Calaveras County cannabis laws

The following summary of Calaveras County cannabis laws is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice, consult an attorney.

Medical cannabis dispensaries

Medical cannabis dispensaries are regulated under Chapter 17.91 and related sections of the Calaveras County Municipal Code. The regulations represent the codified portions of Ordinance 2830, which was enacted in 2005.

17.91.010 Purpose and intent.

It is the purpose and intent of this chapter to regulate availability and/or the distribution, by whatever means, of medical cannabis within the unincorporated area of Calaveras County.

17.91.020 Definitions.

The following words and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall be construed as defined in this section, unless it is apparent from the context that they have a different meaning:

“Medical cannabis dispensary” or “dispensary” means any facility or location where medical cannabis is made available to and/or distributed by or to two or more of the following: a primary caregiver, a qualified patient, or a person with an identification card, in strict accordance with Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5 et seq., including but not limited to Health and Safety Code Section 11362(d)(2) and (3). The terms “primary caregiver,” “qualified patient” and “person with an identification card” shall be as defined in Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5 et seq. A “medical cannabis dispensary” shall not include the following uses, as long as the location of such uses are otherwise regulated by this code or applicable law: a clinic licensed pursuant to Chapter 1 of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code, a health care facility licensed pursuant to Chapter 2 of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code, a residential care facility for persons with chronic life-threatening illness licensed pursuant to Chapter 3.01 of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code, a residential care facility for the elderly licensed pursuant to Chapter 3.2 of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code, a residential hospice, or a home health agency licensed pursuant to Chapter 8 of the Health and Safety Code, as long as any such use complies strictly with applicable law including, but not limited to, Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5 et seq.

17.91.030 Enforcement of chapter.

The planning director shall have the responsibility and duty of enforcement of this chapter.

17.91.040 Medical cannabis dispensary use permit.

A. Prior to initiating operations, and as a continuing prerequisite to conducting legally valid operations, any person or entity wishing to operate a medical cannabis dispensary shall apply to the planning department and receive from the county a medical cannabis dispensary administrative use permit on the terms and conditions set forth in this chapter.

B. The applicant for a medical cannabis dispensary permit shall submit to the planning department an application for a medical cannabis dispensary administrative use permit. The application shall be received and processed as any other application for an administrative use permit as set forth in Section 17.04.110 of this code. The county may impose reasonable terms and conditions on the proposed operations, consistent with Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5 et seq. and with public health, safety, and welfare. Such terms and conditions may include, but not be limited to, requirements as to parking, adequate lighting, hours of operation, and adequate security.

C. A medical cannabis dispensary administrative use permit shall be valid for one year. An operator of a medical cannabis dispensary may re-apply for a permit for subsequent year(s).

D. The planning director, in consultation with the sheriff of Calaveras County, shall conduct a background check of any applicant for a dispensary permit administrative use permit or employee thereof and, based on that and other relevant information, determine whether to issue a medical cannabis dispensary administrative use permit.

E. A medical cannabis dispensary shall be located only in the CP professional office zoning district.

17.91.050 Operating restrictions.

A medical cannabis dispensary, once permitted by the county, shall meet the following operating standards for the duration of the use:

A. A medical cannabis dispensary may possess no more than eight ounces of dried cannabis per qualified patient or caregiver, and maintain no more than six mature and twelve immature cannabis plants per qualified patient. However, 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 dispensary may possess an amount of cannabis consistent with the patient’s needs.

B. No cannabis shall be smoked, ingested or otherwise consumed on the premises of the dispensary. The term “premises” includes the actual building, as well as any accessory structures, parking areas, or other immediate surroundings.

C. Persons under the age of eighteen shall not be allowed on the dispensary’s premises unless they are a qualified patient or a primary caregiver.

D. No dispensary shall hold or maintain a license from the State Department of Alcohol Beverage Control to sell alcoholic beverages, or operate a business that sells alcoholic beverages.

E. No dispensary shall conduct or engage in the commercial sale of any product, good or service. The term “commercial sale” does not include the provision of medical cannabis on terms and conditions consistent with this code and applicable law.

