 vote on March 3, 2015. The one variance to the all-out ban was decided by a 4-1 board consensus those who have already planted an outdoor marijuana garden this year and are in full compliance, to grow no more than 12 plants outdoors this year, effective April 1. Read more.
Tehama residents can apply for a permit to grow 12 plants outdoors if they do so by April 1, 2015 at the Environmental Health Dept. You need an appointment to apply but can call for more information at: (530) 527-8020.
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 March 13, 2015 - District Three Supervisor Phil Cox said Tulare County will not be seeking a total ban and will concentrate on enforcing the ordinance. Since several law suits are in the system now against cities and counties that have banned marijuana grows, county staff suggested not trying to implement a complete ban when it could result in the county being sued. Read more
This means that Chapter 11 of existing Tulare County code is in effect. It 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.
Twenty Nine Palms defines a dispensary as one that cultivates for others and prohibits them.
So it's legal under state to grow a personal garden, but not grow for a collective. Cal NORML recommends staying within the state 6-plant limit for personal gardens.
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.
The Planning Commission of the City of Winters held a study session on medical marijuana cultivation on May 26, 2015. Read more.
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.
7/15 - Supervisors put pot ordinance on back burner
UPDATE 7/15 - Yuba County Pot Measure Nears Circulation for Signatures
Despite hours of public comment against the measure, Yuba County supervisors voted unanimously on February 24, 2015 to approve an ordinance banning outdoor growing and allowing only 12 plants grown in a specially constructed "accessory structure." At the ordinance's second reading on March 10, the supervisors decided to make the measure an "urgency" ordinance, meaning it takes effect immediately and cannot be challenged by a referendum. Read more.
Yuba county citizens have filed a lawsuit blocking implementation of the new Yuba county ordinance, on grounds that making it an "urgency" ordinance subverted the democratic referendum process. Read more. A judge denied the request and the matter was appealed to the state Supreme Court, but was denied a ruling. A court date was pushed back until the end of June, and a TRO is being filed for.
Meanwhile, in answer to a Brown Act challenge alleging the vote hadn't been properly noticed, the BOS passed the measure a second time. The Yuba County website says the ordinance took effect on April 28.
For more contact Yuba County Growers Association.
Yuba City (Sutter County)
Yuba City council has enacted a medical marijuana ordinance that allows for personal cultivation within 75 square feet in residential 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 enacted a new ordinance on 5/7/2013. They added registration requirements, plus security fences and carbon filtration systems. The ordinance is codified under Sec. 8-5.5405 et seq. of the Zoning Code (Chapter 5.) Find the code.
State Guidelines Under SB 420 (Health & Safety Code 11362.7)
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. On January 21, 2010, the California Supreme Court in essence affirmed the ruling. The legal standard is now that a patient an amount that is reasonably related to their medical use. When possible, California NORML strongly advises Prop 215 patients to continue following the SB 420 guidelines in places where local governments have not passed cultivation ordinances.
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.