County of Sonoma

Agenda Item
Summary Report

Agenda Item Number: 41
(This Section for use by Clerk of the Board Only.)

Clerk of the Board
575 Administration Drive
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
To:

Board of Supervisors

Board Agenda Date:

December 6, 2016

Vote Requirement:

Majority

Department or Agency Name(s): County Administrator’s Office, Permit and Resource Management
Department, Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures,
Department of Health Services
Staff Name and Phone Number:

Supervisorial District(s):

Rebecca Wachsberg 565-3782
Tennis Wick 565-1900
Tony Linegar 565-2371
Karen Milman 565-4700
Title:

Medical Cannabis Program Ordinances and Policies

Recommended Actions:
Conduct a public hearing and consider whether to:
A. Adopt the Negative Declaration and approve the Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance
amending the zoning code to permit and regulate medical cannabis businesses; (Majority)
B. Adopt a resolution amending the Uniform Rules for Agricultural Preservation and Farmland
Security Zones to list medical cannabis cultivation as a compatible use within Agricultural
Preserves, subject to review by the Department of Conservation; (Majority)
C. Adopt a resolution introducing, reading the title, and waiving further reading of a proposed
ordinance amending Chapter 14 of the Sonoma County Code to regulate medical cannabis
dispensaries and edible cannabis product manufacturing sites; (Majority) (First Reading)
D. Adopt the Cannabis Business Tax Ordinance establishing a general business tax on cannabis
operators and placing the Cannabis Business Tax Ordinance on the ballot for a March 7, 2017
election, which will become effective if it is approved by a majority of the voters voting on the
measure; and Adopt a Resolution introducing, reading the title of, and waiving further reading of
the proposed Cannabis Business Tax Ordinance; (Majority) (First Reading) and
E. Adopt a Resolution declaring an emergency and calling a special election to submit to the voters
of Sonoma County the proposed Cannabis Business Tax Ordinance, and ordering that the
election be consolidated with the special election to be conducted on March 7, 2017.
(Unanimous vote required)

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Executive Summary:
This item sets forth a proposed comprehensive regulatory framework for the local medical cannabis
industry and personal cultivation consistent with the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act
(MCRSA) (2015) and Proposition 64 (the California Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana
Initiative, 2016) to permit and regulate medical cannabis cultivators, nurseries, manufacturers,
transporters, distributors, testing laboratories and dispensaries. Commercial permits enabled by the
proposed ordinances are limited to medical cannabis operations. Expanding permitting of cannabis
operations for adult use may be considered in the next phase of policy development.
The proposed ordinances herein include:
1) A Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance setting forth permit requirements and where and how
each cannabis business type may operate;
2) A Medical Cannabis Health Ordinance establishing regulations and permitting for medical
cannabis dispensaries and manufacturing to address product safety, labeling and advertising; and
3) A Cannabis Business Tax Ordinance imposing a tax on both medical and nonmedical commercial
cannabis businesses to ensure the General Fund can continue to fund general governmental
purposes, such as the implementation of a robust local cannabis program that includes
protection of the public health and safety.
Discussion:
The cannabis industry already has a significant presence in Sonoma County, and regulating the industry
has been a designated work priority of the Board of Supervisors for a number of years. In 2015, an Ad
Hoc Committee, comprised of Supervisors Susan Gorin and David Rabbitt, worked with a North Coast
County Collaborative to advocate for comprehensive cannabis legislation that supported the efforts of
local governments, contributing to the passage of a statewide framework for medical cannabis in late
2015. As a result, the Board created the Medical Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee (Ad Hoc Committee) of
Supervisors Efren Carrillo and Susan Gorin, and directed staff to explore and propose regulations for all
cannabis operators. To ensure the recommended regulations were comprehensive and reflected the
expertise of over a dozen County departments, staff created the Marijuana Technical Advisory
Committee (MTAC). Based on direction from the Ad Hoc and consultation from the MTAC, staff have
developed the following proposed regulations and policies as the first phase in regulating the local
cannabis industry. It is anticipated that future phases of policy development would include regulation
of nonmedical cannabis businesses, as well as more streamlined regulations as staff gather data and
learn from the implementation of the initial phase.
State Law
Proposition 215 (1996), entitled the Compassionate Use Act, allowed for the use of cannabis for
medical purposes by qualified patients and for caregivers to provide medical cannabis and receive
reimbursement for their costs. In 2004, SB 420 established a County Health ID card program, collective
and cooperative cultivation, and “safe harbor” amounts for cultivation and possession.
MCRSA was enacted in October 2015 and constructed a comprehensive framework for the regulation
of medical cannabis businesses. MCRSA eliminates the cooperative/collective model and replaces it
with a commercial licensing scheme under which operators are required to obtain both local and state

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approval. The State is currently developing regulations and will begin issuing licenses on January 1,
2018.
On November 8, 2016, Proposition 64, the “California Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of
Marijuana Initiative,” also known as the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” (AUMA), passed with 57% voter
approval statewide and with 59% voter approval in Sonoma County. The initiative legalized the
nonmedical use, possession, and cultivation of cannabis by adults 21 years and older. As with medical
cannabis businesses, local jurisdictions may choose whether or not to permit nonmedical cannabis
businesses. The initiative also establishes a tax on cultivation and retail sales, and reduces criminal
penalties.
Sonoma County Laws
In 2006, the County adopted guidelines under Resolution No. 06-0846, providing a defense to
prosecution for possession and cultivation in limited circumstances. The guidelines allowed for a
defense to be available to those qualified patients cultivating up to 30 plants in up to 100 sq. ft. per
patient with no limit to the number of patients. The County first began permitting medical cannabis
dispensaries in 2007 and currently permits dispensaries pursuant to Sonoma County Code Section 2688-126. The Board amended this code section in 2012 to establish a cap to limit dispensaries in the
unincorporated County to nine. There are currently five permitted dispensaries and two in the
application process. No other cannabis related businesses are currently permitted in unincorporated
Sonoma County.
Community Engagement
The Ad Hoc Committee and staff have conducted extensive community outreach including establishing
a website, mail list, and project-dedicated email; conducting an online survey; and holding community
town hall meetings in each district of the County, as well as smaller meetings with various stakeholder
interest groups. Staff also participated in and attended a number of industry related conferences and
events to engage industry stakeholders. The town hall meetings drew an estimated 750 attendees, and
over 1,100 people responded to the online survey. Staff have used social media to engage more nonindustry residents and to ensure a full range of comments and feedback. Community meetings were
also held prior to the first Planning Commission meeting and prior to this Board of Supervisors meeting
to present the proposals to the community and answer questions.
MEDICAL CANNABIS LAND USE ORDINANCE
The Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance (Attachment A) proposes a permitting scheme for medical
cannabis operators including cultivators, nurseries, transporters, distributors, testing laboratories,
manufacturers, deliveries, and dispensaries. The proposed regulations incorporate siting criteria,
operating standards and best management practices for commercial medical cannabis operations, as
well as regulations and standards for personal cultivation of both medical and nonmedical cannabis. A
Land Use Table summarizing the permit requirements and allowed cannabis uses is provided in
Attachment B.
Environmental Review
Environmental impacts and mitigation have been a major driver of the proposed Land Use Ordinance
and associated policy options provided to the Planning Commission. Under the California Environmental

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Quality Act, the County must ensure there is sufficient mitigation of potential environmental impacts
through its regulatory requirements and permit standards. Given the newness of the industry and
currently unpermitted nature of the proposed uses, these initial recommendations have more restrictive
standards, leaving potential for a more permissive approach once data is collected and additional
mitigation measures and best practices are developed. An Initial Study and Negative Declaration was
prepared and circulated for a 30 day public comment period from October 1st through the 31st. The
proposed Land Use Ordinance includes siting criteria, operational standards, and best management
practices to fully mitigate any potential impacts.
Planning Commission
The Planning Commission considered a diverse array of policy options relating the size, scale, and
standards for cannabis operations within specific land use categories. The Planning Commission
accepted staff’s recommendation in all cases except for a few aspects of three policy issues.
Amended Recommendations
The following issues were the primary focus of the Planning Commission’s deliberations, and resulted in
amended recommendations:
1) Personal Cultivation
2) Commercial Cultivation in Rural Residential Zones
3) Mixed Light Cultivation in Industrial Zones
Personal Cultivation
The Commission recommended allowing a maximum of 100 square feet of cultivation area per residence
for medical and nonmedical cultivation, with the number of plants permitted for nonmedical cultivation
capped at 6. Staff had recommended a maximum of 6 plants (medical only) indoors and 3 plants
outdoors because plant count would be easier to enforce, while prohibiting personal cultivation within
the R2 (Medium Density Residential) and R3 (High Density Residential) zones due to the potential impact
on neighbors. The Commission expanded this to 100 square feet for personal medical cultivation with no
plant limit to allow diversity of medical cannabis for patients, and because of the passage of Prop 64
expressed a six plant maximum for nonmedical and allowed medical and nonmedical personal
cultivation in all zones, though outdoor personal cultivation would restricted in the R2 and R3. There is a
potential that restricting outdoor personal cultivation could impact State funding, an issue that staff was
unaware of at the time of the Planning Commission’s recommendation. Personal cultivation would be
allowed by right and would not require a permit.
The proposed Ordinance would supersede the 2006 Resolution 06-0846 providing cultivation guidelines
as a defense to prosecution. Many local residents have been guided by the limits expressed in the 2006
Resolution and are currently cultivating using a “collective” model. The proposed Ordinance includes a
transition period for cultivation collectives and cooperatives that were in operation prior to January 1,
2016. These collectives and cooperatives would need to come into compliance by January 1, 2018.
Commercial Cultivation in Rural Residential Zones
Staff recommended allowing cottage size commercial cultivation in rural residential zones, which
includes a maximum of 25 plants outdoor, 500 square feet indoors, or 2,500 square feet of mixed light
(greenhouse). This small scale, similar to currently allowed commercial agriculture permitted in these

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zones, coupled with the minimum lot sizes, setbacks, and other required standards, could be considered
compatible with residential uses. Additionally, the use permit process would ensure neighbors were
notified and that mitigation of impacts could be addressed on a case by case. After much discussion, the
Commission voted 4-1 in favor of the staff recommendation while adding a minimum lot size
requirement of two acres for indoor cultivation to decrease the density of operations in rural residential
zones. The standards were revised to require the operator to live onsite and to only allow one permit
per property.
The Commission also included a recommendation that as part of Phase II staff consider allowing cottage
sized cultivation with a zoning permit and a 5 acre minimum lot size (in order to phase out smaller
parcels over time) within Rural Residential zones.
Mixed Light Cultivation in Industrial Zones
Staff recommended allowing indoor cultivation in industrial zones, with a prohibition on outdoor and
mixed light due to security and compatibility issues. Ultimately the Commission recommended including
an allowance for mixed light cultivation within industrial zones with a conditional use permit after
finding that the use permit process could adequately address security and compatibility concerns. This
would allow greenhouse cultivation up to 22,000 square feet within the M1 (Limited Urban Industrial),
M2 (Limited Urban Industrial), and M3 (Heavy Industrial) zones. The Commission also revised the
required setbacks to better accommodate these uses without a 100 foot setback to property lines or a
300 foot setback to occupied business on surrounding properties. All other setback and minimum lot
size requirements apply.
Other Recommendations
The Planning Commission adopted staff recommendations in the areas discussed below. A full range of
policy options was considered by the Planning Commission; those options and further discussion can be
found in the discussion papers on the cannabis website:
http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/CAO/Cannabis/Proposed-Cannabis-Ordinance/. The Land Use Table
(Attachment B) summarizes recommendations for each land use and zoning district.
Outdoor Commercial Cultivation
The proposed ordinance would allow outdoor cultivation with a ministerial zoning permit in agricultural
zones up to 10,000 square feet of cultivation area subject to minimum lot size requirements, Cultivation
Standards, and the Agricultural Commissioner’s Best Management Practices. Larger outdoor cultivation
operations, up to 43,560 square feet of cultivation area, would be allowed, subject to a use permit, in
agricultural and resource zones. Up to 25 plants of outdoor cultivation would be allowed on rural
residential lands with a minor use permit. Zoning permits for outdoor cultivation would be issued by the
Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures and all other permits would be issued by the Permit
and Resource Management Department (PRMD).
Indoor Commercial Cultivation
Indoor cultivation would be allowed in agricultural and industrial zones with a zoning permit up to 500
square feet. “Specialty indoor” operations from 501-5,000 square feet on agricultural land would be
restricted to existing structures to avoid conversion of land. Larger indoor operations would be allowed