F. Subject to HIPAA regulations, each dispensary shall allow the county to have access to the dispensary’s books, records, accounts, and any and all data relevant to its permitted activities for the purpose of conducting an audit or examination. Books, records, accounts, and any and all relevant data will be produced no later than twenty-four hours after receipt of the county’s written request(s).

G. The dispensary shall provide adequate security on the premises, including lighting and alarms, to ensure the safety of persons and to protect the premises from theft, as approved by the sheriff.

H. The dispensary shall meet any specific, additional operating procedures and measures as may be imposed as conditions of approval by the county to ensure that the operations of the dispensary are consistent with protection of the health, safety and welfare of the community, qualified patients and primary caregivers, and will not adversely affect surrounding uses.

I. The building in which the dispensary is located shall comply with all applicable local, state and federal rules, regulations, and laws including, but not limited to, building codes and the Americans with Disabilities Act, as certified by the county building official.

J. A dispensary shall not cultivate or distribute medical cannabis for profit. A dispensary may receive compensation for its actual expenses, including reasonable compensation for services provided, or for payment of out-of-pocket expenses incurred in providing those services. However, any such dispensary must pay applicable sales tax on such sales or services and maintain the applicable seller’s permit or similar permit from the State Franchise Tax Board or other applicable agency.

K. Option. No more than six mature and twelve immature cannabis plants per qualified patient may be cultivated on the premises. If such plants are maintained on the site they shall be located in an indoor secured site, acceptable to the county sheriff that is neither visible to nor accessible by the public.

L. A dispensary that provides cannabis in the form of food or other comestibles that requires a permit from the county environmental health department shall obtain and maintain the appropriate permits from the county environmental health department for the provision of food or other comestibles.

M. A dispensary shall provide to the planning director, upon request, written evidence to the planning director’s reasonable satisfaction, that the dispensary is not engaged in interstate commerce, as it relates to medical cannabis.

N. Signage for the dispensary is allowed consistent with the requirements of the CP professional office zoning district, with the exception that there shall be no direct reference to cannabis in any form, including illustration, on the sign.

17.91.060 Minimum requirements for issuing medical cannabis dispensary use permits.

A. Purpose. The purpose of this section is to establish requirements and standards for the location and operation of medical cannabis dispensaries.

B. Mandatory Locational Standard. A medical cannabis dispensary may be located only in CP professional offices zoning district, after approval of an administrative use permit and:

  1. Not within one thousand feet of another medical cannabis dispensary, an elementary school, middle school, high school, public library, or public park; or
  2. Not within one thousand feet of a youth-oriented establishment characterized by either or both of the following: (a) the establishment advertises in a manner that identifies the establishment as catering to or providing services primarily intended for minors; or (b) the individuals who regularly patronize, congregate or assemble at the establishment are predominantly minors.

The uses and zones set forth in this subsection shall be collectively known as “sensitive uses.” The distance between a medical cannabis dispensary and a “sensitive use” shall be measured in a straight line, without regard to the intervening structures or objects, from the closest property line of the parcel in which the medical cannabis dispensary is located to the boundary of the property on which the building or structure, or portion of the building or structure, in which the “sensitive use” occurs or is located.

C. Accessory Use. A medical cannabis dispensary is not and may not be approved as an accessory use to any other use permitted by this code.

17.91.070 Fees.

The county may impose such reasonable fees on both the application for, and the issuance of a permit for, a dispensary to recoup the county’s cost in administering and implementing the provisions relating thereto, including but not limited to the costs for background checks or charges by either the sheriff or the planning department.

17.91.080 Violations.

Violations of the terms and conditions of the dispensary’s permit, of this code, or of applicable local, state, and federal rules, regulations, and laws shall be unlawful, and shall also be grounds for revocation of the permit or for nonrenewal. The penalty for any violation of this chapter shall be a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of five hundred dollars and/or six months imprisonment.


Medical cannabis cultivation

Calaveras County does not have any current regulations regarding personal cultivation of medical cannabis. Because this is a rapidly evolving area of law, many California cities and counties are expected to pass cannabis cultivation laws in the coming months and years. General information about state cannabis laws can be found in the Cal NORML guide for patients.

When local regulations do arrive, they tend to do so quickly. Local Prop. 215 patients may wish to monitor the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors agendas to ensure they have a voice in developing reasonable cannabis cultivation laws in their county.