Sonoma County

Regulations for Cannabis Related Commercial Activity

County Description

Sonoma County is a county in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 United States Census, its population was 483,878. Its county seat and largest city is Santa Rosa. Sonoma County comprises the Santa Rosa, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area. It is the northwestern county in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area region.

After the passage of Measure A, the Sonoma County Cannabis Business Tax on March 7, 2017, businesses engaged in the cultivation or manufacturing of cannabis/cannabis products within the unincorporated areas of Sonoma County are required to pay taxes. These tax rates are based on several factors including license type and business segment. The Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector will provide information relating to how the tax will be applied and how parties interested in operating a cannabis business can pay their taxes. Information covered will include: tax rates, tax forms and due dates, FAQs, and the ability to schedule an appointment with the Tax Collector’s office to pay taxes.

Political Statistics

County Board of Supervisors

State Senate

CA State Senate (District 2 and District 3)
Senator Mike McGuire -DEM and Senator Bill Dodd -DEM

State Assembly

CA State Assembly (District 2, District 4 and District 10)
Assembly Member Jim Wood – DEM, Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and Assembly Member Marc Levine

US Congress

U.S. Congress – House of Representatives- (2nd District and 5th District)
Jared Huffman -DEM and  Mike Thompson -DEM

US Senators

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

City-specific Cannabis Laws

CULTIVATION

APPROVED

Cannabis Cultivation Zoning Permit Application

Cannabis Permitting (except for dispensaries which can be applied for now) will begin July 1, 2017. More information will be posted soon.

The Sonoma County Department of Agriculture / Weights & Measures will be issuing Zoning Permits for Outdoor Cannabis Cultivation in Agriculturally zoned areas (Land Intensive Agriculture, Land Extensive Agriculture, and Diverse Agriculture) of the unincorporated county. The department will be issuing:

  • Outdoor cottage permits in the Land Intensive Agriculture (LIA) zone
  • Outdoor cultivation permits of 10,000 sq. ft. or less in the Land Extensive Agriculture (LEA) and Diverse Agriculture (DA) zones.
  • All other outdoor cultivation permits require a use permit and must be obtained through the Permit and Resource Management Department (Permit Sonoma).

The Cannabis Land Use Ordinance (No. 6189) adopted Dec 20, 2016 includes the following language which provides a period of time for existing cannabis cooperatives and collectives (cultivation only) to apply for permits to legalize their operation or cease the use. Transition Period. This ordinance hereby supersedes Resolution 06-0846. Existing cannabis cultivation cooperatives or collectives that demonstrate to the review authority that they were in operation before January 1, 2016 shall have until January 1, 2018 to come into compliance with this ordinance, provided that there has been no increase in the size of the cultivation area and the operations are in compliance with the best management practices and the operating standards.

Sec. 26-88-250. – Commercial cannabis uses—Medical.
(a) Purpose. This section provides the development and operating standards for personal and commercial medical cannabis uses to ensure neighborhood compatibility, minimize potential environmental impacts, provide safe access to medicine and provide opportunities for economic development.
(b) Applicability. Medical cannabis uses shall be permitted only in compliance with the requirements of Sections 26-88-250 through 26-88-256 and all other applicable requirements for the specific type of use and those of the underlying base zone.

(c) Limitations on Use. Medical cannabis uses shall only be allowed in compliance with the following sections and all applicable codes set forth in the county code, including but not limited to, grading, building, plumbing, septic, electrical, fire, hazardous materials, and public health and safety. The operator shall comply with all laws and regulations applicable to the type of use and shall comply with all permit, license, approval, inspection, reporting and operational requirements of other local, state or other agencies having jurisdiction over the type of operation. The operator shall provide copies of other agency and department permits, licenses, or certificates to the review authority to serve as verification for such compliance. Permits for medical cannabis uses shall only be issued where written permission from the property owner or landlord is provided. Tasting, promotional activities and events related to cannabis uses are prohibited. Commercial cannabis uses for non-medical cannabis for adult use is prohibited.

(d) Permit Requirements. Medical cannabis uses shall be subject to the land use permit requirements as shown in Table 1A-D Allowed Medical Cannabis Uses and Permit Requirements. No other type of cannabis uses are permitted except as specified in Table 1A-D. The county may refuse to issue any discretionary or ministerial permit, license, variance or other entitlement, which is sought pursuant to this chapter, including zoning clearance for a building permit, where the property upon which the use or structure is proposed is in violation of the county code. Medical cannabis uses shall also be subject to permit requirements and regulations established by the Sonoma County Department of Health Services.

(e) Term of Permit. Permits for medical cannabis uses shall be issued to the operator for a period not to exceed one (1) year from the date of permit approval and shall be subject to annual permit renewals. The operator must apply for permit renewal prior to the expiration of the limited term permit. No property interest, vested right, or entitlement to receive a future permit to operate a medical cannabis use shall ever inure to the benefit of such permit holder as such permits are revocable.

(f) Health and Safety. Medical cannabis uses shall not create a public nuisance or adversely affect the health or safety of the nearby residents or businesses by creating dust, light, glare, heat, noise, noxious gasses, odor, smoke, traffic, vibration, unsafe conditions or other impacts, or be hazardous due to the use or storage of materials, processes, products, runoff or wastes.

(g) Taxes. Medical cannabis uses shall comply with any additional taxes that may be enacted by the voters or any additional regulations that may be promulgated.

(h) Operator Qualifications. Commercial medical cannabis operators must meet the following qualifications:

1. Commercial medical cannabis operators and all employees must be twenty-one (21) years of age.

2. Commercial medical cannabis operators shall be subject to background search by the California Department of Justice. Permits for commercial medical cannabis operations shall not be permitted for operators with felony convictions, as specified in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 of the Penal Code and subdivision (c) of Section 1192.7 of the Penal Code.

3. Applicants providing false or misleading information in the permitting process will result in rejection of the application and/or nullification or revocation of any issued permit.

4. Priority processing of permits for medical cannabis operations shall be given to:

a. Applications that demonstrate that the person operating the cannabis use or owner(s) of the cannabis use has been an existing cannabis operator in Sonoma County prior to January 1, 2016, or

b. Applications that demonstrate that the person operating the cannabis use or owner(s) of the cannabis use have been a resident of Sonoma County prior to January 1, 2016, and

c. Applications that provide a local preference hiring plan.

(i) Weights and Measures. All scales used for commercial transactions shall be registered for commercial use and sealed by the Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures.

(j) Tracking. Commercial medical cannabis operators shall comply with any track and trace program established by the county and state agencies. Commercial medical cannabis operators must maintain records tracking all medical cannabis production and products and shall make all records related to commercial medical cannabis activity available to the county upon request.

(k) Inspections. Commercial medical cannabis operations shall be subject to inspections by appropriate local and state agencies, including but not limited to the Departments of Health Services, Agriculture/Weights & Measures, and Permit and Resource Management. Medical cannabis operations shall be inspected at random times for conformance with the county code and permit requirements. The inspection shall be conducted during regular business hours, with at least 24-hours’ notice. If interference in the performance of the duty of the agency having jurisdiction occurs, the agency may temporarily suspend the permit and order the medical cannabis operation to immediately cease operations.

(l) Monitoring. Monitoring shall be required for each medical cannabis operation to be granted a permit. An annual fee may be adopted by the board of supervisors and collected by the agency having jurisdiction or the county tax collector to pay for monitoring and enforcement.

Table 1A: Allowed Cannabis Uses and Permit Requirements for Agricultural and Resource Zones

Sec. 26-88-252. – Enforcement.
(a) Violations.

(1) Any activity performed contrary to the provisions of Sections 26-88-250 through 26-88-258 is hereby declared to be a violation of this chapter and a public nuisance.

(2) Any violation of a term, condition, or the approved plans and specifications of any permit issued pursuant to Sections 26-88-250 through 26-88-258 shall constitute a violation of this chapter.

(3) Each and every day during any portion of which any violation of Sections 26-88-250 through 26-88-258 or any permit issued pursuant to this chapter is committed, continued, or allowed to continue shall be a separate offense.

(b) Enforcement. Complaints regarding cannabis operations will be addressed by the agency having jurisdiction which may conduct an investigation to determine whether there was a violation of the county code, a zoning standard, or a use permit condition. sheriff reports, online searches, citations, aerial photos or neighbor documentation may constitute proof of a violation.

If the agency having jurisdiction verifies that a medical cannabis use is operating in violation of the county code, is otherwise unpermitted, or that a violation of any permit condition has occurred, a notice of violation pursuant to Section 1-7.3of the county code or an administrative citation pursuant to this section may be issued. At the discretion of the agency having jurisdiction or upon appeal, the zoning permit or use permit may be scheduled for a revocation or appeal hearing with the board of zoning adjustments pursuant to Chapter 26 or a revocation or appeal hearing pursuant to Chapter 11. If the permit is revoked, a zoning or use permit for a cannabis operation may not be reapplied for or issued for a period of at least two (2) years.

Additionally, where the agency having jurisdiction has evidence that a violation of Sections 26-88-250 through 26-88-258poses a significant health or safety hazard to the owners or occupants of adjoining properties or to the surrounding community, or for other good cause shown, the agency having jurisdiction may, in its discretion, commence a judicial action to enjoin such violation without the necessity of first going through the administrative procedures set forth in Section 1-7.3 of the county code.

(c) Investigative and Prosecutorial Discretion. The agency having jurisdiction shall have discretion to investigate or prosecute any potential violation.

(d) Suspension, Revocation or Modification. Any permit, license or approval issued pursuant to this chapter may be suspended, revoked, or modified by the agency having jurisdiction, if the agency determines any of the following:

(1) Circumstances under which the permit was granted have changed and the public health, safety, and welfare require the suspension, revocation, or modification;

(2) The permit was granted, in whole or in part, on the basis of a misrepresentation or omission of a material statement in the permit application; or

(3) One (1) or more of the conditions of the original permit have not been substantially fulfilled or have been violated.

