Medical Marijuana Laws in Popular Counties of California
The rush is on for the 1st of January 2018. On this date, all marijuana rules have to be in place. If they are not, then those who fall short will be liable as they would be in violation of State and Federal law. Last November, the residents of California voted yes to recreational marijuana, and it will be freely available on January 1st, 2018. At this time vendors will have licenses or at the very least be able to apply for them. California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana back in 1996, over 2 decades ago. It has now become the Eight State to legalize recreational marijuana.
California has a total of 58 counties and 482 incorporated cities across the state. The implementation of medical marijuana laws in California has been left to local counties. Many counties report that they are way behind schedule and that they will not be able to comply with recreational marijuana rules by January 2018.
The following is a list of the current status of medical marijuana distribution in some counties in California:
Santa Barbara – Cultivation, manufacturing and retail are banned.
Los Angeles – Cultivation, manufacturing and retail are banned.
Monterey – Cultivation, manufacturing and retail approved.
Sant Cruz – Cultivation, manufacturing and retail approved.
El Dorado – Cultivation approved, manufacturing and retail banned.
Lassen – Cultivation approved, manufacturing and retail banned.
Trinity – Cultivation approved, manufacturing and retail banned.
Siskiyou – Cultivation approved, manufacturing banned, retail approved.
Ventura – Cultivation, manufacturing and retail are banned.
San Diego – Cultivation approved, manufacturing and retail are banned.
Imperial – Cultivation approved, manufacturing and retail banned
The definition of approved and banned vary county by county. All the rules and regulations are to be determined at county level and it is up to the local authorities to set out exact terms and conditions. The medical marijuana decision only allowed local counties the ability to decide for themselves whether they wanted cannabis or not. And with the legalization of recreational marijuana the regulation of medical marijuana is going to matter less and less. No matter what the regulations say, in California up to 6 plants are allowed to be grown per household and consumed by those over the age of 21.
Medical Marijuana Changes
Marijuana laws frequently change in these states. Nevada county has always been a popular location for cannabis cultivation, but in 2012 the county passed restrictive regulations to the detriment of many medical cannabis growers. And in 2016, all outdoor cannabis cultivation was banned, though this has since been repealed, with less restrictive rules. Because of Nevada’s favorable growing conditions, the yield per plant is ideal in the region. Nevada county has a long tradition of changing rules and requirements for cannabis production. In May 2012, Ordinance No. 2349 created regulations for the growth of medical cannabis, and on November of the same year voters rejected Measure S, which was designed to make regulations less restrictive. In January 2016, all outdoor cultivation was banned and indoor cultivation was limited to 12 plants. On July 26, 2016, the ban on outdoor cultivation was repealed under Ordinance No. 2416. This is still in place though the rules are quite restrictive and residents are less than satisfied. However, with the passage of Proposition 64 on November 2016 residents can cultivate up to 6 plants in their own home.
In terms of marijuana permits some counties are further along than others. In July, Sonoma county permit office allowed applicants to apply for permits for medical marijuana businesses. Sonoma is not currently taking permits for recreational marijuana stating that:
“Regulation of nonmedical cannabis uses may be considered in a future phase of policy development if directed by the Board of Supervisors”
In other counties, there is no such progression. Fresno County and the City of Fresno are pushing to ban commercial marijuana, with a metropolitan area of over 900,000 people. The City of Fresno may well be the biggest city in California to ban marijuana. Outdoor cultivation of marijuana plants is subject to a $1000 penalty in Fresno county. San Diego country is also prohibiting the sale of marijuana, and the City of San Diego will likewise deny marijuana to residents. The City of Fresno has a long history of fighting marijuana related lawsuits. By contrast, the agricultural county of Tulare has a more open stance towards medical and recreational marijuana, but Tulare is waiting to see how other counties fare with the instigation of their policies.
Good and Bad News
The good news is that under Federal law, local governments can only ban outdoor cultivation. Individuals are allowed to grow 6 plants inside their own residential home in a safe and secure area.
However, the definition of safe and secure is subject to county rules and regulations. Counties such as Tehama and Sutter in Northern California are demanding that the structure be fully permitted and registered as a cultivation site before a resident is allowed grow the marijuana for personal consumption. This could cause many difficulties and problems as it may mean that in these counties you need a completely separate structure built to satisfy whatever requirements the local county officials can come up with. This will mean a lot of cost and hassle.
The 6-plant rule also applies to medical marijuana residents. It does not matter how many medical marijuana residents are living in the same residency. Tehama has banned all commercial activities they have made it as difficult as possible for people to cultivate cannabis for both recreational and medical use.