The following summary of Contra Costa County cannabis laws is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice, consult an attorney.
Cannabis dispensaries in Contra Costa County
The permanent ban on cannabis dispensaries in Costra Costa County was passed in 2008 after passage of 2006 urgency ordinance, followed by two extensions. It gains its purported enforcement power by prohibiting any land use in violation of federal law. This approach is rarely used anymore because of constitutional concerns and appellate court rulings holding that officers of the state may not stand in as surrogates to enforce federal law where no violation of state law has occurred.
The structure of the dispensary ban is twofold. One code section defines medical marijuana dispensaries, while another declares dispensaries a prohibited use.
“Medical marijuana dispensary” means any facility or location, stationary or mobile, where marijuana is made available, sold, transmitted, given, distributed to, or otherwise provided by or to a primary caregiver, qualified patient, or a person with an identification card, in accordance with the State Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5). A “medical marijuana dispensary” does not include the following uses, as long as their location is otherwise regulated by this code or applicable law and as long as their use complies strictly with applicable law including but not limited to Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5: 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 Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code.
The following land uses are prohibited at all locations in all zoning districts in the county:
(a) Any use that violates state or federal law.
(b) Medical marijuana dispensary.
Cannabis cultivation in Contra Costa County
Contra Costa County does not have any explicit 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 cultivation regulations 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, often with little to no input from stakeholders. Local Prop. 215 patients may wish to monitor the Board of Supervisors agendas to ensure they have a voice in developing Contra Costa County’s cannabis cultivation laws.