(e) Appeals. Permits issued by the Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures shall be subject to review and appeal procedures pursuant to Chapter 11. Permits issued by PRMD shall be subject to review and appeal procedures pursuant to Chapter 26 or Chapter 1 as determined by director. The revocation of any permit issued pursuant to this Chapter shall have the effect of terminating the permit and denying the privileges granted by the permit.

Administrative Remedies. This section is not intended to, and does not, establish any criminal liability. This section provides administrative remedies for any violation of this section related to all cannabis uses. A violation of this section shall be subject to all civil enforcement and abatement methods, including the administrative procedure set forth in Section 1-7.3of the county code. The remedies provided for in this section shall be cumulative and not exclusive.

(1) Administrative Citations. In addition to all other legal remedies, criminal or civil, which may be pursued by the county to address any violation of the county code, this subsection provides for administrative citations, in the following amounts, adopted pursuant to the authority conferred by the Government Code, including Section 53069.4. Violations of any provision of the county code, permit, license or approvals are subject to administrative citation. Each act, omission, or condition may be cited as a separate violation and each violation that continues, exists, or occurs on more than one (1) day may constitute a separate violation on each day, at the discretion of the agency having jurisdiction.

Cannabis Administrative Citation Schedule

(2) Civil Penalties. In addition to any and all other costs, fees, penalties and expenses which may be assessed or imposed as a result of violation of this chapter, any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be liable and responsible for, and shall pay to the county the following penalties, as determined by the agency having jurisdiction.

(i) For each unpermitted cannabis use, no more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) for the first violation; no more than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000.00) for the second violation within two (2) years; and no more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00) for the third violation within three (3) years.

(ii) No more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) per day for the first violation; no more than two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) per day for a second violation within two (2) years; and no more than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) per day for each additional violation within two (2) years for each day that the violation exists after the date of mailing or hand delivery of a notice of violation or a notice and order through to its abatement by whatever means; or

(iii) No more than twenty dollars ($20.00) per square foot of cultivation or cannabis use area for the first offense; no more than thirty dollars ($30.00) per square foot of the cultivation or cannabis use area for the second offense; and no more than fifty dollars ($50.00) per square foot of the cultivation or cannabis use area for the third offense.

(iv) In the event that the use or structure in violation may be permitted with an appropriate permit up to a maximum of fifty (50) times the amount of the standard fee for every required approval, review and permit.

(v) The penalty shall be imposed via the administrative process set forth in this section, as provided in Government Code section 53069.4, or may be imposed by the court, if the violation requires court enforcement without an administrative process. Acts, omissions, or conditions in violation of this section that continue, exist, or occur on more than one (1) day constitute separate violations on each day.

(3) Three Strikes Penalty. Upon receipt of any combination of three (3) administrative citations, verified violations, or hearing officer determinations of violation of any of the permit requirements or standards issued to the owner or operator at any property or combination of properties of the same owner or operator within a two-year period, the permit for a cannabis operation is hereby automatically nullified, voided or revoked, subject to prior notice and to appeal. Appeals shall be filed within ten (10) days of the notice of revocation. Upon revocation, an application to reestablish a cannabis operation at the subject property shall not be accepted for a minimum period of two (2) years.

(4) Liens. Whenever the amount of any civil penalty imposed pursuant to this section has not been satisfied in full within ninety (90) days and has not been timely appealed to the Superior Court in accordance with Government Code section 53069.4, subdivision (b), or if appealed, such appeal has been dismissed or denied, this obligation may be enforced as a lien against the real property on which the violation occurred.

(i) The lien provided herein shall have no force and effect until recorded with the county Recorder. Once recorded, the administrative order shall have the force and effect and priority of a judgment lien governed by the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure Section 697.340, and may be extended as provided in Code of Civil Procedure Sections 683.110 to 683.220, inclusive.

(ii) Interest shall accrue on the principal amount of the lien remaining unsatisfied pursuant to the law applicable to civil money judgments.

(iii) Prior to recording any such lien, the agency having jurisdiction shall prepare and file with the clerk of the board of supervisors a report stating the amounts due and owing.

(iv) The clerk of the board of supervisors will fix a time, date, and place for the board of supervisors to consider the report and any protests or objections to it. The clerk of the board of supervisors shall serve the owner of the property with a hearing notice not less than ten (10) days before the hearing date. The notice must set forth the amount of the delinquent administrative penalty that is due. Notice must be delivered by first class mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the owner at the address shown on the last equalized assessment roll or as otherwise known. Service by mail is effective on the date of mailing and failure of owner to actually receive notice does not affect its validity.

(v) Any person whose real property is subject to a lien pursuant to this section may file a written protest with the clerk of the board of supervisors and/or may protest orally at the board of supervisors meeting. Each written protest or objection must contain a description of the property in which the protesting party is interested and the grounds of such protest or objection.

(vi) At the conclusion of the hearing, the board of supervisors will adopt a resolution confirming, discharging, or modifying the lien amount.

(vii) Within thirty days following the board of supervisors’ adoption of a resolution imposing a lien, the agency having jurisdiction will file same as a judgment lien in the Sonoma County Recorder’s Office.

(viii) Once the county receives full payment for outstanding principal, penalties, and costs, the clerk of the board of supervisors will either record a notice of satisfaction or provide the owner with a notice of satisfaction for recordation at the Sonoma County Recorder’s Office. This notice of satisfaction will cancel the county’s lien under this section.

(ix) The lien may be foreclosed and the real property sold, by the filing of a complaint for foreclosure in a court of competent jurisdiction, and the issuance of a judgment to foreclose. There shall be no right to trial by jury. The county shall be entitled to its attorney’s fees and costs.

(5) Removal of Violation. The penalties imposed by this section may not apply if the agency having jurisdiction establishes that within five (5) days after the date of mailing or hand delivery of notice of the existence of the violation, the person removed from the property the cannabis, the cannabis equipment, the use, or structure which constituted that violation.

(6) Liability for Costs and Fees. In any enforcement action brought pursuant to this section, whether by administrative or judicial proceedings, each person who causes, permits, suffers, or maintains the unlawful cannabis use shall be liable for all costs incurred by the county, including, but not limited to, administrative costs, and any and all costs incurred to undertake, or to cause or compel any responsible person to undertake, any abatement action in compliance with the requirements of this section. In any action by the agency having jurisdiction to abate unlawful cannabis uses under this section, whether by administrative or judicial proceedings, the prevailing party shall be entitled to a recovery of the reasonable attorney’s fees incurred. Recovery of attorneys’ fees under this subdivision shall be limited to those actions or proceedings in which the county elects, at the initiation of that action or proceeding, to seek recovery of its own attorney’s fees. In no action, administrative proceeding, or special proceeding shall an award of attorneys’ fees to a prevailing party exceed the amount of reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the county in the action or proceeding.

Sec. 26-88-254. – Cannabis cultivation—Commercial medical.

(a) Purpose. This section establishes development criteria and operating standards for commercial medical cannabis cultivation activities as allowed by the base zone in compliance with Section 26-88-250, Commercial Medical Cannabis Uses.

(b) Applicability. This section shall apply to all commercial medical cannabis cultivation activities, including but not limited to, outdoor, indoor and mixed light or greenhouse environments and associated drying, curing, grading, and trimming facilities. Medical cannabis cultivation does not include operations that manufacture cannabis products such as oils, tinctures, or edibles which are classified separately. Commercial medical cannabis cultivation operations shall comply with the following development criteria and operating standards in addition to the requirements of Section 26-88-250, Commercial Medical Cannabis Uses.

(c) Permit Requirements. Commercial medical cannabis cultivation shall be subject to the land use permit requirements as shown in Table 1A-D Allowed Cannabis Uses and Permit Requirements. Zoning permits for outdoor cultivation areas shall be issued by the Agricultural Commissioner. Zoning permits and use permits for all other cultivation activities shall be issued by PRMD. New structures, roads, and fences or conversion of existing structures or containers to cannabis cultivation shall be subject to design review.

(d) Limitations on Use. All cultivation shall be conducted and maintained in compliance with this section and the Best Management Practices for Cannabis Cultivation issued by the Agricultural Commissioner. The Agricultural Commissioner shall determine the applicable best management practices and shall enforce the provisions of this section for outdoor cultivation areas and management of pesticides and fertilizers for all cultivation types. All structures used in cultivation shall be subject to permits issued by the Permit and Resource Management Department and other agencies having jurisdiction and shall be conducted and maintained in compliance with this chapter.

(e) Multiple Permits. Multiple cultivation permits may be issued to a single person or entity as defined herein, provided that the total combined cultivation area within the county does not exceed one (1) acre. Any natural person who owns or controls any interest, directly or indirectly, in a firm, partnership, joint venture, association, cooperative, collective, corporation, limited liability company, estate, trust, business trust, receiver, syndicate, or any other group or combination acting as a unit, shall be collectively considered a single person for the purposes of this standard.

(f) Development Criteria.

(1) Number of Facilities. No more than one (1) cultivation use/operator may be approved per contiguous parcel ownership, except in the agricultural, and industrial zones. In the agricultural and industrial zones, multiple zoning permits may be issued for multi-tenant operations on a single parcel provided that the minimum parcel size is met for the total combined cultivation area and the total combined cultivation area does not exceed the maximum area allowed for the type of cultivation in compliance with Table 1A-D Allowed Cannabis Uses and Permit Requirements (i.e. Outdoor maximum is forty-three thousand five hundred sixty (43,560) square feet; Indoor/Mixed Light maximum is twenty-two thousand (22,000) square feet).