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with a use permit or minor use permit within industrial zones. Small cottage sized indoor operations of
500 square feet would be allowed in rural residential zones with a minor use permit.
Mixed-light Cultivation
In addition to the industrial zones discussed above, mixed light operations would be allowed in
agricultural areas up to 2,500 square feet with a zoning permit, and in the resource and rural residential
zones with a minor use permit, subject to standards. Larger operations would be allowed with a use
permit in agricultural and resource zones.
Multiple Cultivation Permits and Subleasing
The proposed ordinance would allow a single entity to obtain multiple cultivation permits, but the total
cultivation area could not exceed one acre within Sonoma County. The Ordinance would also allow a
single property owner to lease to multiple small-scale operators with ministerial zoning permits
provided that the minimum lot size is met and the total area does not exceed the maximum allowed.
Nurseries
Cannabis nurseries produce clones and immature plants and supply those to commercial cultivators or
dispensaries for retail sale. The proposed Ordinance would allow wholesale cannabis nurseries with a
conditional use permit in agricultural, resource, and industrial zones. Indoor/greenhouse nurseries
within the Land Intensive Agriculture (LIA) zoning district would be limited to existing legally established
structures to avoid conversion of land. Zoning districts recommended for cannabis nurseries are similar
to where non-cannabis nurseries are allowed, except that they are not recommended in rural residential
zones but are recommended in industrial zones due to their predominantly indoor nature.
Testing Labs
Third party cannabis laboratories are required to test all cannabis products for cannabinoid
concentration, pesticide residuals, mold, fungus, and other contaminants. The proposed Ordinance
would limit cannabis laboratories to industrial zones with a conditional use permit, which is consistent
with where non-cannabis laboratories are allowed.
Manufacturing
Cannabis manufacturing includes the production or packaging of cannabis products, including oils,
tinctures, and edible cannabis products. The proposed ordinance would only allow manufacturing with
nonvolatile solvents within industrial areas, consistent with where other manufacturing is allowed,
subject to a use permit and would prohibit manufacturing with volatile solvents, which will be further
defined and limited by the State once regulations are developed.
Distribution and Transportation
Distributors and transporters are responsible for transporting cannabis from cultivators, sending
cannabis to quality assurance and batch testing, distributing to and from manufacturing operations, and
then distributing cannabis products to a licensed dispensary. The proposed Ordinance would allow
distribution and transportation facilities within industrial areas subject to a use permit, which is
consistent with where other similar uses are allowed.

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Dispensaries
The Ordinance proposes several changes to the medical cannabis dispensary regulations.
Existing County Code
Proposed Ordinance
Permitted in commercial zoning districts (C1, C2
No change.
and LC).
Distinction between Level 1 and Level 2
Distinction and patient limit eliminated.
dispensaries with patient limits.
1,000 ft. separation criteria from another
No change.
dispensary or smoke shop.
1,000 ft. separation criteria from school, park or
600 ft. separation criteria from school, park, child
businesses that cater to children.
care center, and drug rehabilitation center
(removing “businesses that cater to children”).
Number of dispensaries capped at 9.
No change.
Deliveries not allowed.
Deliveries allowed pursuant to use permit.
Sale of consumption devices not allowed.
Vaporizers allowed pursuant to health permit.
Sale of edibles not allowed.
Sale of edibles allowed pursuant to health permit.
Onsite consumption not permitted.
No change.
Enforcement
The proposed Ordinance establishes an enforcement program that is progressive, incentivizes
compliance, and is applicable to diverse land uses. The Ordinance also includes heightened monetary
penalties in order to be commensurate with the high-valued nature of cannabis industry products and
businesses.
Administrative Citations
The County is in the process of developing a countywide administrative citation program. This program
is scheduled to go to the Board of Supervisors for consideration and adoption in early 2017. The
proposed Ordinance includes the use of administrative citations, allowing the County to issue citations
for violations at the time of discovery. Administrative citation amounts would be based on the following
factors; 1) whether the cultivation area exceeds the allowed permitted area; 2) if there is
noncompliance with a standard or condition of the permit; and/or 3) there are unpermitted cannabis
uses (other than cultivation). The citation penalty amounts would also increase depending on the
number of past violations within a two year period.
Civil Penalties
The existing County code enforcement process includes applying civil penalties to violations. The
proposed Ordinance includes higher civil penalties than applied to typical code enforcement violations.
These penalties would apply after an operator receives a notice of violation, as described in Chapter 17.3. The proposed Ordinance includes the following penalty options, depending on the number of
violations within a two year period:
1. A set range of penalties (ranging from $10,000 to $50,000);
2. A daily violation amount of $1,000 - $5,000 a day for each violation; and/or
3. A square footage violation of $20-$50 per square foot of cannabis cultivation or use area.
The proposed Ordinance also includes a three strikes provision that would revoke the permit upon the
issuance of a third administrative citation within a two year period.

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Estimated Fees
Based on the requirements of the proposed Land Use Ordinance and similar services within the current
fee schedule, it is estimated that zoning permits issued by either the Department of Agriculture or
PRMD will range from $1,800 to $2,500, $2,000 to $6,000 for minor use permits, and $6,000 to $12,000
for conditional use permits. The cost ranges are dependent on the level of noticing and CEQA review
required, and the staff time required to process the permit.
Agricultural Preserve Uniform Rules
The Sonoma County Uniform Rules for Agricultural Preserves (“Uniform Rules”) set forth the rules and
regulations governing the administration of the County’s agricultural preserve program under the
California Land Conservation Act, also known as the Williamson Act (“Act”). In exchange for a long-term
commitment to devote the use of his or her land to agricultural or open space use, and uses compatible
with those agricultural and open space uses, a land owner receives beneficial property tax treatment.
The Uniform Rules list allowable uses for contracted land and are currently silent on cannabis or
cannabis related uses. Under the proposed amendments to the Uniform Rules, cannabis cultivation
would be allowed as a compatible use on agricultural contracted lands, which can take up no more than
15% of the property size. The cultivation area could not count toward the 50% minimum amount of area
needed to qualify for the contract, and the landowner would not be subject to reduced property tax
liability on the area dedicated to cannabis cultivation. Cannabis cultivation would not be permitted on
lands under an open space contract, though the Board may consider an allowance in order to incentivize
open space contracts.
MEDICAL CANNABIS HEALTH ORDINANCE
Commercialization of cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and sale will increase the amount of cannabis
in the community with resultant increased access to cannabis products and decreased perception of
product risk. Commercialization in other communities has resulted in clear health impacts. Other
communities have seen increased number of poisonings, due to intentional and accidental
consumption; increased injuries, particularly due to motor vehicle collisions and driving under the
influence; and increased mental health and substance use disorders. In addition, although current law
prohibits youth use, data from other communities demonstrate an increased rate of youth cannabis use
concurrent with commercialization. Cannabis use has a negative impact on the developing brain and
cognitive abilities and has been connected with lower academic achievement and graduation rates.
While the health consequence of cannabis commercialization are complex and need a multi-pronged
approach to address them, some can be mitigated by policy and regulations. The purpose of the
proposed health permit is to ensure product safety, prevent accidental ingestion or overdose, and
prevent access and use by youth.
The proposed Cannabis Health Ordinance establishes regulations and health permits for medical
cannabis dispensaries and edible medical cannabis product manufacturing sites. Currently, dispensaries
are only required to obtain a land use permit from PRMD. With this ordinance dispensaries, as well as
certain manufacturers, will be required to obtain permits from the Health Department and be subject to
inspections. While some elements of the proposed ordinance will be addressed by State regulations
currently under development, including those on manufacturing, labeling and advertising, it is

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imperative that the County establish its own regulations in the interim to ensure the safe production
and sale of cannabis products. The program established would also be available to cities within Sonoma
County and the Department of Health Services has already begun working with the City of Santa Rosa to
potentially implement the program within that jurisdiction in conjunction with its permitting of
manufacturers and dispensaries.
Edible Cannabis Product Safety
While edible medical cannabis products are defined as “not a food” in Health and Safety code, staff
proposes that all edible medical cannabis products sold and manufactured within the County comply
with food safety requirements, which establish a system of prevention and overlapping safeguards
designed to minimize foodborne illness, ensure employee health, demonstrate industry manager
knowledge, ensure safe food preparation practices, and delineate acceptable levels of sanitation.
Labeling and Advertising
The proposed ordinance also regulates the packaging, labeling and advertising of edible medical
cannabis products. These regulations include identifying product source, cannabinoid concentration,
allergen warning labels, and particularly address protecting young children and youth from accidental
ingestion. (See Attachment I, Medical Cannabis Health Ordinance Summary, for more details).
Estimated Fees
The Department of Health Services will be proposing fees for services that will be provided directly to
the payer and that do not exceed the reasonable costs to provide service. Fees will include reasonable
regulatory costs including enforcement inspections, investigations, and audits. The proposed fee
structure will include plan review and construction inspections as well as permits for both dispensaries
and edible cannabis product manufacturing. There will be different levels of permits to allow for low and
high complexity operations.
Fees will be calculated based on time/task information from other similarly structured programs and are
preliminarily estimated to range from $2,000 -$3,000 annually for Medical Cannabis Dispensaries and
from $3,500 - $5,000 annually for Edible Cannabis Manufacturing Sites. In addition, new facilities will be
required to submit plans for review and have on-site inspections prior to opening for business. These
fees will be calculated based on the hours necessary to complete the services. One time plan check and
site review fees are estimated to range from $600 - $2,000 dependent on the service time required.
CANNABIS BUSINESS TAX ORDINANCE
Declaration of Emergency
While fees can recover costs associated with issuing permits, inspections, compliance monitoring, etc.,
they cannot be used to fund other costs not attributable to a permittee, including those related to code
enforcement, law enforcement, policy development, health impacts and education, and environmental
cleanup. Without an additional funding source, the County will not be able to address the risk and
adverse impacts of legalized cannabis in Sonoma County while also maintaining the existing general
governmental services that the County funds through its General Fund. Because of this threat to the
public health, safety, and welfare, an emergency exists in the County, as the term “emergency” is used
in Article XIIIC, section 2(b) of the California Constitution.

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Accordingly, staff recommends that the Board unanimously find and declare the existence of a fiscal
emergency within the County. This finding will allow the County to bring a proposed Cannabis Business
Tax Ordinance to the voters at the March 7, 2017 election. Without such a unanimous declaration of
emergency, the County must wait until the next County General Election in November 2018 to submit
the Cannabis Business Tax Ordinance to the voters – foregoing the ability to raise approximately $10
million in tax revenue.
State Taxes
Proposition 64 (2016) imposed the first and currently only statewide cannabis businesses taxes. A 15%
excise tax is imposed on dispensary (medical) and retail (nonmedical) sales, though medical sales are
exempted from the standard sales and use tax (7.5% - 10%). The initiative also imposes a cultivation tax
on all cannabis at a rate of $9.25 per ounce for flowers and $2.75 per ounce for leaves. The cumulative
tax rate on the supply chain is already fairly substantial. Tax rates should be set with the understanding
that tax rates that are too high can keep or drive operators underground. Based on experience in
Washington and Colorado, it is recommended that the cumulative tax rate (including state and local
taxes throughout the supply chain) be less than 30%.
Proposed Tax Ordinance
The proposed Cannabis Business Tax Ordinance includes authority to tax cultivation and all other
support businesses including nurseries, transporters, distributors, testing labs, manufacturers and
dispensaries. The key components of the proposed tax structure for cultivation and all other cannabis
businesses are outlined below, with further information and analysis provided in the attached Cannabis
Taxation Memo (Attachment M). The Board will have the authority at any time to adopt an ordinance
adjusting the tax rate for any cannabis operator type up to the maximum amount authorized under this
ordinance. All taxes will be due quarterly, and nonpayment may be a basis for permit revocation or
nonrenewal.
Cultivation Tax
• Per square foot tax. The tax due would be based on the maximum cultivation area allowed under
the operator’s permit. This method is the easiest to assess and administer. Prior to a robust track
and trace program at the State or local level, it would be difficult to obtain data on and verify
how much product was being sold from cultivation sites. At this stage of the industry, a large
amount of product is being diverted to the black market and this method of taxation ensures
taxes on that product are not avoided.
o Exceptions for proof of smaller cultivation area or crop loss. License types based on plant
count (outdoor cottage and specialty) will be assessed based on an assumed 25 square
feet per plant allowed under the permit.
• Adjusted for cultivation type. Different square footage rates for outdoor, indoor, and mixed-light
cultivation are proposed to tax an equivalent percentage of estimated revenue. Annual yields
vary substantially between outdoor and indoor cultivation; different rates provide tax equity
between the operator types.
• Progressive tax rate. Starting rates tax smaller operators at a lower square footage rate than
larger operators within each cultivation type. This provides support to the many small scale

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cultivators already operating in Sonoma County and adds equity given the economies of scale
gained by larger cultivators.
Amount. The proposed maximum square footage rates were calculated to be roughly equivalent
to a percentage tax rate of 10% of gross revenue for each cultivation type:
 Outdoor cultivation: $10 per square foot
 Indoor cultivation: $38 per square foot
 Mixed-light cultivation: $22 per square foot
Initial Rates. The proposed starting rates are substantially lower to incentivize compliance and
offset the startup costs cannabis businesses will incur in coming into compliance with local and
State permitting and operating requirements. Starting rates range depending on the size of
operation and as a percentage of projected revenues are intended to roughly equate to 0.5% for
cottage, 2% for specialty, 3% for small and 5% for medium-sized operations. Proposed initial
rates are as follows:
 Outdoor cultivation: $0.50 to $5.00 per square foot
 Indoor cultivation: $1.88 to $18.75 per square foot
 Mixed-light cultivation: $1.08 to $10.80 per square foot
Authority to tax on gross receipts basis. The ordinance also authorizes the Board to change the
method of taxation on cultivation from a square foot basis to a gross receipts basis, with a
maximum authorized tax rate of 10% of gross receipts.

Support Businesses Tax
• Gross receipts basis. Operators will report gross receipts and be taxed a percentage of that
reported revenue.
• Amount. The maximum authorized tax rate would be set at 10%. Initial taxes for all operators
would be set at 0%, except for manufacturing, which would be taxed at 5%. Lower tax rates will
incentivize compliance and taxation at different points in the supply chain increases
administrative difficulty and costly.
Estimated Revenue
Based on a survey by the California Department of Food and Agriculture on permit interest in Sonoma
County and estimated compliance (25% for cottage and specialty cultivators and 10% for small and
medium cultivators), staff estimates that revenue in FY 2017-18 at the proposed starting rates will total
approximately $5 million annually from the cultivation tax. The manufacturing tax is estimated to bring
in another $1.3 million, for a combined annual revenue of approximately $6.3 million. Revenues are
difficult to estimate due to the many unknowns about the industry and how it will transition, as well as
the substantial effort required to bring the industry onboard and normalize paying taxes.
Estimated Costs and Staffing
The cannabis industry has and will continue to have numerous direct and indirect fiscal impacts on the
County and the overall implementation of a comprehensive regulatory scheme requires investment in
diverse areas. The following is a non-exhaustive list of costs that staff has identified as necessary to
begin to ensure a successful and robust program: code enforcement, health and human services, public
safety, administration, policy development, environmental cleanup, and tax collection and
administration. If the tax is enacted, or other funding is identified by the Board so the land use
ordinance becomes effective, staff will return with a specific proposal to fund these County services.

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More information on positions estimated to fulfill this work is included in the staffing impacts narrative
section below.
ECONOMIC IMPACT TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATION
To better understand the impact of the industry and inform local policy, the Economic Development
Board (EDB) convened a Task Force comprised of 16 business representatives from key industry clusters.
Over a period of five weeks, the Task Force members met with cannabis industry leaders to learn about
the industry and then worked together to identify potential economic opportunities and threats, and
formulate a series of policy recommendations. The key recommendations of the Task Force are outlined
below and the full report is available online: http://sonomaedb.org/Data-Center/Special-Reports/.
• Ease transition: a) Establish a minimum of a one-year transition period to achieve compliance
with local and state regulations; and b) Convene a cannabis stakeholder advisory group for 2017.
• Promote cannabis market: a) Ensure permits are available for all license types outlined in
MCRSA; b) Promote workshops and job fairs that include both cannabis and traditional
businesses; and c) Provide access to existing workforce development programs.
• Protect real estate assets: a) Fast track permitting processes to increase the supply of workforce
housing and commercial building inventory; b) Encourage a cooperative farming model by
allowing multiple permits on one parcel, and allowing cottage growers to cultivate collectively in
a legally-designated area; and c) Limit the cultivation area to one acre per permit.
COMMUNITY CANNABIS ADVISORY GROUP
Staff recommends that the Board direct staff to convene an advisory group of stakeholders and subject
matter experts to evaluate the implementation of the new cannabis ordinance, including data on trends
and impacts, and provide recommendations for the next phases of implementation. The task force
would consist of representatives from each operator category (i.e. nursery, cultivator, distributor, etc.),
other industries in Sonoma County, city government representatives, education, health care, nonindustry residents, and other stakeholders. If directed, staff would develop a proposal and present it to
the Ad Hoc Committee.
Prior Board Actions:
9/20/2016: Receipt of a status report from the Medical Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee and staff.
5/24/2016: Approval of the Medical Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee Charter.
2/2/2016: Adoption of the Resolution of Intention to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework
for the cannabis industry.
1/5/2016: Creation of the Medical Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee.
Strategic Plan Alignment

Goal 1: Safe, Healthy, and Caring Community

The proposed cannabis ordinances and policies are necessary to protecting the health and safety of our
communities, preserving our environmental resources and ensuring the industry contributes positively
to the economic vitality of our County.

Revision No. 20151201-1

12

Fiscal Summary
FY 16-17
Adopted

Expenditures

FY 17-18
Projected

FY 18-19
Projected

Budgeted Expenses
Additional Appropriation Requested
Total Expenditures
Funding Sources
General Fund/WA GF
State/Federal
Fees/Other
Use of Fund Balance
Contingencies
Total Sources
Narrative Explanation of Fiscal Impacts:
It is estimated that staffing needed to implement the proposed cannabis regulations would cost
$2,180,000 - $3,010,000 in fee-based staffing and $1,670,000 - $2,640,000 in non-fee-based staffing as
well as additional non-fee-based funding needed for programmatic and operational needs. Additionally,
increased staffing of this scale will lead to other necessary and related costs such as office space.
Anticipated revenue under the proposed Cannabis Business Tax is estimated at $6.3 million annually.
Staff will return to the Board with a specific funding plan for staffing and other expenses in the third
quarter of this fiscal year.
Staffing Impacts
Position Title
(Payroll Classification)

Monthly Salary
Range
(A – I Step)

Additions
(Number)

Deletions
(Number)

Narrative Explanation of Staffing Impacts (If Required):
Implementing and enforcing the ordinances and policies laid out above will require substantial
additional capacity within the departments. Once the ordinances are adopted and a funding source is
secured, staff will return with a specific request to add position allocations. Staff will work with Human
Resources to evaluate the appropriate job classifications to perform the additional/new required duties
and will develop new classifications if needed. Positions related to permitting, monitoring, and
inspections will be covered by applicant fees, whereas those related to enforcement, tax collection,
public safety, and health and human services would be funded primarily by tax revenue or another
funding source.

Revision No. 20151201-1

13

Permitting, Monitoring, Inspection Staff
Funding Source: fees
Total Estimated Cost = $2,180,000 - $3,010,000
Total Estimated Staff = 13 - 21 Full Time Equivalents (FTE)
Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures
Estimated cost = $700,000 - $1,000,000 annually, plus initial one-time costs.
Estimated staffing need: 3 to 6 Biologists and Environmental Specialists and 1 support staff.
Permit and Resource Management Department
Estimated cost = $750,000 - $950,000 annually, plus initial one-time costs.
Estimated staffing need: 4 to 6 FTE Planners, Permit Technician and Environmental Health Specialist and
1 to 2 support staff.
Department of Health Services
Estimated cost = $410,000 - $575,000 annually, plus initial one-time costs.
Estimated staffing need: 2 to 3 FTE Environmental Health Specialists and Program Manager.
Fire and Emergency Services Department
Estimated cost = $300,000 - $400,000 annually, plus initial one-time costs.
Estimated staffing need: 1.5 to 2 FTE Fire Inspectors and 1 support staff.
County Counsel’s Office
Estimated cost = $300,000 - $400,000 annually, plus initial one-time costs.
Estimated staffing need: 1.5 to 2 FTE Deputy County Counsel.
Code Enforcement
Funding Source: Cannabis Business Tax, fines, penalties or other
Total Estimated Cost = $1,220,000 - $2,040,000
Total Estimated Staff = 8 - 14 FTE
Permit and Resource Management Department
Estimated cost = $700,000 - $1,200,000 annually, plus initial one-time costs.
Estimated staffing need: 4 to 8 FTE Code Enforcement Officers, Supervisor and/or Manager and 1 FTE
support staff.
County Counsel’s Office
Estimated cost = $520,000 - $840,000 annually, plus initial one-time costs.
Estimated staffing need: 2 to 3 FTE Deputy County Counsel and 1 to 2 FTE support staff.
Tax Collection and Auditing
Funding Source: Cannabis Business Tax and fees
Auditor Control Treasurer Tax Collector
Estimated cost = $450,000 - $600,000 annually, plus initial one-time costs.
Estimated staffing need: 3 to 4 FTE tax collection and audit services
Other Services
Funding Source: Cannabis Business Tax or other
Once the tax is enacted or another funding source is secured, staff will return with a specific proposal to
address impacts related to public safety, health and human services, administration and environmental
cleanup.

Revision No. 20151201-1

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Attachments:
Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance and Rules
Attachment A: Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance
Exhibit A-1 Definitions
Exhibit A-2 Standards
Exhibit A-3 Dispensary
Exhibit A-4 Personal Standards
Exhibit A-5 Exclusion Zone
Exhibit A-6 Inclusion Zone
Attachment B: Land Use Ordinance Summary Table
Attachment C: Agricultural Commissioner’s Cultivation Best Management Practices
Attachment D: Resolution Amending the Uniform Rules for Agricultural Preserves
Attachment E: Amended Uniform Rules for Agricultural Preserves (Redline)
Medical Cannabis Health Ordinance
Attachment F: Medical Cannabis Health Ordinance (Clean)
Attachment G: Medical Cannabis Health Ordinance (Redline)
Attachment H: Resolution Introducing, Reading Title of, and Waiving Reading of Medical Cannabis
Health Ordinance
Attachment I: Medical Cannabis Health Ordinance Summary
Cannabis Business Tax Ordinance
Attachment J: Proposed Cannabis Business Tax Ordinance
Attachment K: Resolution Introducing, Reading Title of, and Waiving Reading of Cannabis Business Tax
Ordinance
Attachment L: Resolution Declaring Emergency and Calling a Special Election
Attachment M: Cannabis Taxation Memo
Related Items “On File” with the Clerk of the Board:
Task Force Economic Impact Report

Revision No. 20151201-1

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Attachment A
Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

ORDINANCE NO. _____
An Ordinance Of The Board Of Supervisors Of The County Of Sonoma, State Of
California, Adopting a Negative Declaration and Amending Text Of Chapter 26 (Zoning
Ordinance) Of The Sonoma County Code To Allow Personal Cultivation of Cannabis
and Permit Cultivation of Commercial Medical Cannabis and Support Land Uses in
Various Zoning Districts, Adopting New Definitions and Establishing Special Use
Regulations.
The Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma, State of California, ordains as
follows:
SECTION I. Findings. The Board finds and declares the following:
A.

The adoption of this Ordinance is necessary and desirable to protect the public
health, safety and environmental resources, ensure safe access to medical
cannabis for patients, provide a regulatory path to permit an existing
underground industry, foster a healthy, diverse and economically viable medical
cannabis industry that contributes to the local economy, provide opportunity to
help stabilize farm incomes, enhance enforcement methods for unpermitted and
trespass cannabis cultivation, and ensure that environmental, public health,
safety and nuisance factors related to the cannabis industry are adequately
addressed.

B.

The Federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 801 et seq., classifies
cannabis as a Schedule I Drug; as such, it is unlawful, under federal law, for any
person to cultivate, manufacture, distribute or dispense, or possess with intent
to manufacture, distribute or dispense, marijuana. There is no federal
exemption for the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, dispensation, or
possession of cannabis for medical purposes.

C.

In 1996, the voters of the State of California approved Proposition 215, “The
Compassionate Use Act” (codified as Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5),
which was intended to decriminalize cultivation and possession of medical
marijuana by a seriously ill patient, or the patient’s primary caregiver, for the
patient’s personal use, and to create a limited defense to the crimes of
possessing or cultivating cannabis. The Compassionate Use Act further provided
that nothing in it shall be construed to supersede legislation prohibiting persons

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Attachment A
Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

from engaging in conduct that endangers others, or to condone the diversion of
cannabis for non-medical purposes.
D.

The State enacted SB 420 in 2004 (known as the “Medical Marijuana Program
Act”, codified as Health and Safety Code Section 11362.7 et seq.) to expand and
clarify the scope of The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 by creating the Medical
Marijuana Identification Card program, creating reasonable regulations for
cultivating, processing, transporting and administering medical cannabis, as well
as limiting the amount of medical cannabis a qualified individual may possess.

E.

The Medical Marijuana Program Act defines a “primary caregiver” as an
individual who is designated by a qualified patient or by a person with an
identification card, and who has consistently assumed responsibility for the
housing, health, or safety of that patient or person and is further defined in the
California Supreme Court decision People v. Mentch (2008) 45 Cal.4th 274.

F.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors adopted Medical Marijuana Possession
and Cultivation Guidelines on September 26, 2006 by Resolution 06-0846. The
Guidelines provide a limited defense to prosecution or other sanction by the
County of Sonoma which is only available to someone who possesses or
cultivates marijuana for personal medical use. These Guidelines are not zoning
code regulations, and they do not allow and do not regulate any manner of
cultivation, growing, or delivery of marijuana.

G.

The State enacted the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) on
September 11, 2015 (SB 643, AB 266, and AB 243), instituting a comprehensive
state-level licensure and regulatory scheme for cultivation, manufacturing,
distribution, transportation, laboratory testing, and dispensing of medical
cannabis through numerous changes and additions to the Business & Professions
Code and the Health and Safety Code. MMRSA legalizes and regulates for-profit
commercial activity related to medical marijuana in California. MMRSA provides
that cities and counties retain local regulatory authority over medical cannabis.

H.

On June 27, 2016 the Governor signed SB 837, changing the term “marijuana” to
“cannabis” and renaming the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act
(Cannabis Act).

I.

The State’s adoption of a comprehensive statewide licensing and enforcement

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Attachment A
Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

scheme for medical cannabis operations will facilitate local jurisdictions to
regulate medical cannabis at the local level, and permit fees will help pay for
additional enforcement staff.
J.

Although Sonoma County’s zoning ordinance does not permit cannabis
cultivation or other medical cannabis activities besides dispensaries within the
unincorporated area of the County, there are an estimated several thousand
unregulated cannabis cultivation sites within the County that are unlawful under
the permissive zoning of the County Code. The County has long had insufficient
resources to bring code enforcement or nuisance actions against the vast
majority of these cultivation sites.

K.

On February 2, 2016, the Board of Supervisors, at an open public meeting,
directed staff to bring forward a zoning ordinance allowing but regulating
cannabis cultivation and related commercial support uses within the
jurisdictional boundaries of Sonoma County.

L.

On November 8, 2016 the voters of California adopted Proposition 64 which
legalized the use of cannabis for adult use and established a maximum
cultivation allowance of 6 plants for personal use. The Proposition allows for
local control of adult use cannabis land uses, and reasonable regulation of
personal cultivation of up to 6 plants per residence.

M.

Children (minors under the age of 18) are particularly vulnerable to the effects of
cannabis use, and the presence of cannabis plants or products is an attractive
nuisance for children, creating an unreasonable hazard in areas frequented by
children (including schools, parks, and other similar locations).

N.

The unregulated cultivation of cannabis in the unincorporated area of Sonoma
County can adversely affect the health, safety, and well-being of the County, its
residents and environment. Comprehensive civil regulation of premises used for
cannabis cultivation, including zoning regulation, is proper and necessary to
reduce the risks of criminal activity, degradation of the natural environment,
malodorous smells, and indoor electrical fire hazards that may result from
unregulated cannabis cultivation.

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Attachment A
Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

O.

Comprehensive regulation of premises used for cannabis cultivation or
commercial activities related to cannabis is proper and necessary to address the
risks and adverse impacts as stated herein.

P.

Outdoor cannabis cultivation, especially within the remote hillside areas, is
creating devastating impacts to California’s surface and groundwater resources.
The State Water Resources Control Board, the North Coast Regional Water
Quality Control Board, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board
and the Department of Fish and Wildlife have seen a dramatic increase in the
number of cannabis cultivation operations, and corresponding increases in
impacts to water supply and water quality, including the discharges into water of
sediments, pesticides, fertilizers, petroleum hydrocarbons, trash and human
waste. These impacts result from unpermitted and unregulated timber clearing,
road development, stream diversion for irrigation, land grading, erosion of
disturbed surfaces and stream banks, and temporary human occupancy without
proper sanitary facilities.

Q.

The defense to prosecution provided to qualified patients and their primary
caregivers under the Compassionate Use Act and the Board’s prior Resolution to
cultivate cannabis plants for medical purposes does not confer the right to
establish a land use not expressly allowed in zoning or to create or maintain a
public nuisance. By adopting the regulations contained in this Ordinance in
coordination with the Cannabis Act, the County intends to minimize the risks and
complaints regarding fire, odor, crime and pollution caused or threatened by the
unregulated cultivation of cannabis in the unincorporated area of Sonoma
County.

R.

Nothing in this Ordinance shall be construed to allow the use of cannabis or
allow any activity relating to the cultivation or consumption of cannabis that is
otherwise not expressly allowed in the Sonoma County Code or is illegal under
State law.

S.

This ordinance is intended to be Phase I of this policy effort to provide an initial
opportunity to legalize existing unpermitted medical cannabis operations, where
appropriate and steer the industry to appropriate locations. The Board may
consider expanded opportunities for additional commercial cannabis operations
in Phase II.

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Attachment A
Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

T.

This ordinance is consistent with the overall goals, objectives, policies and
programs of the General Plan to promote a healthy and competitive agricultural,
stabilize farm incomes and provide opportunities for diversification of
agricultural products; protect Important Farmlands; preserve biotic resources;
promote energy conservation and use of renewable energy; minimize discharge
of sediment, waste and other pollutants into the drainage systems; protect
groundwater resources; encourage graywater systems and use of recycled
water.

U.

An Initial Study and Negative Declaration were prepared and circulated to the
public for a 30-day period from September 30 to October 31, 2016. The
Negative Declaration has been reviewed and considered, together with
comments received during the public review process, in accordance with the
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and County CEQA Guidelines. The
Board finds on the basis of the whole record before it that the Negative
Declaration reflects the independent judgment and analysis of the Board and
that there is no substantial evidence that the project will have a significant effect
on the environment. The Director of Permit and Resource Management
Department is directed to file a Notice of Determination in accordance with
CEQA.

SECTION II. Chapter 26 of the Sonoma County Code is amended as follows:
A.
Amendments to Definitions. Section 26-02-140 (Definitions) of Chapter 26 of
the Sonoma County Code (Zoning Ordinance) is amended to replace and add the
following definitions as shown in Exhibit A-1 attached hereto.
B.

Amendments to Zoning Districts for Commercial Medical Cannabis Uses. The
following Subsections of Chapter 26 of the Sonoma County Code are added for
Permitted Uses:
Section 26-04-010 (o) – LIA Land Intensive Agriculture District
Section 26-06-010 (s) – LEA Land Extensive Agriculture District
Section 26-08-010 (r) – DA Diverse Agriculture District
Section 26-10-010 (ll) – RRD Rural and Resource Development District
Section 26-44-020 (u) – MP Industrial Park
Section 26-46-020 (t) – M1 Limited Urban Industrial
Section 26-48-020 (y) – M2 Heavy Industrial

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Attachment A
Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

Section 26-50-020 (r) – M3 Limited Rural Industrial
to read as follows:
“Commercial cannabis medical uses in compliance with Section 26-88-250
through 256”
C.

The following Subsections of Chapter 26 of the Sonoma County Code are added
for Uses Permitted with a Use Permit:
Section 26-04-020 (r) – LIA Land Intensive Agriculture
Section 26-06-020 (t) – LEA Land Extensive Agriculture
Section 26-08-020 (t) – DA Diverse Agriculture
Section 26-10-020 (tt) – RRD Rural and Resource Development
Section 26-16-020 (z) – AR Agriculture and Residential
Section 26-18-020 (y) – RR Rural Residential
Section 26-44-020 (q) – MP Industrial Park
Section 26-46-020 (aa) – M1 Limited Urban Industrial
Section 26-48-020 (z) – M2 Heavy Industrial
Section 26-50-020 (aa) – M3 Limited Rural Industrial
Section 26-34-020 (ll)- C3 General Commercial District
Section 26-36-020 (qq) – LC Limited Commercial
to read as follows:
“Commercial cannabis medical uses in compliance with Section 26-88-250
through -256”

D.

Standards for Commercial Cannabis Medical Uses. Article 88 of Chapter 26 of
the County Code is hereby amended to add Subsection 26-88-250 – 256
(Cannabis Cultivation and Related Land Uses) as shown in Exhibit B attached
hereto.

E.

Medical Cannabis Dispensaries. The following Subsections of Chapter 26 of the
Sonoma County Code are amended
Section 26-30-020 (z) – C1 Neighborhood Commercial

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Attachment A
Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

Section 26-32-020 (ee) – C2 Retail Business and Service
Section 26-36-020 (oo) – LC Limited Commercial
to read as follows:
“Medical Cannabis Dispensary, in compliance with Section 26-88-250 and 256”
The following Subsections are deleted in their entirety
Section 26-32-020 (ff) – C2 Retail Business and Service
Section 26-36-020 (pp) – LC Limited Commercial
F.

Medical Cannabis Dispensary. Article 88 of Chapter 26 of the County Code is
hereby amended to delete Subsection 26-88-126 Medical Cannabis Dispensary in
its entirety and replaced to add Subsection 26-88-256 Medical Cannabis
Dispensary to read as shown in Exhibit A-3 attached hereto.

G.

Amendments to Zoning Districts for Personal Cannabis Use. The following
Subsections of Chapter 26 of the Sonoma County Code are added for Permitted
Uses:
Section 26-04-010 (n) – LIA Land Intensive Agriculture District
Section 26-06-010 (r) – LEA Land Extensive Agriculture District
Section 26-08-010 (q) – DA Diverse Agriculture District
Section 26-10-010 (kk) – RRD Rural and Resource Development District
Section 26-16-010 (ff) – AR Agriculture and Residential District
Section 26-18-010 (bb) – RR Rural Residential
Section 26-20-010 (z) – R1 Low Density Residential District
Section 26-22-010 (u) – R2 Medium Density Residential District
Section 26-24-010 (z) – R3 High Density Residential District
Section 26-26-010 (t) (8) – PC Planned Community
to read as follows:
“Cannabis cultivation for personal use in compliance with Section 26-88-258”

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Attachment A
Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

H.

Standards for Personal Cannabis Use. Article 88 of Chapter 26 of the County
Code is hereby amended to add Subsection 26-88-258 (Cannabis Cultivation and
Related Land Uses) as shown in Exhibit A-4 attached hereto.

I.

Amendments to Zoning Districts for Internal Consistency. The following
Subsections of Chapter 26 of the Sonoma County Code are amended for
Permitted Uses:
Section 26-04-010 (d) – LIA Land Intensive Agriculture District
Section 26-06-010 (d) – LEA Land Extensive Agriculture District
Section 26-08-010 (d) – DA Diverse Agriculture District
Section 26-10-010 (d) – RRD Rural and Resource Development District
Section 26-16-010 (h) – AR Agriculture and Residential District
Section 26-18-010 (e) – RR Rural Residential
to read as follows:
“Outdoor crop production including wholesale nurseries, for growing and
harvesting of shrubs, plants, flowers, trees, vines, fruits, vegetables, hay, grain
and similar food and fiber crops other than cannabis, conducted and
maintained in compliance with Article 65, RC Riparian Corridor Combining
Zone;”

J.

The following Subsections of Chapter 26 of the Sonoma County Code are
amended for Permitted Uses:
Section 26-04-010 (o) – LIA Land Intensive Agriculture District
Section 26-06-010 (s) – LEA Land Extensive Agriculture District
Section 26-08-010 (r) – DA Diverse Agriculture District
to read as follows:
“Indoor crop production including wholesale nurseries for growing and
harvesting of shrubs, plants, flowers, trees, vines, fruits, vegetables, hay, grain
and similar food and fiber crops other than cannabis, in greenhouses or similar
structures less than twenty five hundred (2,500) square feet, conducted and
maintained in compliance with Article 65, RC Riparian Corridor Combining
Zone”;

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Attachment A
Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

K.

The following Subsections of Chapter 26 of the Sonoma County Code are
amended for Permitted Uses:
Section 26-10-010 (e) – RRD Rural and Resource Development District
Section 26-16-010 (i) – AR Agriculture and Residential District
Section 26-18-010 (g) – RR Rural Residential
to read as follows:
“Indoor growing and harvesting of shrubs, plants, flowers, trees, vines, fruits,
vegetables, hay, grain and similar food and fiber crops other than cannabis, in
greenhouse or similar structures less than eight hundred (800) square feet,
conducted and maintained in compliance with Article 65, RC Riparian Corridor
Combining Zone;”

L.

The following Subsections of Chapter 26 of the Sonoma County Code are
amended for Uses Permitted with a Use Permit:
Section 26-10-020 (h) – RRD Rural and Resource Development District
Section 26-16-020 (d) – AR Agriculture and Residential District
to read as follows:
“Indoor growing and harvesting of shrubs, plants, flowers, trees, vines, fruits,
vegetables, hay, grain and similar food and fiber crops other than cannabis, in
greenhouses or similar structures of eight hundred (800) square feet or more,
conducted and maintained in compliance with Article 65, RC Riparian Corridor
Combining Zone;”

SECTION III. 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.

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Attachment A
Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

SECTION IV. Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Chapter 26 of the County Code (Zoning
Ordinance) is a permissive ordinance and the amendments adopted herein do not
confer any rights or permits related to non-medical commercial cannabis uses, unless
expressly stated as an allowed use in the zoning ordinance.
SECTION V. Severability. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this
Ordinance is for any reason held to be unconstitutional and invalid, such decision shall
not affect the validity of the remaining portion(s) of this Ordinance. The Board of
Supervisors hereby declares that it would have passed this Ordinance and every section,
subsection, sentence, clause or phrase thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or
more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses or phrases be declared unconstitutional
or invalid.
SECTION VI. Effective Date. This Ordinance shall be and the same is hereby declared to
be in full force and effect from and after thirty (30) days after the date of its passage.
This Ordinance shall be published once before the expiration of fifteen (15) days after
adoption, with the names of the Supervisors voting for or against the same, in The Press
Democrat, a newspaper of general circulation published in the County of Sonoma, State
of California. Pursuant to Government Code Section 25124, complete copies of Exhibits
“A”, “B”, “C” and “D” to this ordinance are on file with the Clerk of the Board of
Supervisors and are available for public inspection and copying during regular business
hours in the office of the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, 575 Administration Drive,
Room 100A, Santa Rosa, California. Complete copies of the Exhibits are also available for
public review on the County’s website at:
http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/CAO/Cannabis/Proposed-Cannabis-Ordinance/
Applications for Commercial Cannabis Uses, other than Commercial Medical Cannabis
Dispensaries in compliance with Section 26-88-250 and 256 shall not be accepted until a
proposed Commercial Cannabis Tax is approved by the voters of Sonoma County, or a
funding source has been established to provide the public service and code
enforcement capacity to implement this ordinance.
SECTION VII. Custodian of Documents. The Clerk of the Board of Supervisors shall be
the custodian of the documents and other materials which constitute the record of the
proceedings upon which the Board’s decision is based. These documents may be found
at the office of the Clerk of the Board, 575 Administration Drive, Room 100-A, Santa
Rosa, California 95403.

Page 10 of 11

Attachment A
Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

IN REGULAR SESSION of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma,
introduced, passed, and adopted this ___ day of ___________, 2016, on regular roll call
of the members of said Board by the following vote:
Supervisors:
Gorin:
Ayes:

Rabbit:

Zane:
Noes:

Gore:
Absent:

Carrillo:
Abstain: 0

So Ordered.
WHEREUPON, the Chair declared the above foregoing Ordinance duly adopted and
SO ORDERED.

_____________________________
Chair, Board of Supervisors
County of Sonoma

ATTEST:
____________________________
Sheryl Bratton
Clerk of the Board of Supervisors

ATTACHMENTS
Exhibit A-1 – Definitions Section 26-02-140
Exhibit A-2– Commercial Cannabis Medical Uses Section 26-88-250 through 254
Exhibit A-3 – Medical Cannabis Dispensary Section 26-88-256
Exhibit A-4 – Personal Cannabis Use Section 26-88-258
Exhibit A-5 – Exclusion Zone
Exhibit A-6 – Inclusion Zone

Page 11 of 11

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-1
Definitions

Amendments to Definitions in Section 26-02-140
Section 26-02-140 Definitions of the Sonoma County Code is amended to delete or replace certain
definitions and add definitions in alphabetical order to read as shown below:

SECTION 1: The following definitions shall be replaced to read as follows:
Agricultural crop: Any cultivated crop grown and harvested for commercial purposes, except for
cannabis and other controlled substances, which are defined and classified separately.
Agricultural cultivation: The act of preparing the soil for the raising of agricultural crops, as defined
herein.
Cannabis Dispensary: a facility operated in accordance with state law, where medical cannabis, medical
cannabis products or devices for the use of medical cannabis are offered, either individually or in any
combination, for retail sale, including an establishment that delivers medical cannabis or medical
cannabis products as part of a retail sale.

SECTION 2: The following definitions are added in their alphabetical order to read as follows:
Agency Having Jurisdiction: The agency having delegated authority to adopt, determine, mandate or
enforce ordinances and regulatory requirements established by the County of Sonoma and other
jurisdictional governing bodies.
Cannabis: All parts of the plant Cannabis sativa Linnaeus, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis, or any
other strain or varietal of the genus Cannabis that may exist or hereafter be discovered or developed that
has psychoactive or medicinal properties, whether growing or not, including the seeds thereof.
“Cannabis” also means marijuana as defined by Section 11018 of the Health and Safety Code as enacted
by Chapter 1407 of the Statutes of 1972. For the purpose of this section, “cannabis” does not mean
“industrial hemp” as defined by Section 81000 of the Food and Agricultural Code or Section 11018.5 of
the Health and Safety Code. Cannabis is classified as an agricultural product separately from other
agricultural crops.
Cannabis Cultivation: Any activity involving the planting, growing, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, or
trimming of cannabis for medical use, including nurseries, that is intended to be transported, processed,
distributed, dispensed, delivered, or sold in accordance with the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety
Act (MCRSA) for use by medical cannabis patients in California pursuant to the Compassionate Use Act
of 1996 (Proposition 215), found at Section 11362.5 of the Health and Safety Code.
Cannabis Cultivation Area: The total aggregate area(s) of cannabis cultivation on a single premise as
measured around the outermost perimeter of each separate and discrete area of cannabis cultivation at
the dripline of the canopy expected at maturity and includes, but is not limited to, the space between
plants within the cultivation area, the exterior dimensions of garden beds, garden plots, hoop houses,
green houses, and each room or area where cannabis plants are grown, as determined by the review
authority.
Cannabis Cultivation – Indoor: Cultivation of cannabis using exclusively artificial lighting.
Cannabis Cultivation - Mixed-Light: Cultivation of cannabis using any combination of natural and
supplemental artificial lighting. Greenhouses, hoop houses, hot houses and similar structures or light
deprivation systems are included in this category.

1

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-1
Definitions

Cannabis Cultivation – Outdoor: Cultivation of cannabis using no artificial lighting conducted in the
ground or in containers outdoors with no covering. Outdoor cultivation does not include greenhouses,
hoop houses, hot houses or similar structures.
Cannabis Cultivation Site: The premise(s), leased area(s), property, location or facility where medical
cannabis is planted, grown, harvested, dried, cured, graded, or trimmed or that does all or any
combination of those activities.
Cannabis Cultivation Type: The type of cultivation is classified as outdoor, indoor or mixed-light as
defined herein, consistent with the state licensing scheme.
Cannabis Distribution Facility: The location or a facility where a person conducts the business of
procuring medical cannabis from licensed cultivators or manufacturers for sale to licensed dispensaries,
and the inspection, quality assurance, batch testing by a Type 8 licensee, storage, labeling, packaging
and other processes prior to transport to licensed dispensaries. This Facility requires a Type 11 license
pursuant to the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA).
Cannabis Licensee: A person issued a state license under the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety
Act to engage in commercial cannabis activity.
Cannabis Manufacturer: A person that produces, prepares, propagates, or compounds manufactured
medical cannabis, or medical cannabis products either directly or indirectly or by extraction methods, or
independently by means of chemical synthesis or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis
at a fixed location that packages or repackages medical cannabis or medical cannabis products or labels
or relabels its container, that holds a valid state license and that holds a valid local license or permit.
Manufactured cannabis means raw cannabis that has undergone a process whereby the raw agricultural
product has been transformed into a concentrate, an edible product, or a topical product.
Cannabis Manufacturing: A location that produces, prepares, propagates, or compounds manufactured
medical cannabis or medical cannabis products, directly or indirectly, by extraction methods,
independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis,
and is owned and operated by a licensee for these activities.
Cannabis – Medical: Any product containing cannabis, including but not limited to flowers, buds, oils,
tinctures, concentrates, extractions, and edibles intended to be sold for use by medical cannabis patients
in California pursuant to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Proposition 215), found at Section 11362.5
of the Health and Safety Code. For the purposes of this chapter, medical cannabis does not include
industrial hemp as defined by Section 81000 of the Food and Agricultural Code or Section 11018.5 of the
Health and Safety Code.
Cannabis Operator: The natural person or designated officer responsible for the operation of any
commercial cannabis use.
Cannabis product, medical cannabis, or medical cannabis product: Any product containing
cannabis, including but not limited to flowers, buds, oils, tinctures, concentrates, extractions, and edibles
intended to be sold for use by medical cannabis patients in California pursuant to the Compassionate Use
Act of 1996 (Proposition 215), found at Section 11362.5 of the Health and Safety Code. For the purposes
of this chapter, medical cannabis does not include industrial hemp as defined by Section 81000 of the
Food and Agricultural Code or Section 11018.5 of the Health and Safety Code.
Crop production: The commercial growing and harvesting of agricultural crops including horticultural or
ornamental shrubs, plants, flowers, trees, vines, fruits, vegetables, hay, grain and similar food and fiber
crops or agricultural commodities, except for cannabis or other controlled substances, which shall be
defined and classified separately.

2

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-1
Definitions

Person: An individual, firm, partnership, joint venture, association, corporation, limited liability company,
estate, trust, business trust, receiver, syndicate, tribe, or any other group or combination acting as a unit
and includes the plural as well as the singular number.
Premise(s): A legal parcel, or a leasehold interest in land, or a leased or owned space in a building.
Cannabis license: A state license issued pursuant to the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act
(MCRSA).
Greenhouse: A temporary or permanent structure, including hothouses, hoop houses and similar
structures for the covered propagation and growing of plants, constructed with a translucent roof and/or
walls.
Marijuana: See Cannabis
Medical Marijuana: See Cannabis – Medical
Nursery – Wholesale Greenhouse: An establishment engaged in the commercial production of trees,
plants, seeds, stock, and other vegetation grown within a commercial greenhouse for wholesale
distribution to other businesses. Wholesale greenhouse nursery does not include cannabis nurseries
which are classified separately.
Nursery – Wholesale: An establishment engaged in the commercial production of trees, plants, seeds,
stock, and other vegetation grown on site outdoors either in the ground or in containers for wholesale
distribution to other businesses. Wholesale nursery does not include cannabis nurseries which are
classified separately. Wholesale nursery may include greenhouses up to 2,500 square feet in size.
Nursery – Retail: An establishment engaged in the propagation of trees, shrubs and horticultural and
ornamental plants grown under cover or outdoors for sale to the public. Includes commercial scale
greenhouses and establishments for the sale of plant materials, lawn and garden supplies, and related
items. Retail nursery does not include cannabis nurseries which are classified separately.
Nursery – Cannabis: An establishment that produces only clones, immature plants, and seeds for
wholesale distribution to permitted cultivators or dispensaries, used specifically for the planting,
propagation, and cultivation of medical cannabis.
Review Authority. The individual or official County body (the Director, Commission, or Board) and others
as identified in the County Code as having the responsibility and authority to review and approve or deny
land use permit applications.
Volatile solvent: Volatile solvents may include but is not limited to: (1) explosive gases, such as Butane,
Propane, Xylene, Styrene, Gasoline, Kerosene, 02 or H2; and (2) dangerous poisons, toxins, or
carcinogens, such as Methanol, Methylene Chloride, Acetone, Benzene, Toluene, and Tri-chloro-ethylene
as determined by the Fire Marshall.

3

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

Section 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 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 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
1

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

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 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.
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.
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
2

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

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.

3

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

1

1

DA

1

RRD

1

Timber
Preserve

STATE
LICENSE
TYPE

Resources and
Rural
Development

MINIMUM
PARCEL
SIZE

Diverse
Agriculture

MAXIMUM
CULTIVATION
AREA (square
feet or plants)

Land Intensive
Agriculture

LAND USE

Land Extensive
Agriculture

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

Special Use
Regulations

TP

LIA

LEA

P

P

P

P

P

MEDICAL AND ADULT USE CANNABIS
100 sq ft
including up to 6
plants for adult
use, per
residence

Personal Cultivation

None

Exempt

MEDICAL CANNABIS USES
Nursery
Wholesale (outdoor)

43,560

4

CUP

CUP

CUP

CUP

Wholesale (indoor/greenhouse)

22,000

4

CUP2

CUP

CUP

CUP

2 ac

1C

ZP

ZP

ZP

MUP

ZP

ZP

CUP

26-88-250 - 254

Outdoor Cultivation
Cottage

25 plants

Specialty Outdoor
Small Outdoor
Medium Outdoor

5,000 sq. ft. or 50
plants
5,001 - 10,000

3 ac

1

CUP

5 ac

2

CUP

ZP

ZP

CUP

10,001 - 43,560

10 ac

3

CUP

CUP

CUP

CUP

500

None3

1C

ZP2

ZP

ZP/2ac

MUP

3

1A
2A

CUP2

CUP2

CUP/2ac2

CUP2

Indoor Cultivation
Cottage
Specialty Indoor

501 - 5,000

Small Indoor

5,001 - 10,000

None
None

Medium Indoor

10,001 - 22,000

None

3A

2,500

2 ac

1C

ZP2

ZP

ZP

MUP

Specialty Mixed Light

2,501 - 5,000

3 ac

1B

CUP2

CUP

CUP

CUP

Small Mixed Light

5,001 - 10,000

5 ac

2B

CUP

CUP

CUP

Medium Mixed Light

10,001 - 22,000

10 ac

3B

CUP2

Mixed Light Cultivation
Cottage

P
ZP
MUP
CUP

Notes:

TYPE OF PERMIT REQUIRED
Permitted Use
Permitted Use; Zoning Permit Required
Conditionally Permitted Use; Minor Use Permit required
Conditionally Permitted Use; Use Permit required
Use not allowed
1 Commercial Medical Cannabis Uses on properties with a Land Conservation (Williamson Act) Act Contract are
subject to Uniform Rules for Agricultural Preserves.
2 Within existing previously developed areas or legally established structures built (finaled) prior to January 1, 2016
3 2 acre minimum lot size in the DA, AR, or RR zones

4

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

Medium Density
Residential

High Density
Residential

Planned
Community

MINIMUM STATE
PARCEL LICENSE
SIZE
TYPE

Low Density
Residential

MAXIMUM
CULTIVATION
AREA (square
feet or plants)

Rural Residential

LAND USE

Agriculture and
Residential

Table 1B: Allowed Cannabis Uses and Permit Requirements for Residential Zones

AR

RR

R1

R2

R3

PC

Special Use
Regulations

MEDICAL AND ADULT USE CANNABIS
100 sq ft
including up to 6
plants for adult
use, per
residence

None

Exempt

P

P

P

P

P

P

Wholesale (outdoor)

43,560

None

4

Wholesale (indoor/greenhouse)

22,000

None

4

Personal Cultivation1

MEDICAL CANNABIS USES
Nursery

Outdoor Cultivation
Cottage

25 plants

2 ac

1C

MUP

MUP

5,000 sq. ft. or 50
plants

3 ac

1

Small Outdoor

5,001 - 10,000

5 ac

2

Medium Outdoor

10,001 - 43,560

10 ac

3

Specialty Outdoor

Indoor Cultivation
Cottage

500

2 ac

1C

MUP

MUP

501 - 5,000

None

1A

Small Indoor

5,001 - 10,000

None

2A

Medium Indoor

10,001 - 22,000

None

3A

Specialty Indoor

Mixed Light Cultivation
Cottage

2,500

2 ac

1C

MUP

MUP

Specialty Mixed Light

2,501 - 5,000

3 ac

1B

Small Mixed Light

5,001 - 10,000

5 ac

2B

Medium Mixed Light

10,001 - 22,000

10 ac

3B

P
ZP
MUP
CUP

Notes

TYPE OF PERMIT REQUIRED
Permitted Use
Permitted Use; Zoning Permit Required
Conditionally Permitted Use; Minor Use Permit required
Conditionally Permitted Use; Use Permit required
Use not allowed
1 Personal Outdoor Cultivation is prohibited in multifamily units and in the R2 and R3 zones

5

26-88-250 - 254

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

General Commercial

Limited Commercial

Commercial Rural

Agricultural Services

Recreation and Visitor
Serving Commercial

STATE
LICENSE
TYPE

Retail Business and
Service

MAXIMUM
CULTIVATION
AREA (square
feet or plants)

Neighborhood
Commercial

LAND USE

Administrative and
Professional Office

Table 1C: Allowed Cannabis Uses and Permit Requirements for Commercial Zones

CO

C1

C2

C3

LC

CR

AS

K

Special Use Regulations

MEDICAL AND ADULT USE CANNABIS

1

Personal Cultivation

100 sq ft
including up to 6
plants for adult
use, per
residence

None

Exempt

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

per use permit

8

CUP

CUP

MEDICAL CANNABIS USES
Testing/Laboratories
Dispensary/Retail Sales
Storefront and Delivery

per use permit

10

CUP

CUP

CUP

Dispensary, no more than 3 retail sites

per use permit

10A

CUP

CUP

CUP

TYPE OF PERMIT REQUIRED
P
ZP
MUP
CUP

Notes

Permitted Use
Permitted Use; Zoning Permit Required
Conditionally Permitted Use; Minor Use Permit required
Conditionally Permitted Use; Use Permit required
Use not allowed
1 Personal Outdoor Cultivation is prohibited in multifamily units and in the R2 and R3 zones

6

26-88-250, 252, and 256

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

Public Facilities

STATE
LICENSE
TYPE

Limited Rural
Industrial

MINIMUM
PARCEL
SIZE

Heavy Industrial

MAXIMUM
CULTIVATION
AREA (square
feet or plants)

Limited Urban
Industrial

LAND USE

Industrial Park

Table 1D: Allowed Cannabis Uses and Permit Requirements for Industrial Zones

MP

M1

M2

M3

PF

P

P

P

P

P

Special Use
Regulations

MEDICAL AND ADULT USE CANNABIS

1

Personal Cultivation

100 sq ft
including up to 6
plants for adult
use, per
residence

None

Exempt

MEDICAL CANNABIS USES
Nursery
Wholesale (outdoor)

43,560

4

Wholesale (indoor/greenhouse)

22,000

4

CUP

CUP

CUP

CUP

Indoor Cultivation
500

1C

ZP

ZP

ZP

ZP

501 - 5,000

1A

MUP

MUP

MUP

MUP

Small Indoor

5,001 - 10,000

2A

CUP

CUP

CUP

CUP

Medium Indoor

10,001 - 22,000

3A

CUP

CUP

CUP

CUP

Cottage
Specialty Indoor

Mixed Light Cultivation
Cottage
Specialty Mixed Light

2,500

2 ac

1C

CUP

CUP

CUP

2,501 - 5,000

3 ac

1B

CUP

CUP

CUP

Small Mixed Light

5,001 - 10,000

5 ac

2B

CUP

CUP

CUP

Medium Mixed Light

10,001 - 22,000

10 ac

3B

CUP

CUP

CUP

8

CUP

6

CUP

CUP

CUP

CUP

7

Testing/Laboratories

per use permit

Manufacturing
Level 1-nonvolatile solvents

per use permit

Level 2- volatile solvents
Distributor

per use permit

11

CUP

CUP

CUP

Transporter

per use permit

12

CUP

CUP

CUP

TYPE OF PERMIT REQUIRED
P
ZP
MUP
CUP

Notes

Permitted Use
Permitted Use; Zoning Permit Required
Conditionally Permitted Use; Minor Use Permit required
Conditionally Permitted Use; Use Permit required
Use not allowed
1 Personal Outdoor Cultivation is prohibited in multifamily units and in the R2 and R3 zones

7

26-88-250 -252

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

Section 26-88-252 Enforcement.
(a) Violations.
1. Any activity performed contrary to the provisions of Sections 26-88-250 through
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 258 shall constitute a
violation of this Chapter.
3. Each and every day during any portion of which any violation of Sections 26-88250 through 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 1-7.3 of 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 258 poses 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.

8

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

(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.
(f) 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 1-7.3 of 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 day may constitute a separate violation on each day, at the
discretion of the agency having jurisdiction.

9

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

Cannabis Administrative Citation Schedule

Violation
Exceedance of Allowed or
Permitted Cultivation Area
Non-compliance with a
Standard or Condition
Unpermitted Cannabis Use
other than cultivation area

First
Offense
$20 per
square foot
$1,000

Second
Offense
$30 per
square foot
$5,000

Third
Offense
$50 per
square foot
$10,000

$10,000

$25,000

$50,000

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) for the first violation; no more than twenty-five thousand dollars
($25,000) for the second violation within two (2) years; and no more than fifty
thousand dollars ($50,000) 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) per square foot of cultivation or cannabis
use area for the first offense; no more than thirty dollars ($30) per square foot
of the cultivation or cannabis use area for the second offense; and no more
than fifty dollars ($50) 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

10

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

administrative process. Acts, omissions, or conditions in violation of this
Section that continue, exist, or occur on more than one 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 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 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

11

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

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
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Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

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.

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26-88-254

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

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 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 cottage cultivation type may be
permitted in residential zones. No more than one cultivation use/operator may be
14

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

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 43,560 sf; Indoor/Mixed Light
maximum is 22,000 sf).
(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. 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 nurseries shall exceed one acre in size.

(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 100
feet from property lines and a minimum of 300 feet from occupied residences and
businesses on surrounding properties. Outdoor cultivation sites and
greenhouses/ mixed light structures shall be setback a minimum of 600 feet 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 100 feet from property lines and a minimum of 300 feet
from occupied residences and businesses on surrounding properties in
agricultural, resource and residential zones. Mixed Light/greenhouses in
industrial zones shall be setback 300 feet from occupied residences on
surrounding properties. Greenhouses/mixed light structures in all zones shall be
setback a minimum of 600 feet from a school providing education to K-12 grades,
a public park, childcare center, or an alcohol or drug treatment facility. The
15

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

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
an expert biological study 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 in-ground cultivation areas and
all indoor or mixed light cultivation and related processing facilities shall be
located outside the Riparian Corridor Stream Conservation Areas (RC combining
zone) and outside any designated Biotic Habitat area (BH combining zone).
Outdoor above ground cultivation areas shall conform to the agricultural Riparian
Corridor setback set forth in Section 26-64-050.
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,
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Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

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 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.
17

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Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

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 15 percent, 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.

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(16)

Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

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 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 in residential zones.
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)

Residency Requirement. Within residential zoning districts the operator shall
reside full-time on the premises where the cultivation is occurring.

(3)

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.

(4)

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 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.

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Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

(5)

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.

(6)

Hours or Operation. Outdoor harvesting activities and indoor or mixed light
cultivation activities may be conducted seven days a week, 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 am to 5 pm, unless a
use permit is obtained.

(7)

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

(8)

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.

(9)

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 nonabsorbent, 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 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.

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Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

(10)

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.

(11)

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 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,

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Exhibit A-2
Allowed Land Uses and Specific Use Standards

rainwater catchment or recycled water reuse system, water
recharge project, or participation in a local groundwater
management project; or
b.

c.

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
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.
ii.

iii.

result in or exacerbate an overdraft condition in basin or
aquifer;
result in reduction of critical flow in nearby streams; or
result in well interference at offsite wells.

(12)

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 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.

(13)

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.

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Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-3
Dispensary Regulations

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 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 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

1

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-3
Dispensary Regulations

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 six hundred feet
(600′) 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 six hundred feet
(600′) from any public or private school, park, 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.
(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
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Exhibit A-3
Dispensary Regulations

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 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.
(Ord. No. 5967, § I, 1-31-2012; Ord. No. 5748 § 2, 2007; Ord. No. 5715 § 2, 2007.)

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Exhibit A-4
Cannabis Personal Use Standards

Section 26-88-258 Cannabis Cultivation – Personal
(a) Purpose. This section establishes development criteria and operating standards for
personal cannabis cultivation for medical or adult use. Cultivation of cannabis for
personal use shall be subject to the following standards and limitations as allowed in the
base zone in compliance with Section 26-88-250. These standards shall apply to any
cannabis growing environment including, but not limited to, outdoor, mixed
light/greenhouse or indoor environments.
1) Residency Requirement. Cultivation of cannabis for personal use is limited to
parcels with a residence and a full-time resident on the premises where the
cultivation is occurring.
2) Maximum Personal Cultivation. Cultivation of cannabis for personal use is limited
to no more than 100 square feet per residence, of which up to 6 plants can be
cultivated for adult use purposes.
3) Prohibition of Volatile Solvents. The use of volatile solvents as defined herein to
manufacture cannabis products is prohibited.
4) Outdoor Personal Cultivation. Cannabis plants shall not be located in front and
side yard setback areas and shall not be visible from a public right of way. Outdoor
cannabis cultivation is prohibited on parcels with multi-family units or in the medium
and high density residential zones (R2 and R3).
5) Indoor and Mixed-Light Personal Cultivation.
i.

Indoor and mixed light personal cultivation must be contained within an
enclosed accessory structure, greenhouse or garage. Cultivation within a
structure approved for residential use as set forth in Chapter 7 of the County
Code is prohibited, unless there is no other feasible alternative location.

ii.

All structures (including greenhouses) used for cultivation must be legally
constructed with all applicable permits such as grading, building, electrical,
mechanical and plumbing.

iii.

All structures associated with the cultivation shall not be located in the front
yard setback area and shall adhere to the setbacks stated within the base
zone. There shall be no exterior evidence of cannabis cultivation. Greenhouses
shall be screened from the public right of way.

iv.

All structures used for cultivation shall have locking doors or gates to prevent
free access. All cultivation structures shall be equipped with odor control
1

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-4
Cannabis Personal Use Standards

filtration and ventilation systems adequate to prevent an odor, humidity, or
mold.
v.

Light systems shall be fully shielded, including adequate coverings on
windows, so as to confine light and glare to the interior of the structure.

vi.

The use of generators is prohibited, except as emergency back-up systems.

vii.

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.

2

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-5
Exclusion Combining Zone

Cannabis Exclusion Zone
Chapter 26 of the Sonoma County Code is amended to add a new Article 73, as follows:
Article 73. – Q Cannabis Exclusion Combining District.
Sec. 26-73-005. - Purpose.
The purpose of this district is to provide for the exclusion of cannabis related uses in the
following areas:
(a) Areas where there is inadequate road access or other conflicts;
(b) Areas where the prevalence of cannabis is detrimental to the residential
character of area;
(c) Areas where the commercial or industrial uses are to be protected from
conversion to cannabis uses;
(d) Areas where, because of topography, access, water availability or vegetation, there
is a significant fire hazard.
(e) Areas where residential character is to be preserved; and
(f) Other areas where the Board of Supervisors determines that it is in the public
interest to prohibit cannabis uses.
Sec. 26-73-010. - Permitted uses.
All uses permitted in the base zone with which the Q combining district is applied shall be
permitted in the Q combining zone, except for the establishment, operation, placement or
construction of cannabis cultivation or related land uses otherwise authorized by 26-88-250
through 256.

1

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-6
Inclusion Combining Zone

Cannabis Inclusion Zone
Chapter 26 of the Sonoma County Code is amended to add a new Article 74, as follows:
Article 74. – Cannabis Inclusion Combining District.
Sec. 26-74-005. - Purpose.
The purpose of this district is to provide for the allowance of commercial cannabis cultivation in
appropriate areas.
Sec. 26-74-010 Applicability.
This combining zone may be applied to zoning districts where determined it is appropriate to
allow commercial cannabis cultivation.
Sec. 26-74-010. - Permitted uses.
In addition to the uses permitted in the base zoning, commercial cannabis cultivation may be
permitted in the Y combining zone subject to approval of a conditional use permit and subject to
the special use regulations in Sections 26-88-250 through 256, as applicable.
(a) When combined with a Rural Residential (RR) Zone and Agriculture and Residential
(AR) Zone, the following cannabis cultivation uses are allowed as listed in the following
table.
(b) When combined with the Land Intensive Agriculture (LIA), Land Extensive Agriculture
(LEA), and Diverse Agriculture (DA) Zones, the following cannabis cultivation uses are
allowed as listed in the following table.

1

Planning Commission Recommended Draft

Exhibit A-6
Inclusion Combining Zone

MEDICAL CANNABIS USES
Outdoor Cultivation
Cottage
Specialty Outdoor
Small Outdoor
Medium Outdoor
Indoor Cultivation
Cottage

STATE
LICENSE
TYPE

25 plants
5,000 sq. ft. or
50 plants
5,001 - 10,000

2 ac

1C

3 ac

1

5 ac

2

10,001 - 43,560

10 ac

3

500

None

1C

501 - 5,000

None

1A

Small Indoor

5,001 - 10,000

None

2A

Medium Indoor

10,001 - 22,000

None

3A

Specialty Indoor

Mixed Light Cultivation
Cottage

2,500

None

1C

2,501 - 5,000

None

1B

Small Mixed Light

5,001 - 10,000

None

2B

Medium Mixed Light

10,001 - 22,000

None

3B

Specialty Mixed Light

ZP
MUP
CUP

TYPE OF PERMIT REQUIRED
Permitted Use; Zoning Permit Required
Conditionally Permitted Use; Minor Use Permit required
Conditionally Permitted Use; Use Permit required
Use not allowed

2

TBD

MINIMUM
PARCEL
SIZE

TBD

LAND USE

MAXIMUM
CULTIVATION
AREA (square
feet or plant)

TBD

Table 1: Allowed Cannabis Uses and Permit Requirements

Special Use
Regulations

26-88-250254

Attachment B - Allowed Uses and Permit Requirements
Planning Commission Recommended Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

PLANNING COMMISSION RECCOMENDED DRAFT
SUMMARY OF ALLOWED LAND USES AND PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR CANNABIS USES
ZONING DISTRICT

Commercial

Public

Rural Residential

Low Density
Residential

Medium Density
Residential

High Density
Residential

Planned Community

Commercial Office

Neighborhood
Commercial

Retail Business and
Services

General Commercial

Limited Commercial

Commercial Rural

Agricultural Services

Recreation and
Visitor Serving

Industrial Park

Limited Urban
Industrial

Heavy Industrial

Limited Rural
Industrial

Public Facilities

Cannabis Inclusion

Cannabis Exclusion

Cannabis

Agriculture and
Residential

Industrial

Timber Preserve

Special

Resources and Rural
Development

Urban Residential

Diverse Agriculture

MAXIMUM
CULTIVATION AREA
(square feet or plant)

Rural Residential

Land Extensive
Agriculture

LAND USE

Resources

Land Intensive
Agriculture

Agricultural

LIA1

LEA1

DA1

RRD1

TP

AR1

RR

R1

R2

R3

PC

CO

C1

C2

C3

LC

CR

AS

K

MP

M1

M2

M3

PF

Y

Q

exempt

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

4
4

CUP
CUP2

CUP
CUP

CUP
CUP

CUP
CUP

















CUP


CUP


CUP


CUP




2 ac

1C

ZP

ZP

ZP

MUP

MUP

MUP

MINIMUM
PARCEL
SIZE

STATE
LICENSE
TYPE

MEDICAL AND ADULT USE CANNABIS
Personal Cultivation4
MEDICAL CANNABIS USES
Nursery
Wholesale (outdoor)
Wholesale (indoor/greenhouse)
Outdoor Cultivation
Cottage

100 sq ft including up
to 6 plants for adult
use, per residence

None

per use permit
43,560
22,000
25 plants
5,000 sq. ft. or
50 plants
5,001 - 10,000
10,001 - 43,560

3 ac

1

CUP

ZP

ZP

CUP

5 ac
10 ac

2
3

CUP
CUP

ZP
CUP

ZP
CUP

CUP
CUP























500
501 - 5,000
5,001 - 10,000
10,001 - 22,000

None3
None
None
None

1C
1A
2A
3A

ZP2
CUP2

ZP

ZP/2 ac

MUP

CUP2

CUP/2 ac2

CUP2








































ZP
MUP
CUP
CUP

ZP
MUP
CUP
CUP

ZP
MUP
CUP
CUP

ZP
MUP
CUP
CUP










2 ac

1C

ZP2

MUP

MUP

CUP

CUP

CUP

Specialty Mixed Light

2,500
2,501 - 5,000

3 ac

Small Mixed Light

5,001 - 10,000

5 ac

Medium Mixed Light
Testing/Laboratories

10,001 - 22,000

10 ac

Specialty Outdoor
Small Outdoor
Medium Outdoor
Indoor Cultivation
Cottage
Specialty Indoor
Small Indoor
Medium Indoor
Mixed Light Cultivation
Cottage

MUP/2 ac MUP/2 ac





ZP

ZP

1B

2

CUP

CUP

CUP

MUP
CUP

CUP

CUP

CUP

2B

CUP

CUP

CUP

CUP

CUP

CUP

3B

CUP2

CUP

CUP

CUP

8

CUP

CUP

CUP

CUP

CUP CUP

Manufacturing
Level 1 - nonvolatile solvents

per use permit

Level 2 - volatile solvents
Dispensaries
Storefront and Delivery

6

CUP

CUP

CUP

CUP

7

per use permit

10

CUP CUP

CUP

Dispensary, max 3 retail sites
Distributor

per use permit

10A

CUP CUP

CUP

per use permit

CUP

CUP

CUP

per use permit

11
12

Transporter

CUP

CUP

CUP

P
ZP
MUP
CUP

Notes:

TYPE OF PERMIT REQUIRED
Permitted Use - CEQA exempt; Building Permit only (with clearances and subject to standards)
Permitted Use if standards met- CEQA exempt; Zoning Permit and Building Permit only
Minor Use Permit or Hearing Waiver; CEQA applies unless Cat Exempt; can add conditions
Use Permit - noticed hearing before Planning Commission; CEQA; can add conditions
Use not allowed
1
2
3
4

Commercial Medical Cannabis Uses on properties with a Land Conservation (Williamson Act) Act Contract are subject to Uniform Rules for Agricultural Preserves.
Within existing previously developed areas or legally established structures built (finaled) prior to January 1, 2016
2 acre minimum lot size in the DA, AR, or RR zones
Personal Outdoor Cultivation is prohibited in multifamily units and in the R2 and R3 zones

Attachment C

Cannabis Cultivation Best Management Practices
The following Best Management Practices (BMPs) 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 BMPs
Pesticide and Fertilizer Use and Storage
Pesticide Use Requirements
Pesticides must be registered by both the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the California
Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) before they can be sold and used in California.
There are no pesticides registered specifically for use directly on marijuana and the use of pesticides on
marijuana plants has not been reviewed for safety or human health effects.
Under California law, the only pesticide products not illegal to use on marijuana are those that contain an
active ingredient that is exempt from residue-tolerance requirements and registered and labeled for a use
that is broad enough to include use on marijuana (e.g. unspecified green plants) or exempt from
registration requirements as a minimum risk pesticide under FIFRA section 25(b) and 3 CCR § 6147. (FAC
§§ 12973, 12995; 3 CCR § 6490.)
Before using any pesticide, ALWAYS read and follow the pesticide label. The label is the law.
If you apply registered pesticides to your crop, you must obtain an operator identification number from
the County Agricultural Commissioner and submit monthly pesticide use reports to that office. (FAC §
11408; 3 CCR § 6622; 3 CCR § 6627.)
US EPA designates certain pesticide products as federally “Restricted Use” products when they determine
those products may cause unreasonable adverse effects even when used as directed on the product
labeling. Restricted Use pesticides are limited to use by certified applicators, or to those under the
supervision of a certified applicator.
DPR designates certain pesticide active ingredients as California “Restricted Materials” when they
determine those pesticides are especially hazardous to human health or the environment.
Restricted Materials require a permit issued by the County Agricultural Commissioner. Permits will not
be issued for marijuana cultivation sites. (FAC § 14001, et seq.; 3 CCR § 6400.)
Employers must protect their workers from exposure to pesticides. State law requires that employers
follow the pesticide label and provide required personal protective equipment, provide required training
and access to pesticide labels and safety information, and properly store, handle, and dispose of
pesticides.

Page 1 of 5

Attachment C
See Compliance Assistance Booklet; 3 CCR § 6670, et seq.; 3 CCR § 6700, et seq.;
http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/enforce/cmpliast/bkltmenu.htm.
Rodenticide Use Requirements
Rodenticides that require a California Restricted Materials permit cannot be used; and those that are
designated as federally Restricted Use products can only be used by a certified applicator. See above.
There are some rodenticides labeled for below ground applications that are not designated as California
Restricted Materials or federally Restricted Use pesticides that can be used if consistent with the label.
The following rodent repellants may be used in and around marijuana cultivation sites consistent with the
label: Capiscum Oleoresin, Putrescent Whole Egg Solids, and Garlic.
Refer to DPR document, “Legal Pest Management Practices for Marijuana Growers in California”
(attached) for more detailed information.
Inspect planting stock for pests and disease prior to planting. Avoid planting stock with pests and disease.
Evaluate irrigation water, soils, growth media, and plant tissue to optimize plant growth and avoid over
fertilization.
Do not store any fertilizers, pesticides, or soil amendments in the riparian setback or in any manner which
may result in the discharge of a pollutant. Storage of all pesticides must comply with state regulations.
Nitrate-based and other oxidizing fertilizers must be stored away from solvents, fuels and pesticides.

Riparian Protection
Observe riparian corridor setbacks for agricultural cultivation as applicable. These shall be maintained as
“no touch” areas.
No equipment and/or vehicles shall be stored in the riparian setback.
Composting areas shall not be located in the riparian setback area.

Water Use and Storage
Irrigation must be conducted in a manner that does not result in runoff from the cultivated area.
Any water tanks or storage facilities must obtain all necessary permits from the Sonoma County Permit
and Resource Management Department.
If using an irrigation system, inspect for and repair leaks prior to planting each year and periodically during
the season.

Page 2 of 5

Attachment C

Waste Management
Recycle or properly dispose of all plastic bags, containers, or irrigation materials.
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. Method of green waste disposal must
be documented.
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. Method of disposal must be documented.
Compost piles are to be located outside of riparian setbacks and in a manner that will not discharge
pollutants to a watercourse. If necessary, construct berm or install fiber roll around compost area to
prevent runoff or use straw wattles around perimeter.

Erosion Control/Grading and Drainage
Leave a vegetative barrier along the property boundary and interior watercourses to act as a pollutant
filter.
Avoid soil disturbance between November 1st and April 15th.
All exposed and disturbed soil to be covered with a minimum of 2 inches of mulch, such as straw, bark,
wood chips, etc., by November 15th. Alternatively, establish a thick cover crop over disturbed areas.
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 prior to rain event.
Any grading or drainage conducted as part of site preparation shall have the appropriate permits from the
Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department (PRMD), or the Sonoma County
Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures as applicable.

Indoor Cultivation BMPs
Pesticide Use Requirements
Pesticides must be registered by both the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the California
Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) before they can be sold and used in California.
There are no pesticides registered specifically for use directly on marijuana and the use of pesticides on
marijuana plants has not been reviewed for safety or human health effects.
Under California law, the only pesticide products not illegal to use on marijuana are those that contain an
active ingredient that is exempt from residue-tolerance requirements and registered and labeled for a use
that is broad enough to include use on marijuana (e.g. unspecified green plants) or exempt from

Page 3 of 5

Attachment C
registration requirements as a minimum risk pesticide under FIFRA section 25(b) and 3 CCR § 6147. (FAC
§§ 12973, 12995; 3 CCR § 6490.)
Before using any pesticide, ALWAYS read and follow the pesticide label. The label is the law.
If you apply registered pesticides to your crop, you must obtain an operator identification number from
the County Agricultural Commissioner and submit monthly pesticide use reports to that office. (FAC §
11408; 3 CCR § 6622; 3 CCR § 6627.)
US EPA designates certain pesticide products as federally “Restricted Use” products when they determine
those products may cause unreasonable adverse effects even when used as directed on the product
labeling. Restricted Use pesticides are limited to use by certified applicators, or to those under the
supervision of a certified applicator.
DPR designates certain pesticide active ingredients as California “Restricted Materials” when they
determine those pesticides are especially hazardous to human health or the environment.
Restricted Materials require a permit issued by the County Agricultural Commissioner. Permits will not
be issued for marijuana cultivation sites. (FAC § 14001, et seq.; 3 CCR § 6400.)
Employers must protect their workers from exposure to pesticides. State law requires that employers
follow the pesticide label and provide required personal protective equipment, provide required training
and access to pesticide labels and safety information, and properly store, handle, and dispose of
pesticides.
See Compliance Assistance Booklet; 3 CCR § 6670, et seq.; 3 CCR § 6700, et seq.;
http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/enforce/cmpliast/bkltmenu.htm.
Rodenticide Use Requirements
Rodenticides that require a California Restricted Materials permit cannot be used; and those that are
designated as federally Restricted Use products can only be used by a certified applicator. See above.
There are some rodenticides labeled for below ground applications that are not designated as California
Restricted Materials or federally Restricted Use pesticides that can be used if consistent with the label.
The following rodent repellants may be used in and around marijuana cultivation sites consistent with the
label: Capiscum Oleoresin, Putrescent Whole Egg Solids, and Garlic.
Refer to DPR document, “Legal Pest Management Practices for Marijuana Growers in California”
(attached) for more detailed information.
Inspect planting stock for pests and disease prior to planting. Avoid planting stock with pests and disease.
Evaluate irrigation water, soils, growth media, and plant tissue to optimize plant growth and avoid over
fertilization.
Nitrate-based and other oxidizing fertilizers must be stored away from solvents, fuels and pesticides.
Page 4 of 5

Attachment C

Waste Management
Recycle or properly dispose of all plastic bags, containers, or irrigation materials.
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. Method of green waste disposal must
be documented.
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.
Excess irrigation water or effluent from indoor cultivation shall be discharged to an irrigation or bioretention treatment system, sewer, or a septic system that has been properly evaluated and sized.

Water Use
If using an irrigation system, inspect for and repair leaks prior to planting each year and periodically during
the season.

Page 5 of 5

Attachment D

County of Sonoma
State of California

Date: December 6, 2016

Item Number:
Resolution Number:

4/5 Vote Required
Resolution of the Board of Supervisors of the County Of Sonoma, State Of California,
Approving an Amendment to Uniform Rules 2.0, 4.0, 7.0, and 8.0 of the Sonoma County
Uniform Rules for Agricultural Preserves and Farmland Security Zones
Whereas, the preservation of a maximum amount of the limited supply of
agricultural land is necessary to the conservation of the state’s economic
resources, and is necessary not only for the maintenance of the agricultural
economy of the state, but also for the assurance of adequate, healthful and
nutritious food for residents of the state and the nation;
Whereas, the California Legislature enacted the California Land Conservation Act of
1965, also known as the Williamson Act, (Government Code §51200 et seq.), which
authorizes counties to establish agricultural preserves and to enter into voluntary
contracts with owners of qualifying land within the preserves to restrict the use of land
to agricultural use, open space use, and uses compatible with agricultural or open space
uses, in exchange for property tax savings;
Whereas, pursuant to the California Land Conservation Act, Government Code §51231,
the Board of Supervisors shall adopt uniform rules to govern the administration of the
County’s agricultural preserve program;
Whereas, the Board of Supervisors, after making certain findings under Government
Code Section 51238.1, may list in its uniform rules certain uses of contracted land as
uses that are compatible with the agricultural use of contracted lands;
Whereas, consistent with Government Code Section 51220.5, in determining the type of
uses to be deemed “compatible uses,” the Board of Supervisors recognizes that the
Legislature has found that agricultural operations are often hindered or impaired by
uses which increase the density of the permanent or temporary human population of
the agricultural area;
Whereas, on December 13, 2011, by Resolution Number 11-0678, the Sonoma County
Board of Supervisors adopted updated Uniform Rules for Agricultural Preserves and

Resolution #
Date: December 13, 2016
Page 2

Farmland Security Zones (“Uniform Rules”) to govern local administration of the
County’s agricultural preserve program;
Whereas, since December 2011, the Board of Supervisors amended the Uniform Rules
twice: first on July 31, 2012, by Resolution Number 12-0379; and again on May 7, 2013,
by Resolution Number 13-0186;
Whereas, the Federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 801 et seq., classifies
cannabis as a Schedule I Drug; as such, it is unlawful, under federal law, for any person
to cultivate, manufacture, distribute or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture,
distribute or dispense, marijuana. There is no federal exemption for the cultivation,
manufacture, distribution, dispensation, or possession of cannabis for medical purposes;
Whereas, in 1996, the voters of the State of California approved Proposition 215, “The
Compassionate Use Act,” codified as Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5, which was
intended to decriminalize cultivation and possession of medical marijuana under certain
circumstances;
Whereas, the State enacted SB 420 in 2004 (known as the “Medical Marijuana Program
Act”, codified as Health and Safety Code Section 11362.7 et seq.) to expand and clarify
the scope of The Compassionate Use Act of 1996;
Whereas, on November 8, 2016 the voters of California adopted Proposition 64 which
legalized the use of cannabis for adult use and established maximum cultivation
allowance of 6 plants for personal use. The Proposition allows for local control of adult
use cannabis land uses, and reasonable regulation of personal cultivation of up to 6
plants within a residence;
Whereas, the Board of Supervisors presently desires to amend the Uniform Rules to
exclude the cultivation of cannabis as an allowed or qualifying “agricultural use” of land
restricted by a Land Conservation contract;
Whereas, the Board of Supervisors presently desires to amend the Uniform Rules to
include the cultivation of cannabis as an allowed “compatible use” on land restricted by
a Land Conservation Act contract;
Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved that the Board of Supervisors finds that the foregoing
recitals are true and correct; and
Be It Further Resolved that Board of Supervisors finds that excluding cannabis
cultivation from the Uniform Rules’ definition of “agricultural use,” is desirable and will
appropriately tailor Sonoma County’s agricultural preserve program to meet local,
regional, state, and national needs for assuring adequate, healthful and nutritious food
for future residences; and

Resolution #
Date: December 13, 2016
Page 3

Be It Further Resolved that the Board of Supervisors makes the following findings
concerning the use of contracted land for cannabis cultivation, where the land qualifies
for a Land Conservation Contract based on qualifying agricultural use of the land:
1. The use will not significantly compromise the long-term productive agricultural
capability of contracted lands in agricultural preserves in Sonoma County because
the current requirement that contracted land must be devoted to agricultural use
will remain unchanged, and because the area that all compatible uses may
collectively occupy for any parcel of agricultural contracted land is limited to 5 acres
or 15% of the land, whichever is less, unless an exception is granted by the Board of
Supervisors after making certain findings to ensure compatibility; and
2. The use will not significantly displace or impair current or reasonably foreseeable
agricultural operations on contracted lands in agricultural preserves because the
Uniform Rules limit the area that all compatible uses may collectively occupy for any
parcel of contracted land is limited to 5 acres or 15% of the land, whichever is less,
unless an exception is granted by the Board of Supervisors after making certain
findings to ensure compatibility; and
3. The use will not result in the significant removal of adjacent contracted lands from
agricultural or open space uses because cannabis cultivation as a compatible use will
be limited due to the Uniform Rules’ limitation on the area that all compatible uses
may collectively occupy for any parcel of contracted land, which is 5 acres or 15% of
the land under contract, whichever is less, unless an exception is granted by the
Board of Supervisors after making certain findings to ensure compatibility; and
4. The use will not result in an increase in the density of the permanent or temporary
human population of the agricultural area because the use is not a residential use,
because the use is not expected to result in the extension of urban services or
infrastructure to agricultural areas, and because the use is limited to cultivation of
cannabis, and expressly excludes manufacturing, retail sales, distributing,
dispensing, and marketing of cannabis or cannabis products, which uses could result
in an increase in the density of the temporary human population of the area;
Be It Further Resolved that cannabis related uses are not deemed to be compatible uses
on any contracted land that includes qualifying open space; and
Be It Further Resolved that the Board of Supervisors amends Uniform Rules 2.0,
4.0, 7.0, and 8.0 of the Sonoma County Uniform Rules for Agricultural Preserves
and Farmland Security Zones to read as attached in Exhibit C-1.
Be It Further Resolved that the Board of Supervisors hereby directs the Permit
and Resource Management Department (PRMD) to submit this amendment to the
Department of Conservation; and
Be It Further Resolved that the Board of Supervisors designates the Clerk of the

Resolution #
Date: December 13, 2016
Page 4

Board as the custodian of the documents and other materials which constitute the
record of proceedings upon which the decision herein is based. These documents
may be found at the office of the Clerk of the Board, 575 Administration Drive,
Room 100-A, Santa Rosa, California 95403; and
Be It Further Resolved that staff shall take all steps necessary to effectuate this
action of the Board of Supervisors.
IN REGULAR SESSION of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma,
introduced, passed, and adopted this 13th day of December, 2016, on regular roll call of
the members of said Board by the following vote:
Supervisors:
Gorin:
Ayes:

Rabbitt:

Zane:
Noes:

Gore:
Absent:
So Ordered.

Carrillo:
Abstain:

Attachment E

AFFECTS ONLY:
UNIFORM RULES 2.0, 4.0, 7.0, AND 8.0

Sonoma County
UNIFORM RULES
for
Agricultural Preserves and Farmland Security Zones
Adopted: December 13, 2011 (Resolution No. 11-0678)
Amended: July 31, 2012 (Resolution No. 12-0379)
Amended: May 7, 2013 (Resolution No. 13-0186)
Amended: December __, 2016 (Resolution No. 16)

Uniform Rule 2.0
Definitions

Uniform Rule 2.0 - