El Dorado County cannabis laws

 

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

El Dorado County is developing new cannabis laws!

On June 11, 2013, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors passed a “Resolution of Intention to Amend the El Dorado County Code” as it pertains to medical cannabis cultivation and dispensaries. Local Prop. 215 patients may wish to monitor the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors agendas to ensure they have a voice in developing reasonable cannabis laws governing dispensaries and cultivation.

Medical cannabis dispensaries

Medical cannabis dispensaries and collectives in El Dorado County are currently governed by interim Ordinance 4987, which is set to expire Oct. 30, 2013. The county is developing new regulations for collectives and dispensaries, with public hearings and passage expected before the interim ordinance expires. A permanent ban on medical cannabis dispensaries in El Dorado County is likely to be proposed.

The relevant portions of El Dorado County Ordinance 4987 are as follows:

Section 2. Imposition of Moratorium on Medical Marijuana Distribution Facilities
A. In accordance with the authority granted the County of El Dorado under Government Code section 65858, from and after the date of this ordinance, the establishment and operation of any new medical marijuana distribution facility shall be prohibited, and no use permit, variance, building permit, or any other applicable entitlement for use, including but not limited to the issuance of a business license, shall be approved or issued for the establishment or operation of a medical marijuana distribution facility for a period of one year.

B. For purposes of this ordinance, “medical marijuana distribution facility” includes any medical marijuana dispensary, collective, or cooperative, in any facility or location, whether fixed or mobile, and whether or not the facility is operated for profit, where (a) medical marijuana, in any form, is made available, sold, transferred, given, or otherwise provided to three (3) or more qualified patients, primary caregivers, or patients with an identification card, as defined in California Health and Safety Code section 11362.5 et seq.

C. For purposes of this ordinance, a “medical marijuana distribution facility” shall not include dispensing by primary caregivers to qualified parties in the following locations, so long as the location is otherwise permitted by the El Dorado County Zoning Ordinance and applicable state laws:

  1. a clinic licensed pursuant to Chapter 1 of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code;
  2. a health care facility licensed pursuant to Chapter 2 of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code;
  3. 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;
  4. a residential care facility for the elderly licensed pursuant to Chapter 3.2 of Division 2 ofthe Health and Safety Code;
  5. a residential hospice licensed pursuant to Chapter 8 of Division 2 of the California Health and Safety Code; or
  6. 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.

D. A medical marijuana distribution facility as defined in Section B above shall not be established, operated or maintained at any location in any zone district in the unincorporated areas of the County, even if the medical marijuana distribution facility is located within, or operated with one or more additional otherwise permitted use(s), including but not limited to: a health food store, bakery, tobacco shop, other retail store, health education facility, health spa, fitness facility, wellness center, or a health facility other than a licensed facility identified in Section C above.

E. This ordinance is an interim ordinance adopted as an urgency measure pursuant to the authority granted the County of El Dorado under Government Code section 65858 and is for the immediate preservation of the public safety, health and welfare. The facts constituting the urgency are: California jurisdictions which have permitted the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries have recognized that doing so has resulted in the creation of negative secondary effects such as an increase in crime, including burglary, robbery and the sale of illegal drugs, in the areas immediately surrounding medical marijuana dispensaries. The County of El Dorado currently prohibits dispensaries in all zone districts in the County. Operators have, nonetheless, opened numerous dispensaries, resulting in secondary effects and many complaints to law enforcement. Absent the adoption of this urgency ordinance, the establishment and operation of additional medical marijuana dispensaries in the County would result in increases to the harmful secondary effects identified above. As a result of the harmful secondary effects associated with medical marijuana facilities and the current and immediate threat such secondary effects pose to the public health, safety and welfare, it is necessary to, in accordance with Government Code section 65858, temporarily establish a one year moratorium on the establishment and operation of any new medical marijuana facilities in the County pending the completion of the amendments to the County’s Zoning Ordinance.