(2) Square Footage Limitations. The total combined square footage of the cultivation area shall not exceed the maximum size thresholds as defined in Table 1A-D Allowable Cannabis Uses and Permit Requirements which provides the maximum size per parcel. Structures and areas where cannabis is processed, dried, aged, stored, trimmed, packaged or weighed and areas were equipment is stored and washed shall be limited to the on-site cultivation use only. No cannabis nursery shall exceed one (1) acre in size for outdoor or twenty-two thousand (22,000) square feet for indoor.

(3) Property Setbacks- Outdoor. Outdoor cultivation areas and all associated structures shall not be located in the front yard setback area and shall be screened from public view. Outdoor cultivation areas shall not be visible from a public right of way. Outdoor cultivation areas shall be setback a minimum of one hundred feet (100′) from property lines and a minimum of three hundred feet (300′) from occupied residences and businesses on surrounding properties. Outdoor cultivation sites and greenhouses/mixed light structures shall be setback a minimum of one thousand feet (1,000′) from a school providing education to K-12 grades, a public park, childcare center, or an alcohol or drug treatment facility. The distance shall be measured in a straight line from the property line of the protected site to the closest property line of the parcel with the cannabis cultivation use.

(4) Property Setbacks- Indoor. All structures used for indoor cultivation and all structures used for drying, curing, grading or trimming and all indoor cultivation structures shall comply with the setbacks for the base zone and any applicable combining zone. Structures associated with the cultivation shall not be located in the front yard setback area and shall be screened from public view. There shall be no exterior evidence of cultivation either within or outside the structure.

(5) Property Setbacks- Mixed Light/Greenhouse. Mixed light structures shall be setback a minimum of one hundred feet (100′) from property lines and a minimum of three hundred feet (300′) from occupied residences and businesses on surrounding properties in agricultural and resource zones. Mixed Light/greenhouses in industrial zones shall be setback three hundred feet (300′) from occupied residences on surrounding properties. Greenhouses/mixed light structures in all zones shall be setback a minimum of one thousand feet (1,000′) from a school providing education to K-12 grades, a public park, childcare center, or an alcohol or drug treatment facility. The distance shall be measured in a straight line from the property line of the protected site to the closest property line of the parcel with the cannabis cultivation use.

(6) Airport Compatibility. All cannabis operations shall comply with the Comprehensive Airport Land Use Plan.

(7) Building Requirements. All structures used in commercial cultivation, including greenhouses require a building permit and shall comply with all applicable sections of the county code. Cultivation uses that provide access to the public including, but not limited to, employees, vendors, contractors, business partners, members, customers or patients shall meet county code requirements for accessibility including accessible parking, accessible path of travel, restrooms, and washing facilities.

(8) Biotic Resources. Proposed cultivation operations, including all associated structures, shall require a biotic assessment at the time of application that demonstrates that the project is not located within, and will not impact sensitive or special status species habitat, unless a use permit is obtained. Any proposed cultivation operation, including all associated structures, located within adopted federal critical habitat areas must have either all appropriate permits from the applicable state and federal agencies with jurisdiction over the listed species, or a biotic assessment concluding that the project will not result in “take” of a protected wildlife species within the meaning of either the federal or California Endangered Species Acts.

There shall be no tree removal or timber conversions to accommodate cultivation sites, unless a use permit is obtained. Outdoor cultivation areas and related processing structures shall be located outside the Riparian Corridor Stream Conservation Areas (RC combining zone) and outside any designated Biotic Habitat area (BH combining zone). Outdoor cultivation areas shall conform to the agricultural Riparian Corridor setback set forth in Section 26-65-040.

Proposed cultivation operations shall comply with the wetland setbacks set forth in Section 11-16-150, unless a use permit is obtained.

(9) Cultural and Historic Resources. Cultivation sites shall avoid impacts to significant cultural and historic resources by complying with the following standards. Sites located within a Historic District shall be subject to review by the Landmarks Commission, unless otherwise exempt, consistent with Section 26-68-020. Cultivation operations involving ground disturbing activities, including but not limited to, new structures, roads, water storage, trenching for utilities, water, wastewater, or drainage systems shall be subject to design review and referral to the Northwest Information Center and local tribes for consultation. A cultural resource survey and on-site monitor during ground disturbing activities may be required to demonstrate cultural and historic resources are protected.

The following minimum standards shall apply to cultivation permits involving ground disturbance. All grading and building permits shall include the following notes on the plans:

If paleontological resources or prehistoric, historic-period or tribal cultural resources are encountered during ground-disturbing work at the project location, all work in the immediate vicinity shall be halted and the operator must immediately notify the agency having jurisdiction of the find. The operator shall be responsible for the cost to have a qualified paleontologist, archaeologist and tribal cultural resource specialist under contract to evaluate the find and make recommendations in a report to the agency having jurisdiction.

Paleontological resources include fossils of animals, plants or other organisms. Historic-period resources include backfilled privies, wells, and refuse pits; concrete, stone, or wood structural elements or foundations; and concentrations of metal, glass, and ceramic refuse. Prehistoric and tribal cultural resources include obsidian and chert flaked-stone tools (e.g., projectile points, knives, choppers), midden (culturally darkened soil containing heat-affected rock, artifacts, animal bone, or shellfish remains), stone milling equipment, such as mortars and pestles, and certain sites features, places, cultural landscapes, sacred places and objects with cultural value to a California Native American tribe.

If human remains are encountered, work in the immediate vicinity will stop and the operator shall notify the agency having jurisdiction and the Sonoma County Coroner immediately. At the same time, the operator shall be responsible for the cost to have a qualified archaeologist under contract to evaluate the discovery. If the human remains are determined to be of Native American origin, the Coroner must notify the Native American Heritage Commission within twenty-four (24) hours of this identification.

(10) Farmland Protection. Where a commercial cultivation site is located within an Agricultural Zone (LIA, LEA, DA), the primary use of the parcel shall remain in agricultural use pursuant to General Plan Policy AR-4a. Indoor and mixed light cultivation facilities shall not remove agricultural production within Important Farmlands, including Prime, Unique and Farmlands of Statewide Importance as designated by the state Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program, but may offset by relocating agricultural production on a 1:1 ratio.

If the facility is located on a site under a Land Conservation Act (Williamson Act) contract, the use must be listed as a compatible use in the Sonoma County Uniform Rules for Agricultural Preserves and Farmland Security Zones, and allowed by the type of contract and approved Land Conservation Plan. An application for modification of the contract and Land Conservation Plan may be required.

(11) Fire Code Requirements. The operator shall prepare and implement a Fire Prevention Plan for construction and ongoing operations and obtain an Operational Permit from the Fire and Emergency Services Department. The Fire Prevention Plan shall include, but not be limited to: emergency vehicle access and turn-around at the facility site(s), vegetation management and fire break maintenance around all structures.

(12) Grading and Access. Cultivation sites shall be prohibited on natural slopes steeper than fifteen percent (15%), as defined by county code Chapter 11 Section 16-020, unless a use permit is obtained. Grading shall be subject to a grading permit in compliance with Chapter 11 of the county code.

(13) Hazardous Materials Sites. No cannabis operation shall be sited on a parcel listed as a hazardous materials site compiled pursuant to Government Code Section 65962.5, unless a use permit is required.

(14) Lighting. All lighting shall be fully shielded, downward casting and not spill over onto structures, other properties or the night sky. All indoor and mixed light operations shall be fully contained so that little to no light escapes. Light shall not escape at a level that is visible from neighboring properties between sunset and sunrise.

(15) Runoff and Stormwater Control. Runoff containing sediment or other waste or by-products shall not be allowed to drain to the storm drain system, waterways, or adjacent lands. Prior to beginning grading or construction, the operator shall prepare and implement a storm water management plan and an erosion and sediment control plan, approved by the agency having jurisdiction. The plan must include best management practices for erosion control during and after construction and permanent drainage and erosion control measures pursuant to Chapter 11 of the county code. All cultivation operators shall comply with the best management practices for Cannabis Cultivation issued by the Agricultural Commissioner for management of wastes, water, erosion control and management of fertilizers and pesticides.

(16) Security and Fencing. A Site Security Plan shall be required subject to review and approval by the Permit and Resource Management Department. All Site Security Plans shall be held in a confidential file, exempt from disclosure as a public record pursuant to Government Code Section 6255(a). Security cameras shall be motion-sensor and be installed with capability to record activity beneath the canopy but shall not be visible from surrounding parcels and shall not be pointed at or recording activity on surrounding parcels. Surveillance video shall be kept for a minimum of thirty (30) days. Video must use standard industry format to support criminal investigations. Motion-sensor lighting and alarms shall be installed to insure the safety of persons and to protect the premises from theft. All outdoor and mixed light cultivation sites shall be screened by native, fire resistant vegetation and fenced with locking gates consistent with height limitations of Section 26-88-030. Fencing shall be consistent with the surrounding area and shall not diminish the visual quality of the site or surrounding area. Razor wire and similar fencing is discouraged and shall not be permitted. Weapons and firearms at the cultivation site are prohibited. Security measures shall be designed to ensure emergency access in compliance with fire safe standards. All structures used for cultivation shall have locking doors to prevent free access.

(g) Operating Standards.

(1) Compliance Inspections. All cultivation sites shall be subject to on-site compliance inspections by agencies having jurisdiction. The inspection shall be conducted during regular business hours, with at least 24-hours’ notice.

(2) Air Quality and Odor. All indoor, greenhouse and mixed light cultivation operations and any drying, aging, trimming and packing facilities shall be equipped with odor control filtration and ventilation system(s) to control odors humidity, and mold. All cultivation sites shall utilize dust control measures on access roads and all ground disturbing activities.

