Monterey County

Regulations for Cannabis Related Commercial Activity

County Description

Monterey County is a county located on the Pacific coast of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 415,057. The county seat and largest city is Salinas. Monterey County comprises the Salinas, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. It borders the Monterey Bay. The northern half of the bay is in Santa Cruz County. Monterey County is a member of the regional governmental agency, Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments.

The coastline, including Big Sur, State Route 1, and the 17 Mile Drive on the Monterey Peninsula, has made the county world famous. The city of Monterey was the capital of California under Spanish and Mexican rule. The economy is primarily based upon tourism in the coastal regions and agriculture in the Salinas River valley. Most of the county’s people live near the northern coast and Salinas Valley, while the southern coast and inland mountain regions are almost devoid of human habitation.

Political Statistics

County Board of Supervisors

State Senate

CA State Senate (District 12 and District 17)
Senator Anthony Cannella -REP and Senator Bill Monning -DEM

State Assembly

CA State Assembly (District 29 and District 30)
Assembly Member Mark Stone -DEM and Assembly Member Anna Caballero -DEM

US Congress

U.S. Congress – House of Representatives- (20th District)

Jimmy Panetta-DEM

US Senators

U.S. Senators –State of California
Kamala Harris and Diane Feinstein

City-Level Cannabis Laws

CULTIVATION

APPROVED

A permit is required for all medical cannabis activities in Monterey County. The County is currently accepting applications for permits.  The permitting process can take several months.

Commercial cannabis cultivation and nurseries will only be permitted within existing greenhouses or industrial buildings that were legally established prior to January 1, 2016 and within the following zoning districts:

Inland: Farmland (F), Agricultural Industrial (AI), Heavy Industrial (HI), and Light Industrial (LI) zoning districts. Cultivation in the Light Industrial zoning district is limited to type 1A, 1B, 2A, and 2B state licenses types.

Coastal: Coastal regulations are still pending California Coastal Commission certification. After certification by the Coastal Commission, the ordinances must be adopted by the Board of Supervisors. Until adopted regulations become effective, the Interim Ordinance prohibiting cannabis businesses in Monterey County remains in effect.

Outdoor commercial cannabis cultivation is not permitted at this time. To check the zoning on a property please visit: http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/government/departments-i-z/resource-managementagency/gis

  • Commercial cultivation operations, along with other commercial activities, are addressed in Ordinance No. 5272, which adds chapter 7.90 to the Monterey County Code. A commercial medical cannabis cultivation permit must be obtained annually for the fixed location where the cultivation will occur. Land use regulations for commercial cannabis activities in coastal and inland areas were adopted at the July 12, 2016 hearing of the Board, and are set forth in amended Title 20 and 21 of the Monterey County Code.
  • Ordinance No. 5273, which adds Chapter 7.95 to the Monterey County Code, relates to personal medical cannabis cultivation. Personal cultivation of medical marijuana for qualified patients or caregivers, meaning cultivation for personal consumption and not for sale or distribution, would not require a State license and the gardens could be as large as 100 square feet of canopy size. The ordinance, does however, require an annual personal medical cannabis permit issued by the county.

MANUFACTURING

APPROVED

Commercial medical cannabis manufacturing is addressed in two categories: volatile and nonvolatile.

Volatile manufacturing is not currently defined, but will generally include oil extraction methods that make use of flammable substances or pressurized systems that pose a threat of explosion, fire, or chemical leaks. Volatile manufacturing will only be permitted in the Heavy Industrial (HI) zoning districts.

Nonvolatile manufacturing can be permitted in the following zoning districts: – Farmland (F) zones when combined with cultivation permits; – Heavy Commercial (HC); – Agricultural Industrial (AI); – Light Industrial (LI); and – Heavy Industrial (HI) zoning districts.

Permits are only being accepted for Inland zoning districts at this time (not Coastal).

  • Ordinance No. 5272, which adds chapter 7.90 to the Monterey County Code, requires commercial medical cannabis operations to obtain an annual permit to conduct commercial medical cannabis activities, including cultivation, dispensaries, manufacturing, testing, transportation,  and distribution.

RETAIL

APPROVED

Medical cannabis dispensaries may be permitted in Light Commercial (LC) or Heavy Commercial (HC) zoning districts. Delivery services must originate from permitted dispensaries only. Restrictions apply to dispensary locations including a 1000 foot setback from another dispensary and a 600 foot setback from schools, parks, or drug recovery facilities.

For more details on restrictions and regulations please read the ordinances adopted by the Board of Supervisors: https://www.municode.com/library/ca/monterey_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?n odeId=TIT21ZO

Permits are only being accepted for Inland zoning districts at this time (not Coastal)

Medical cannabis transporters and/or distributors may be permitted in the Heavy Commercial (HC), Light Industrial (LI), Heavy Industrial (HI), and Agricultural Industrial (AI) zoning districts only. Restrictions apply to the location and types of operations. For more details on restrictions and regulations please read the ordinances adopted by the Board of Supervisors: https://www.municode.com/library/ca/monterey_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?n odeId=TIT21ZO Permits are only being accepted for Inland zoning districts at this time (not Coastal).

Medical cannabis testing facilities may be permitted in the Heavy Commercial (HC), Light Industrial (LI), Heavy Industrial (HI), and Agricultural Industrial (AI) zoning districts only. Restrictions apply to the location and types of operations. For more details on restrictions and regulations please read the ordinances adopted by the Board of Supervisors: https://www.municode.com/library/ca/monterey_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?n odeId=TIT21ZO Permits are only being accepted for Inland zoning districts at this time (not Coastal).

  • Ordinance No. 5272, which adds chapter 7.90 to the Monterey County Code, requires commercial medical cannabis operations to obtain an annual permit to conduct commercial medical cannabis activities, including cultivation, dispensaries, manufacturing, testing, transportation,  and distribution.

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COUNTY-SPECIFIC NEWS AND UPDATES