Lake County cannabis laws

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

Lake County and its residents have taken the paths less traveled when it comes to cannabis laws, with local governments pushing for new dispensary regulations — and local growers pushing right back. In October 2011, the Lake County Board of Supervisors rescinded Ordinance No. 2956, which authorized up to five medical marijuana dispensaries in the county. The hard cap on dispensaries and other restrictions prompted medical cannabis advocates to file a referendum that blocked the county ordinance, and they placed their own proposed cannabis law on the June 2012 Lake County ballot. Measure D was soundly defeated, however, leading to something of a standoff on the issue of medical cannabis dispensaries.

Cannabis cultivation in Lake County

While dispensary regulations remained in limbo after the defeat of Measure D, Lake County supervisors passed a moratorium barring “commercial cultivation” of cannabis in July 2012 and extended it in August. Lake County Ordinance No. 2978 prohibits large-scale cannabis cultivation, with hard caps on plant numbers set by zoning and parcel size. As urgency legislation passed pursuant to Government Code Sec. 65858, the ordinance expires in June 2014 unless the board sets permanent regulations for commercial cannabis cultivation in place sooner.

In February, Lake County supervisors passed another cannabis cultivation ordinance, an unusual step given that the moratorium ordinance is still in place. Ordinance No. 2984 prohibits outdoor cultivation of cannabis at mobile home parks and apartments, as well as processing cannabis in greater amounts than otherwise authorized under the moratorium. Exceptions are provided where park management authorizes a “designated garden area” for medical cannabis cultivation and/or for owners of mobile homes on lots larger than 4,500 square feet. Although the outdoor growing ban was not passed as an urgency ordinance, supervisors adopted a finding that the ordinance was exempt from environmental review. It takes effect March 21, 2013.