(3) Energy Use. Electrical power for indoor cultivation and mixed light operations including but not limited to illumination, heating, cooling, and ventilation, shall be provided by any combination of the following: (i) on-grid power with one hundred percent (100%) renewable source; (ii) on-site zero net energy renewable source; or (iii) purchase of carbon offsets of any portion of power not from renewable sources. The use of generators for indoor and mixed light cultivation is prohibited, except for portable temporary use in emergencies only.

(4) Hazardous Materials. All cultivation operations that utilize hazardous materials shall comply with applicable hazardous waste generator, underground storage tank, above ground storage tanks and AB 185 (hazardous materials handling) requirements and maintain any applicable permits for these programs from the Fire Prevention Division, Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) of Sonoma County Fire and Emergency Services Department or Agricultural Commissioner.

(5) Hours or Operation. Outdoor harvesting activities and indoor or mixed light cultivation activities may be conducted seven (7) days a week, twenty-four (24) hours per day as needed. Deliveries and shipping, and outdoor processing activities including drying and trimming, shall be limited to the hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., unless a use permit is obtained.

(6) Noise Limits. Cultivation operations shall not exceed the General Plan Noise Standards Table NE-2, measured in accordance with the Sonoma County Noise Guidelines.

(7) Occupational Safety. Cultivators shall comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations governing California Agricultural Employers, which may include: federal and state wage and hour laws, CAL/OSHA, OSHA and the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act.

(8) Waste Management. A Waste Management Plan addressing the storing, handling and disposing of all waste by-products of the cultivation and processing activities in compliance with the Best Management Practices issued by the Agricultural Commissioner shall be submitted for review and approval by the agency having jurisdiction. This plan shall characterize the volumes and types of waste generated, and the operational measures that are proposed to manage and dispose, or reuse the wastes in compliance with best management practices and county standards.

All garbage and refuse on this site shall be accumulated or stored in non-absorbent, water-tight, vector resistant, durable, easily cleanable, galvanized metal or heavy plastic containers with tight fitting lids. No refuse container shall be filled beyond the capacity to completely close the lid. All garbage and refuse on this site shall not be accumulated or stored for more than seven (7) calendar days, and shall be properly disposed of before the end of the seventh day in a manner prescribed by the Solid Waste Local Enforcement Agency. All waste, including but not limited to refuse, garbage, green waste and recyclables, must be disposed of in accordance with local and state codes, laws and regulations. All waste generated from cannabis operations must be properly stored and secured to prevent access from the public.

(9) Waste Water Discharge. A waste water management plan shall be submitted identifying the amount of waste water, excess irrigation and domestic wastewater anticipated, as well as disposal. All cultivation operations shall comply with the Best Management Practices issued by the Agricultural Commissioner and shall submit verification of compliance with the Waste Discharge Requirements of the applicable Regional Water Quality Control Board, or waiver thereof. Excess irrigation water or effluent from cultivation activities shall be directed to a sanitary sewer, septic, irrigation, greywater or bio-retention treatment systems. If discharging to a septic system, a system capacity evaluation by a qualified sanitary engineer shall be included in the management plan. All domestic waste for employees shall be disposed of in a permanent sanitary sewer or on-site septic system demonstrated to have adequate capacity.

(10) Water Supply. An on-site water supply source adequate to meet all on site uses on a sustainable basis shall be provided. Trucked water shall not be allowed, except as noted below and for emergencies requiring immediate action as determined by the director. The onsite water supply shall be considered adequate with documentation of any one (1) of the following sources:

a. Municipal Water: The public water supplier providing water service to the site has adequate supplies to serve the proposed use.

b. Recycled Water: The use of recycled process wastewater from an onsite use or connection to a municipal recycled water supply for the cultivation use, provided that an adequate on-site water supply is available for employees and other uses.

c. Surface Water: An existing legal water right and, if applicable, a Streambed Alteration Agreement issued by California Fish and Wildlife.

d. Well Water:

1. The site is located in Groundwater Availability Zone 1, 2 or 3 and not within an area for which a Groundwater Management Plan has been adopted or within a high or medium priority basin as defined by the State Department of Water Resources; or

2. Within Groundwater Availability Zone 4 or area for which a Groundwater Management Plan has been adopted or designated high or medium priority basin, the proposed use would:

a. The proposed use would not result in a net increase in water use on site through implementation of water conservation measures, rainwater catchment or recycled water reuse system, water recharge project, or participation in a local groundwater management project; or

b. Trucked recycled water may be considered for the cultivation area with a use permit, provided that adequate on-site water supplies are available for employees and other uses: or

c. A qualified professional prepares a hydro-geologic report acceptable to the review authority providing supporting data and analysis and certifying that the onsite groundwater supply is adequate to meet the proposed uses and cumulative projected land uses in the area on a sustained basis, and that the operation will not:

i. result in or exacerbate an overdraft condition in basin or aquifer;

ii. result in reduction of critical flow in nearby streams; or

iii. result in well interference at offsite wells.

(11) Groundwater Monitoring: Water wells used for cultivation shall be equipped with a meter and sounding tube or other water level sounding device and marked with a measuring reference point. Water meters shall be calibrated at least once every five (5) years. Static water level and total quantity of water pumped shall be recorded quarterly and reported annually. Static water level is the depth from ground level to the well water level when the pump is not operating after being turned off. Static water level shall be measured by turning the pump off at the end of the working day and recording the water level at the beginning of the following day before turning the pump back on. Groundwater monitoring reports shall be submitted annually to the Permit and Resource Management Department, Project Review Division by January 31 of each year. The annual report shall show a cumulative hydrograph of static water levels and the total quarterly quantities of water pumped from well(s) used in processing.

(12) Groundwater Monitoring Easement: Prior to the issuance of any permit an Easement is required to be recorded for this project to provide Sonoma County personnel access to any on-site water well serving this project and any required monitoring well to collect water meter readings and groundwater level measurements. Access shall be granted Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. All easement language is subject to review and approval by PRMD Project Review staff and County Counsel prior to recordation.

(Ord. No. 6189 , § II(D)(Exh. A-2), 12-20-2016)

The following Best Management Practices (BMPs) are from the Sonoma County government website and are designed for in-ground cultivation, but shall be applied to container grown cannabis as applicable. The BMPs for water quality shall apply to all cultivators not required to enroll in the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board Waste Discharge program for cannabis.

Outdoor Cultivation

  1. Pesticide and Fertilizer Storage
    1. Pesticide and fertilizer storage facilities shall be located outside of the Riparian Corridor setbacks for structures as listed at sonoma-county.org/PRMD/docs/riparian_corridor/official-zoning-database.pdf(PDF:6.74 MB)
    2. Pesticide and fertilizer storage facilities shall not be located within 100 feet of a wellhead, or within 50 feet of identified wetlands.
    3. Pesticide and fertilizer storage facilities shall be adequate to protect pesticide and fertilizer containers from the weather.
    4. Store all bags and boxes of pesticides and fertilizers off the ground on pallets or shelves.
    5. If the structure does not have an impermeable floor, store all liquid pesticides and fertilizers on shelves capable of containing spills or provide appropriate secondary containment.
    6. Routinely check for leaks and spills.
    7. Have spill cleanup kit onsite to be able to respond to any leaks or spills.
  2. Pesticide Use
    1. Inspect planting stock for pests and diseases prior to planting. Avoid planting stock with pests and disease.
    2. Comply with all pesticide laws and regulations as enforced by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.
    3. For pesticides with the signal word CAUTION that have listed food uses, comply with all pesticide label directions as they pertain to personal protective equipment, application method, and rate, environmental hazards, longest reentry intervals and greenhouse and indoor use directions.
    4. For all other pesticides, use must comply with all label requirements including site and crop restrictions.
    5. Prior to the use of any registered pesticide on cannabis, obtain an Operator Identification Number from the County Agricultural Commissioner.
    6. Submit monthly pesticide use reports to the County Agricultural Commissioner.
  3. Fertilizer Use
    1. Prior to applying fertilizers, evaluate irrigation water, soils, growth media, and plant tissue to optimize plant growth and avoid over fertilization.
    2. Apply fertilizers at label rates.
    3. Do not apply fertilizers in a way that will result in runoff that may contaminate ground or surface water.
  4. Riparian Protection
    1. Observe riparian corridor setbacks for agricultural cultivation as applicable. These shall be maintained as “no touch” areas. The removal of vegetation is prohibited within the setback.
    2. No equipment, vehicles, or other materials shall be stored in the riparian setback.
    3. Composting areas shall not be located in the riparian setback area.
    4. For more information on best management practices for agricultural cultivation within the Riparian Corridor, please go to sonomacounty.ca.gov/Agriculture-Weights-and-Measures/Agriculture-Division/Ordinances/Best-Management-Practices-for-Agricultural-Cultivation/
  5. Water Use and Storage
    1. Irrigation must be conducted in a manner that does not result in runoff from the cultivated area.
    2. Any water tanks or storage facilities must obtain all necessary permits from the Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department (PRMD).
    3. The use of water bladders is prohibited.
    4. If using an irrigation system, inspect for and repair leaks prior to planting each year and continuously during the season.
    5. Irrigation systems shall be equipped with a backflow prevention devices and shutoff valves.
    6. Waste Management
    7. Recycle or properly dispose of all plastic bags, containers, and irrigation materials.
    8. Properly dispose of green waste in a manner that does not discharge pollutants to a watercourse. This may be accomplished by composting, chipping, and/or shredding. The method of green waste disposal must be documented.
    9. Used growth medium (soil and other organic medium) shall be handled to minimize or prevent discharge of soil and residual nutrients and chemicals to watercourses. Proper disposal could include incorporating into garden beds, spreading on a stable surface and re-vegetating, storage in watertight dumpsters, or covering with tarps or plastic sheeting prior to proper disposal. The method of disposal must be documented.
    10. Compost piles are to be located outside of riparian setbacks for agricultural cultivation and in a manner that will not discharge pollutants to a watercourse. If necessary, construct a berm or install fiber roll around compost area to prevent runoff or use straw wattles around perimeter.
    11. Cover compost piles with tarp or impermeable surface prior to fall rains and continuously throughout the rainy season.
  6. Erosion Control/Grading and Drainage
    1. Leave a vegetative barrier along the property boundary and interior watercourses to act as a pollutant filter.
    2. Avoid soil disturbance between November 1 and April 15.
    3. All exposed and disturbed soil must be covered with a minimum of 2 inches of mulch, such as straw, bark, wood chips, etc., by November 15. Alternatively, establish a thick cover crop over disturbed areas.
    4. Erosion control materials shall be available on site at all times in the form of straw or appropriate mulch adequate to cover area of disturbed soil. In the event of a forecast storm event likely to produce runoff, apply mulch to disturbed areas prior to rain event.
    5. Any grading or drainage conducted as part of site preparation shall have the appropriate permits from the Sonoma County PRMD.

Indoor Cultivation 

  1. Pesticide Use
    1. Inspect planting stock for pests and diseases prior to planting. Avoid planting stock with pests and disease.
    2. Comply with all pesticide laws and regulations as enforced by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.
    3. For pesticides with the signal word CAUTION that have listed food uses, comply with all pesticide label directions as they pertain to personal protective equipment, application method and rate, environmental hazards, longest reentry intervals and greenhouse and indoor use directions.
    4. For all other pesticides, use must comply with all label requirements including site and crop restrictions.
    5. Prior to the use of any registered pesticide on cannabis, obtain an Operator Identification Number from the County Agricultural Commissioner.
    6. Submit monthly pesticide use reports to the County Agricultural Commissioner.
  2. Waste Management
    1. Recycle or properly dispose of all plastic bags, containers, and irrigation materials.
    2. Properly dispose of green waste in a manner that does not discharge pollutants to a watercourse. This may be accomplished by composting, chipping, and/or shredding. The method of green waste disposal must be documented.
    3. Used growth medium (soil and other organic medium) shall be handled to minimize or prevent discharge of soil and residual nutrients and chemicals to watercourses. Proper disposal could include incorporating into garden beds, spreading on a stable surface and re-vegetating, storage in watertight dumpsters, or covering with tarps or plastic sheeting prior to proper disposal. The method of disposal must be documented.
    4. Excess irrigation water or effluent from indoor cultivation shall be discharged to an irrigation or bio-retention treatment system, sewer, or septic system that has been properly evaluated and sized.
  3. Water Use
    1. If using an irrigation system, inspect for and repair leaks prior to planting each year and continuously during the growth cycle.
    2. Irrigation systems shall be equipped with a backflow prevention devices and shutoff valves.

MANUFACTURING

APPROVED

A person or business wanting to open and operate a edible medical cannabis product manufacturing site must submit an application for a health permit to Environmental Health & Safety. If you are preparing cannabis-infused products for consumption, you are required to obtain this permit.

Cannabis manufacturing includes the production or packaging of cannabis products, including oils, tinctures, and edible cannabis products. The  ordinance  allows manufacturing with nonvolatile solvents within industrial areas, consistent with where other manufacturing is allowed, subject to a use permit and prohibits manufacturing with volatile solvents, which will be further defined and limited by the State once regulations are developed.

(Ord. No. 6187 , § I(B), 12-13-2016)

Sonoma County Municipal Code: Article VI.

Sec. 14-6-040. – Medical cannabis dispensary and edible cannabis product manufacturing site permits.

(a) No person shall operate in the county, any medical cannabis dispensary or any edible cannabis product manufacturing site or any other enterprise or establishment in which edible cannabis product is manufactured or offered for sale or sold, without a valid permit issued in accordance with this article and a valid permit as required in Sonoma County Code Section 26-88-126(c). Such permits shall be displayed prominently in or upon the place of business for which it is issued.

(b) All applications for medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturing site permits shall be on a form supplied by the department and shall be accompanied by the applicable fee(s), as described in Sections 14-6-050 and 14-6-060. The applicant for medical cannabis dispensary permit or edible cannabis product manufacturing site permit shall set forth, under penalty of perjury, the following on the permit application:

(1) The proposed location of the medical cannabis dispensary or the edible cannabis product manufacturing site.

(2) Approved use permit number as issued by the appropriate planning agency.

(3) The name and residence address of each person applying for the permit and any other person who will be engaged in the management of the medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturing site.

(4) A unique identifying number from at least one (1) government issued form of identification such as a social security card, a state driver’s license or identification card, or a passport for each person applying for the permit and any other person who will be engaged in the management of medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturing site.

(5) Written evidence that each person applying for the permit, and any other person who will be engaged in the management of medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturing site is at least twenty-one (21) years of age.

(6) The Director is hereby authorized to require in the permit application any other information including but not limited to any information necessary to discover the truth of the matters set forth in the application.

(c) A permit to operate shall not be issued by the department until its inspection has determined that the proposed medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturing site and its method of operation meet the specifications and conform to the provisions of Sonoma County Code Chapters 14 and 26, and California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5 et seq.

(d) All permits for medical cannabis dispensaries and edible cannabis product manufacturing sites shall expire on the annual renewal date. Permits are valid only for the person, location, and type of sales or activity approved. Permits shall not be transferable upon change of ownership of the dispensary or manufacturing site.

(e) In recommending the granting or denying of a permit and in granting or denying the same, the Director shall give particular consideration to the capacity, capitalization, complaint history of the applicant and any other factors that in their discretion he or she deems necessary to the peace and order and welfare of the public.

(f) No medical cannabis dispensary permit or edible cannabis product manufacturing site permit shall be issued under this article if the Director finds:

(1) That the applicant has provided materially false documents or testimony; or

(2) That the applicant has not complied fully with the provisions of this article or any county and state codes, laws and regulations; or

(3) That the applicant has not obtained a permit from Sonoma County Planning Resource Management Department and all other approvals as required by the agency having jurisdiction; or

(4) That the operation as proposed by the applicant, if permitted, does not comply with all applicable laws, including, but not limited to, the building, planning, housing, police, fire, and health codes of the county, including the provisions of this article and regulations issued by the Director pursuant to this article; or

(5) That a permit for the operation of a medical cannabis dispensary or medical cannabis manufacturing site permit or a county use permit, which permit(s) had been issued to the applicant or to any other person who will be engaged in the management of the medical cannabis dispensary or medical cannabis manufacturing site permit has been revoked, unless more than two (2) years have passed from the date of the revocation to the date of the application; or

(6) That the county has revoked a permit for the operation of a business in the county which permit had been issued to the applicant or to any other person who will be engaged in the management of the medical cannabis dispensary or medical cannabis manufacturing site permit unless more than two (2) years have passed from the date of the application to the date of the revocation.

(g) The Director shall notify the Sheriff’s Department, Permit and Resource Management Department, Fire and Emergency Services, Agricultural Commissioner’s Office and other appropriate agencies of all approved permit applications.

(h) The final permit shall contain the following language: “Issuance of this permit by the county of Sonoma is not intended to and does not authorize the violation of state or federal law.

Sec. 14-6-050. – Fees.

(a) Prior to submitting the medical cannabis dispensary permit or edible cannabis product manufacturing site permit application, each applicant shall submit an operating and facility plan to the Department, along with a plan check fee as established by the current Board of Supervisors’ fee resolution.

(b) At the time of approval of the facility plan, the applicant shall submit to the Department, the medical cannabis dispensary or edible product manufacturing site application and annual permit fee(s) as established by the current Board of Supervisors’ fee resolution. The fee shall be calculated so as to recover the reasonable regulatory cost of administration and enforcement of this article, including, for example, issuing a medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturing site permit, administering the permit program, dispensary or manufacturing site inspection and compliance checks, documentation of violations, late fees for delinquent permits, and enforcement proceedings, but shall not exceed the cost of the regulatory program authorized by this article and by California law. All fees and interest upon proceeds of fees shall be used exclusively to fund administration and enforcement of this article. Fees are nonrefundable, except as may be required by law.

(c) Each separate location of business shall be deemed a separate enterprise or medical cannabis dispensary or edible product manufacturing site for purposes of this article.

(d) Any permit that has not been reinstated by the annual renewal date will not be valid, due to failure to submit permit fees, and shall be deemed delinquent. Permits that continue to remain delinquent will be subject to late fees at intervals of thirty (30) days and sixty (60) days past the anniversary date. The amount assessed shall be included in the fee schedule approved by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.

(e) Conditions requiring additional inspections due to noncompliance with applicable statutes/regulations will incur additional re-inspection service fees as provided in the fee schedule in effect at the time of noncompliance.

Sec. 14-6-070. – Operational requirements for edible cannabis product manufacturing sites.

(a) Edible cannabis product manufacturing sites shall meet all the operating criteria for the manufacturing of medical cannabis containing edible products as is required pursuant to California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.7 et seq., by this article, by the Director’s Rules and Regulations for the permitting and operation of edible cannabis product manufacturing sites and by all other county department agency guidelines.

(b) No manufactured edible cannabis products shall be produced that contain other addictive substances such as nicotine or caffeine. Minimal amounts of alcohol, in as much as are residual from manufacturing or required solvents for the cannabis containing product, are allowed provided that the alcohol content is ten percent (10%) or less, the amount of alcohol in an individual serving would not create alcohol intoxication with ingestion of a single dose, and the product is clearly labeled with both the alcohol content and a statement that “Warning: this product contains alcohol.”

(c) Manufactured edible cannabis products shall be:

(1) Not designed to be appealing to children or easily confused with commercially sold candy or foods that do not contain cannabis.

(2) Delineated or scored into standardized serving sizes if the cannabis product contains more than one (1) serving and is an edible cannabis product in solid form.

(3) Homogenized to ensure disbursement of cannabinoids throughout the product.

(d) Manufactured edible cannabis products shall be labeled and in an opaque, resealable, child-resistant and tamper-evident package. Labels and packages of medical cannabis products shall meet the following requirements in addition to any state requirements:

(1) Medical cannabis packages and labels shall not be made to be attractive to youth and children.

(2) All medical cannabis product labels shall include the following information, prominently displayed and in a clear and legible font:

i. Manufacture date and source.

ii. The following statements in bold print: Product contains medical cannabis; Keep out of reach of children and animals; for medical use only; the intoxicating effects of this product may be delayed by up to two (2) hours; and this product may impair the ability to drive or operate machinery. Please use extreme caution.

iii. A warning if nuts or other known potential allergens are used.

iv. List of pharmacologically active ingredients, including, but not limited to, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and other cannabinoid content, the THC and other cannabinoid amount in milligrams per serving, servings per package, and the THC and other cannabinoid amount in milligrams for the package total.

v. Identification of the source and date of cultivation and manufacture.

(e) Edible Manufacturing Operations shall not be permitted or operate as a wholesale food manufacturer, retail food facility or cottage food producer.

(f) The edible cannabis product manufacturing site shall meet any specific, additional operating procedures and measures as may be imposed as conditions of approval by the Director in order to insure that the operation of the medical cannabis dispensary is consistent with the protection of the health, safety and welfare of the community, qualified patients and primary caregivers, and will not adversely affect surrounding uses.

 Sec. 14-6-080. – Permit program implementation.

(a) The Director shall adopt policies and create operational procedures, operational standards and marking guides for medical cannabis dispensaries and edible cannabis manufacturing sites related to this article. These shall include, but are not limited to:

(1) A requirement that the operator require employees to wash hands and use sanitary utensils when handling cannabis;

(2) Regulations to reduce the risk to public health of edible cannabis products including requirements parallel to state and local laws regarding preparation, distribution and sale of food and restrictions on manufacturing and sale of edible products that require time-temperature control to keep them safe for human consumption;

(3) Regulations prohibiting the manufacturing, packaging and/or sale of cannabis products that are designed to be especially appealing to children or youth;

(4) Requirements on tracking and reporting of products sold; and

(5) Regulations related to management and disposal of waste products.

(b) The Director shall issue rules and regulations regarding the imposition of administrative penalties on medical cannabis dispensaries or edible cannabis product manufacturing sites.

Sec. 14-6-090. – Inspections and penalties.

(a) The Director shall inspect each medical cannabis dispensary and edible cannabis product manufacturing site no fewer than two (2) times annually, for the purpose of determining compliance with the provisions of this article, and/or the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this article, or in response to a complaint. If informal attempts by the Director to obtain compliance with the provisions of this article fail, the Director may take the steps outlined in Article I of this chapter.

(b) Every person to whom a permit shall have been granted pursuant to this article shall post a sign in a conspicuous place in the medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturing site. The sign shall state that it is unlawful to refuse to permit an inspection by the Department of Health Services, or any city peace, fire, planning, or building official or inspector, conducted during the hours the establishment is open to the public and at all other reasonable times, of the areas of the establishment to which patrons and employees have access.

(c) Administrative Citations. In addition to all other legal remedies, criminal or civil, which may be pursued by the county to address any violation of the county code, this subsection provides for administrative citations, pursuant to the authority conferred by the Government Code, including Section 53069.4. Violations of any provision of the county code or health permit conditions are subject to administrative citation. Each act, omission, or condition may be cited as a separate violation and each violation that continues, exists, or occurs on more than one (1) day may constitute a separate violation on each day, at the discretion of the agency having jurisdiction.

(1) The Director may issue an administrative citation requiring the owner or operator of a medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis manufacturing site to take corrective action as necessary to abate a nuisance, or to protect human health and safety or the environment.

(2) An administrative citation shall not be issued for any minor violation, as defined by the Director, which is corrected immediately in the presence of the inspector. Immediate compliance in that manner shall be noted in the inspection report.

(3) Any dispensary, dispensary operator, dispensary manager or manufacturer who violates any provision of this article or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to this article may, after being provided notice and an opportunity to be heard, be subject to an administrative citation penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) for the first violation of a provision or regulation in a two-year period, five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) for the second violation of the same provision or regulation in a two-year period, and ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) for the third and subsequent violations of the same provision or regulation in a two-year period.

(4) Any dispensary, dispensary operator, dispensary manager or manufacture who operates without a health permit shall be subject to an administrative citation penalty of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) for the first offense within two (2) years, twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000.00) for the second offense within two (2) years, and fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00) for the third offense within two (2) years.

(d) If a permit is revoked, no application for a medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturing site may be submitted by the same person for two (2) years.

Sec. 14-6-100. – Immediate closure.

(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter, and except as otherwise specifically provided by state law, the enforcement officer may immediately suspend or revoke a health permit if the enforcement officer determines that there is an immediate threat to public health, safety, or welfare and order the medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturer immediately closed.

(b) If interference in the performance of the duty of the enforcement officer occurs, the enforcement officer may temporarily suspend the permit and order the medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturer immediately closed.

(c) The enforcement officer shall serve the permit holder, within forty-eight (48) hours of the suspension or revocation, written notice of the grounds for the immediate suspension or revocation of the health permit. A person may appeal the suspension or revocation by filing a written notice to request a hearing before the hearing officer.

(d) If a hearing is requested, it shall be conducted in accordance with Section 14-1-060.

Sec. 14-6-110. – Reporting.

(a) At least biennially, commencing in January 2019, the Director shall make a report to the Board of Supervisors that includes the following:

(1) Number and location of medical cannabis dispensaries and medical cannabis manufacturing sites currently permitted and operating in the county;

(2) An estimate of the number of medical cannabis patients currently active in the county;

(3) A summary of the past year’s violations of this article and penalties assessed;

(4) Current health, human and safety data; and

(5) Recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.

(b) Upon receipt of this Report, the Board of Supervisors shall consider whether any changes to county code are warranted.

RETAIL

APPROVED

The Cannabis Land Use Ordinance (No. 6189) adopted Dec 20, 2016 includes the following language which provides a period of time for existing cannabis cooperatives and collectives (cultivation only) to apply for permits to legalize their operation or cease the use.

Transition Period. This ordinance hereby supersedes Resolution 06-0846. Existing cannabis cultivation cooperatives or collectives that demonstrate to the review authority that they were in operation before January 1, 2016 shall have until January 1, 2018 to come into compliance with this ordinance, provided that there has been no increase in the size of the cultivation area and the operations are in compliance with the best management practices and the operating standards.

Documentation of cultivation activities occurring prior to Jan 1, 2016 including evidence and calculation of square footage. Operations may only be relocated in order to prepare for the permit process (the new property will be verified for consistently with previous cultivation area size).

A person or business wanting to open and operate a medical cannabis dispensary must submit an application for a health permit to Environmental Health & Safety.

(Ord. No. 6189 , § II(D)(Exh. A-2), 12-20-2016)

Sonoma County Municipal Code: Article VI.

Sec. 14-6-040. – Medical cannabis dispensary and edible cannabis product manufacturing site permits.

(a) No person shall operate in the county, any medical cannabis dispensary or any edible cannabis product manufacturing site or any other enterprise or establishment in which edible cannabis product is manufactured or offered for sale or sold, without a valid permit issued in accordance with this article and a valid permit as required in Sonoma County Code Section 26-88-126(c). Such permits shall be displayed prominently in or upon the place of business for which it is issued.

(b) All applications for medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturing site permits shall be on a form supplied by the department and shall be accompanied by the applicable fee(s), as described in Sections 14-6-050 and 14-6-060. The applicant for medical cannabis dispensary permit or edible cannabis product manufacturing site permit shall set forth, under penalty of perjury, the following on the permit application:

(1) The proposed location of the medical cannabis dispensary or the edible cannabis product manufacturing site.

(2) Approved use permit number as issued by the appropriate planning agency.

(3) The name and residence address of each person applying for the permit and any other person who will be engaged in the management of the medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturing site.

(4) A unique identifying number from at least one (1) government issued form of identification such as a social security card, a state driver’s license or identification card, or a passport for each person applying for the permit and any other person who will be engaged in the management of medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturing site.

(5) Written evidence that each person applying for the permit, and any other person who will be engaged in the management of medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturing site is at least twenty-one (21) years of age.

(6) The Director is hereby authorized to require in the permit application any other information including but not limited to any information necessary to discover the truth of the matters set forth in the application.

(c) A permit to operate shall not be issued by the department until its inspection has determined that the proposed medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturing site and its method of operation meet the specifications and conform to the provisions of Sonoma County Code Chapters 14 and 26, and California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5 et seq.

(d) All permits for medical cannabis dispensaries and edible cannabis product manufacturing sites shall expire on the annual renewal date. Permits are valid only for the person, location, and type of sales or activity approved. Permits shall not be transferable upon change of ownership of the dispensary or manufacturing site.

(e) In recommending the granting or denying of a permit and in granting or denying the same, the Director shall give particular consideration to the capacity, capitalization, complaint history of the applicant and any other factors that in their discretion he or she deems necessary to the peace and order and welfare of the public.

(f) No medical cannabis dispensary permit or edible cannabis product manufacturing site permit shall be issued under this article if the Director finds:

(1) That the applicant has provided materially false documents or testimony; or

(2) That the applicant has not complied fully with the provisions of this article or any county and state codes, laws and regulations; or

(3) That the applicant has not obtained a permit from Sonoma County Planning Resource Management Department and all other approvals as required by the agency having jurisdiction; or

(4) That the operation as proposed by the applicant, if permitted, does not comply with all applicable laws, including, but not limited to, the building, planning, housing, police, fire, and health codes of the county, including the provisions of this article and regulations issued by the Director pursuant to this article; or

(5) That a permit for the operation of a medical cannabis dispensary or medical cannabis manufacturing site permit or a county use permit, which permit(s) had been issued to the applicant or to any other person who will be engaged in the management of the medical cannabis dispensary or medical cannabis manufacturing site permit has been revoked, unless more than two (2) years have passed from the date of the revocation to the date of the application; or

(6) That the county has revoked a permit for the operation of a business in the county which permit had been issued to the applicant or to any other person who will be engaged in the management of the medical cannabis dispensary or medical cannabis manufacturing site permit unless more than two (2) years have passed from the date of the application to the date of the revocation.

(g) The Director shall notify the Sheriff’s Department, Permit and Resource Management Department, Fire and Emergency Services, Agricultural Commissioner’s Office and other appropriate agencies of all approved permit applications.

(h) The final permit shall contain the following language: “Issuance of this permit by the county of Sonoma is not intended to and does not authorize the violation of state or federal law.

Sec. 14-6-050. – Fees.

(a) Prior to submitting the medical cannabis dispensary permit or edible cannabis product manufacturing site permit application, each applicant shall submit an operating and facility plan to the Department, along with a plan check fee as established by the current Board of Supervisors’ fee resolution.

(b) At the time of approval of the facility plan, the applicant shall submit to the Department, the medical cannabis dispensary or edible product manufacturing site application and annual permit fee(s) as established by the current Board of Supervisors’ fee resolution. The fee shall be calculated so as to recover the reasonable regulatory cost of administration and enforcement of this article, including, for example, issuing a medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturing site permit, administering the permit program, dispensary or manufacturing site inspection and compliance checks, documentation of violations, late fees for delinquent permits, and enforcement proceedings, but shall not exceed the cost of the regulatory program authorized by this article and by California law. All fees and interest upon proceeds of fees shall be used exclusively to fund administration and enforcement of this article. Fees are nonrefundable, except as may be required by law.

(c) Each separate location of business shall be deemed a separate enterprise or medical cannabis dispensary or edible product manufacturing site for purposes of this article.

(d) Any permit that has not been reinstated by the annual renewal date will not be valid, due to failure to submit permit fees, and shall be deemed delinquent. Permits that continue to remain delinquent will be subject to late fees at intervals of thirty (30) days and sixty (60) days past the anniversary date. The amount assessed shall be included in the fee schedule approved by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.

(e) Conditions requiring additional inspections due to noncompliance with applicable statutes/regulations will incur additional re-inspection service fees as provided in the fee schedule in effect at the time of noncompliance.

Sec. 14-6-060. – Operational requirements for medical cannabis dispensaries.

(a) Medical cannabis dispensaries shall meet all the operating criteria for the dispensing of medical cannabis as is required pursuant to California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.7 et seq., by this article, by the Director’s Rules and regulations for the permitting and operation of medical cannabis dispensaries and by all other County Department guidelines.

(b) Medical cannabis dispensaries must operate in a permanently constructed structure and may not operate from a vehicle or non-permanent structure.

(c) Medical cannabis dispensaries shall sell or distribute only cannabis manufactured and processed in the state of California that has not left the state before arriving at the medical cannabis dispensary with the additional requirement that medical cannabis dispensaries shall sell or distribute only edible cannabis products that have been manufactured and processed in a facility permitted by a local jurisdiction and in compliance with state licensing requirements.

(d) It is unlawful for any person or association operating a medical cannabis dispensary under the provisions of this article to permit any breach of peace therein or any disturbance of public order or decorum by any tumultuous, riotous or disorderly conduct, or otherwise, or to permit such dispensary to remain open, or patrons to remain upon the premises, between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the next day, unless otherwise allowed by the use permit.

(e) No medical cannabis product shall be smoked, ingested or otherwise consumed on the premises or in the public right-of-way within twenty-five feet (25′) of a medical cannabis dispensary. Medical cannabis dispensaries shall post a sign near their entrances and exits providing notice of this policy.

(f) All sales and dispensing of medical cannabis shall be conducted in person on the premises of the medical cannabis dispensary. Deliveries, as defined in this article and in Health and Safety Code, can only be made by a dispensary in Sonoma County provided the medical cannabis dispensary that delivers medical cannabis or medical cannabis products shall comply with the following:

(1) All employees of a dispensary delivering medical cannabis or medical cannabis products shall carry a copy of the dispensary’s current permit authorizing those services with them during deliveries and shall present that permit upon request to county department, state and local law enforcement, employees of regulatory authorities, and other state and local agencies.

(2) During delivery, the permittee shall maintain a physical copy of the delivery request and shall make it available upon request of the department and law enforcement officers. The delivery request documentation shall comply with state and federal law regarding the protection of confidential medical information.

(3) The qualified patient or primary caregiver requesting the delivery shall maintain a copy of the delivery request and shall make it available, upon request, to the department and law enforcement officers.

(4) The employee of the dispensary who is delivering medical cannabis or medical cannabis products shall verify and document that the individual taking possession of the product is a qualified patient or primary caregiver.

(g) The medical cannabis dispensary shall not 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. Nor shall alcoholic beverages be consumed on the premises or on in the public right-of-way within fifty feet (50′) of a medical cannabis dispensary. Dispensaries shall prohibit patrons from entering or remaining on the premises if they are in possession of or are consuming alcoholic beverages or are under the influence of alcohol.

(h) The medical cannabis dispensary shall not hold or maintain a permit as a food facility from the county of Sonoma. Food products shall not be sold or consumed on the premises.

(i) The medical cannabis dispensary shall not hold or maintain a tobacco retail license to sell tobacco products or tobacco paraphernalia from the county of Sonoma. Tobacco products or tobacco paraphernalia shall not be sold or consumed on the premises.

(j) No manufactured edible cannabis products shall be dispensed that contain other addictive substances such as nicotine or caffeine. Minimal amounts of alcohol, in as much as are residual from manufacturing or required solvents for the cannabis containing product, are allowed provided that the alcohol content is ten percent (10%) or less, the amount of alcohol in an individual serving would not create alcohol intoxication with ingestion of a single dose, and the product is clearly labeled with both the alcohol content and a statement that “Warning: this product contains alcohol.”

(k) The medical cannabis dispensary shall not engage in the Nonsale Distribution of any medical cannabis product. Discounting practices, including the honoring or redeeming coupons to allow a consumer to purchase a medical cannabis product for less than full retail price, sale of product through multiple-package discount for less than full retail price, and provision of a free or discounted item in consideration of purchase of a medical cannabis product are prohibited.

(l) Medical cannabis dispensaries may sell or distribute cannabis only to qualified patients with a medical cannabis identification card or a verifiable, written recommendation from a physician for medical cannabis. The medical cannabis dispensary shall maintain records of all qualified patients with a valid identification card and primary caregivers with a valid identification card using only the identification card number issued by the state or county pursuant to California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.7 et seq. For qualified patients who present a physician recommendation in lieu of a valid identification card, the medical cannabis dispensary shall maintain a record of qualified patient identifying information in a manner consistent with patient privacy laws.

(m) All advertisements must include language stating “Only individuals with legally recognized Medical Cannabis Identification Cards or a verifiable, written recommendation from a physician for medical cannabis may obtain cannabis from medical cannabis dispensaries” written in size eleven (11) font or larger, and must be read in oral advertisements. Advertisements many not cater to youth or children, i.e. no cartoon characters and no depictions of youth utilizing cannabis. Advertisements may not be placed in locations that cater to youth or children.

(n) The medical cannabis dispensary shall provide the Director and agencies having jurisdiction the name and phone number of an on-site staff person to whom one (1) can direct notices of complaints or violations.

(o) The medical cannabis dispensary shall meet any specific, additional operating procedures and measures as may be imposed as conditions of approval by the Director in order to insure that the operation of the medical cannabis dispensary is consistent with the protection of the health, safety and welfare of the community, qualified patients and primary caregivers, and will not adversely affect surrounding uses.

 Sec. 14-6-080. – Permit program implementation.

(a) The Director shall adopt policies and create operational procedures, operational standards and marking guides for medical cannabis dispensaries and edible cannabis manufacturing sites related to this article. These shall include, but are not limited to:

(1) A requirement that the operator require employees to wash hands and use sanitary utensils when handling cannabis;

(2) Regulations to reduce the risk to public health of edible cannabis products including requirements parallel to state and local laws regarding preparation, distribution and sale of food and restrictions on manufacturing and sale of edible products that require time-temperature control to keep them safe for human consumption;

(3) Regulations prohibiting the manufacturing, packaging and/or sale of cannabis products that are designed to be especially appealing to children or youth;

(4) Requirements on tracking and reporting of products sold; and

(5) Regulations related to management and disposal of waste products.

(b) The Director shall issue rules and regulations regarding the imposition of administrative penalties on medical cannabis dispensaries or edible cannabis product manufacturing sites.

Sec. 14-6-090. – Inspections and penalties.

(a) The Director shall inspect each medical cannabis dispensary and edible cannabis product manufacturing site no fewer than two (2) times annually, for the purpose of determining compliance with the provisions of this article, and/or the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this article, or in response to a complaint. If informal attempts by the Director to obtain compliance with the provisions of this article fail, the Director may take the steps outlined in Article I of this chapter.

(b) Every person to whom a permit shall have been granted pursuant to this article shall post a sign in a conspicuous place in the medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturing site. The sign shall state that it is unlawful to refuse to permit an inspection by the Department of Health Services, or any city peace, fire, planning, or building official or inspector, conducted during the hours the establishment is open to the public and at all other reasonable times, of the areas of the establishment to which patrons and employees have access.

(c) Administrative Citations. In addition to all other legal remedies, criminal or civil, which may be pursued by the county to address any violation of the county code, this subsection provides for administrative citations, pursuant to the authority conferred by the Government Code, including Section 53069.4. Violations of any provision of the county code or health permit conditions are subject to administrative citation. Each act, omission, or condition may be cited as a separate violation and each violation that continues, exists, or occurs on more than one (1) day may constitute a separate violation on each day, at the discretion of the agency having jurisdiction.

(1) The Director may issue an administrative citation requiring the owner or operator of a medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis manufacturing site to take corrective action as necessary to abate a nuisance, or to protect human health and safety or the environment.

(2) An administrative citation shall not be issued for any minor violation, as defined by the Director, which is corrected immediately in the presence of the inspector. Immediate compliance in that manner shall be noted in the inspection report.

(3) Any dispensary, dispensary operator, dispensary manager or manufacturer who violates any provision of this article or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to this article may, after being provided notice and an opportunity to be heard, be subject to an administrative citation penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) for the first violation of a provision or regulation in a two-year period, five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) for the second violation of the same provision or regulation in a two-year period, and ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) for the third and subsequent violations of the same provision or regulation in a two-year period.

(4) Any dispensary, dispensary operator, dispensary manager or manufacture who operates without a health permit shall be subject to an administrative citation penalty of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) for the first offense within two (2) years, twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000.00) for the second offense within two (2) years, and fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00) for the third offense within two (2) years.

(d) If a permit is revoked, no application for a medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturing site may be submitted by the same person for two (2) years.

Sec. 14-6-100. – Immediate closure.

(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter, and except as otherwise specifically provided by state law, the enforcement officer may immediately suspend or revoke a health permit if the enforcement officer determines that there is an immediate threat to public health, safety, or welfare and order the medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturer immediately closed.

(b) If interference in the performance of the duty of the enforcement officer occurs, the enforcement officer may temporarily suspend the permit and order the medical cannabis dispensary or edible cannabis product manufacturer immediately closed.

(c) The enforcement officer shall serve the permit holder, within forty-eight (48) hours of the suspension or revocation, written notice of the grounds for the immediate suspension or revocation of the health permit. A person may appeal the suspension or revocation by filing a written notice to request a hearing before the hearing officer.

(d) If a hearing is requested, it shall be conducted in accordance with Section 14-1-060.

Sec. 14-6-110. – Reporting.

(a) At least biennially, commencing in January 2019, the Director shall make a report to the Board of Supervisors that includes the following:

(1) Number and location of medical cannabis dispensaries and medical cannabis manufacturing sites currently permitted and operating in the county;

(2) An estimate of the number of medical cannabis patients currently active in the county;

(3) A summary of the past year’s violations of this article and penalties assessed;

(4) Current health, human and safety data; and

(5) Recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.

(b) Upon receipt of this Report, the Board of Supervisors shall consider whether any changes to county code are warranted.

Sec. 26-88-256. – Medical cannabis dispensary uses.

(a) Purpose. This section provides the location and operational standards for any medical cannabis dispensary within the unincorporated county in order to promote the health, safety, and general welfare of its residents and businesses.

(b) Applicability. Medical cannabis dispensaries shall be permitted only in compliance with the requirements of this section, and all other applicable requirements of the underlying zoning district.

(c) Permit Requirements. A use permit issued in compliance with Sections 26-92-070 and 26-92-080 shall be required for any medical cannabis dispensary. Medical cannabis dispensaries shall also be subject to permit requirements and regulations established by the Sonoma County Department of Health Services. Additionally, medical cannabis dispensaries must comply with all other applicable building codes and requirements, including accessibility requirements.

(d) Limit on Number of Dispensaries. No more than nine (9) medical cannabis dispensaries shall be permitted within the unincorporated county at any one (1) time.

(e) Compliance with Operating Plan and Conditions Required. A medical cannabis dispensary shall submit, as a part of the use permit application, an operating plan that specifies the manner in which operations will be handled and security provided, and which details the number of employees, number of patients, hours and days of operation allowed and approved. The operating plan shall provide that the dispensary shall require, at a minimum, a doctor’s written recommendation in compliance with state law, as well as a photo identification for any person entering the site. Any medical cannabis dispensary approved under this section shall be operated in conformance with the approved operating plan and shall meet any specific, additional operating procedures and measures as may be imposed as conditions of approval to ensure that the operation of the dispensary is consistent with protection of the health, safety and welfare of the community, qualified patients, and primary caregivers, and will not adversely affect surrounding uses.

(f) Limited Term. Use permits for medical cannabis dispensaries shall be limited-term, and shall be issued for a maximum period of one (1) year.

(g) Exercise and Renewal of Permit. Use permits for medical cannabis dispensaries shall be exercised only by the applicant and shall expire upon termination of the business for which it was issued, or upon sale or transfer of ownership of the medical cannabis dispensary. All use permits issued for a medical cannabis dispensary shall include the following provision: “This use permit shall expire upon change of tenancy or sale or transfer of the business or property.” Any use permit that is abandoned for a period of six (6) months shall automatically expire, and shall become null and void with no further action required on the part of the county. A use permit renewal may be administratively approved by the planning director only if all of the following findings are made:

(1) The use has been conducted in accordance with this section, with the dispensary’s approved operating plan, and with all applicable use permit conditions of approval;

(2) The business for which the use permit was approved has not been transferred to another owner or operator;

(3) There are no outstanding violations of health, safety, or land use.

(h) Revocation or Modification. A use permit approved under this section may be revoked or modified at any time following public hearing in accordance with Section 26-92-120.

(i) Signed Affidavit. The property owner and applicant, if other than the property owner, shall sign the application for the use permit, and shall include affidavits agreeing to abide by and conform to the conditions of the use permit and all provisions of the Sonoma County code pertaining to the establishment and operation of the medical cannabis dispensary use, including, but not limited to, the provisions of this section. The affidavit(s) shall acknowledge that the approval of the medical cannabis dispensary use permit shall in no way permit any activity contrary to the Sonoma County code, or any activity which is in violation of any applicable laws.

(j) Location Requirements.

(1) A medical cannabis dispensary shall not be established on any parcel containing a dwelling unit used as a residence, nor within one hundred feet (100′) of a residential zoning district.

(2) A medical cannabis dispensary shall not be established within one thousand feet (1,000′) of any other medical cannabis dispensary, nor within five hundred feet (500′) from a smoke shop or similar facility selling drug paraphernalia.

(3) A medical cannabis dispensary shall not be established within one thousand feet (1,000′) from any public or private school, park, childcare center, drug or alcohol treatment facility.

(4) Notwithstanding, the subsections (j)(1)—(2) may be waived by the decision-maker when the applicant can show that an actual physical separation exists between land uses or parcels such that no off-site impacts could occur

(5) A medical cannabis dispensary proposed within the sphere of influence of a city will be referred to the appropriate city for consultation.

(k) Operating Standards. The following are the minimum development criteria and operational standards applicable to any medical cannabis dispensary use

(1) 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 accessibility requirements;

(2) The dispensary shall provide adequate security on the premises, including lighting and alarms, to insure the safety of persons and to protect the premises from theft. The applicant shall submit a security plan for review and approval by PRMD. The Security Plan shall remain confidential.

(3) The site plan, circulation, parking, lighting, facility exterior, and any signage shall be subject to design review committee review and approval. The planning director may waive this requirement where the applicant can demonstrate that existing facilities, including parking, lighting and landscaping, already meet the requirements of this section;

(4) No exterior signage or symbols shall be displayed which advertises the availability of cannabis, nor shall any such signage or symbols be displayed on the interior of the facility in such a way as to be visible from the exterior;

(5) No person shall be allowed onto the premises unless they are an employee, vendor or contractor of the dispensary, a primary caregiver, and/or a qualified patient or an employee of an agency having jurisdiction monitoring or investigating the terms of regulatory compliance. If the dispensary denies entry for monitoring and inspection to any employee of an agency having jurisdiction, the dispensary may be closed. In strict accordance with California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5 et seq. no person under the age of eighteen (18) shall be allowed on the dispensary site. All persons entering the site shall present a photo identification and shall establish proof of doctor’s recommendation except as representing a regulatory agency. The operating plan submitted as a part of the use permit application shall specify how this provision will be complied with and enforced;

(6) No dispensary shall hold or maintain a license from the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to sell alcoholic beverages, or operate a business that sells alcoholic beverages. No alcoholic beverages shall be allowed or consumed on the premises;

(7) An exhaust and ventilation system shall be utilized to prevent off-site odors;

(8) No dispensary shall conduct or engage in the commercial sale of any product, good or service unless otherwise approved by the use permit. A dispensary may sell live starter plants, clones and seeds from qualified nurseries, but shall not cultivate or clone cannabis. A dispensary may sell manufactured cannabis, including edible products, and vaporizing devices if allowed by a permit issued by the Department of Health Services. Not more than ten percent (10%) of the floor area, up to a maximum of fifty (50) square feet may be devoted to the sale of incidental goods for personal cultivation but shall not include clothing, posters or other promotional items.

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

(10) No dispensary may increase in size without amending the use permit. The size limitation shall be included in the operational plan required by Section 26-88-126(e), of this section;

(11) Parking must meet the requirements of Section 26-86-010.

(12) Operating days and hours shall be limited to Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., including deliveries, or as otherwise allowed by the use permit. Operating hours may be further restricted through the use permit process where needed to provide land use compatibility.

(13) Medical cannabis delivery services may only be allowed with a dispensary use permit.

CannaBusiness Law has established prominence as a cutting edge leader and pioneer in providing the highest quality legal expertise in the Cannabis industry.

Contact CannaBusiness Law today to provide expert assistance in compliance With Cannabis Licensing, Permitting and the Application process relating to Commercial Cannabis in California.

COUNTY-SPECIFIC NEWS AND UPDATES