Section 5. Penalties
A. Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation or other entity whether as principal agent, employee or otherwise, who owns the property upon which a medical marijuana facility is located or owns or operates a medical marijuana facility, or otherwise violates any of the provisions of this ordinance can be charged with a misdemeanor or infraction at the discretion of the district attorney.

B. If charged as a misdemeanor, the violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding six months or by both such fine and imprisonment; if charged as an infraction, it shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) for the first violation, Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) for a second violation within one year and Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) for each additional violation within one year.

C. Such person, firm, partnership, association, corporation or other entity may be charged with a separate offense for each and every day, or portion of a day, that a violation exists.

D. Primary responsibility for enforcement of this ordinance shall vest with the Sheriff of the County of El Dorado and his sworn officers. All other county officers with authority to enforce the County Code including but not limited to, Development Services Code Enforcement personnel, shall also have the authority to enforce this ordinance.

E. In addition to the foregoing, any violation of this ordinance shall constitute a public nuisance and shall be subject to abatement as provided by all applicable provisions of law.


Medical cannabis cultivation

Medical cannabis cultivation in El Dorado County is currently governed by interim Ordinance 4986, which is set to expire Oct. 30, 2013. The county is developing new cultivation regulations, with public hearings and passage expected before the interim ordinance expires.

The relevant portions of El Dorado County Ordinance 4986 are as follows:

Section 2. Imposition of Moratorium
A. In accordance with the authority granted the County of El Dorado under Section 65858, from and after the date of adoption of this ordinance, all outdoor planting, cultivation and/or harvesting of marijuana plants shall be prohibited in all zone districts in the unincorporated areas of the County except as set forth in Section 2 (B) below.

B. On any legal parcel in any zone district, it shall not violate this ordinance to use an area no greater than 200 square feet for the outdoor planting, cultivation and/or harvesting of medical marijuana if the area of the parcel where the medical marijuana is being planted, cultivated and/or harvested outdoors is enclosed on all sides by either a solid fence or a chain link fence combined with opaque fabric to fully shield any view of the crop from the outside of the fence. The fence around the cultivation area must be a minimum of six feet in height and a maximum of eight feet in height.

C. For purposes of this ordinance, “Cultivation of medical marijuana” means the growing of marijuana for medical purposes as defined in strict accordance with California Health and Safety Code sections 11362.5 and 11362.7, as those sections may be amended from time to time.

D. For purposes of this ordinance, “outdoor planting, cultivation, and/or harvesting of marijuana” shall include any activities that are not conducted within a fully enclosed, permitted building, constructed of solid materials, accessible only through one or more locking doors. The building must be constructed and maintained in such a manner that any marijuana contained inside is not visible from any neighboring property or public right of way.

E. This prohibition on the outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana shall supersede the provisions of the “Right to Farm Ordinance” in Chapter 17.13 of the Zoning Ordinance and any other provision in the County Code that defines or allows cultivation of crops or agricultural products to the extent that those provisions can be read in a manner inconsistent with this prohibition.

Section 5. Penalties
A. Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation or other entity whether as principal agent, employee or otherwise, who owns or leases the property upon which medical marijuana is planted, cultivated and/or harvested outdoors, except as provided in Section 2(8), or owns the medical marijuana that is planted, cultivated and/or harvested outdoors or otherwise violates any of the provisions of this ordinance can be charged with a misdemeanor or infraction at the discretion of the district attorney.

B. If charged as a misdemeanor, the violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding six months or by both such fine and imprisonment; if charged as an infraction, it shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) for the first violation, Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) for a second violation within one year and Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) for each additional violation within one year.

C. Such person, firm, partnership, association, corporation or other entity may be charged with a separate offense for each and every day, or portion of a day, that a violation exists.

D. Primary responsibility for enforcement of this ordinance shall vest with the Sheriff of the County of El Dorado and his sworn officers. All other county officers with authority to enforce the County Code including but not limited to, Development Services Code Enforcement personnel, shall also have the authority to enforce this ordinance.

E. In addition to the foregoing, any violation of this ordinance shall constitute a public nuisance and shall be subject to abatement as provided by all applicable provisions of law.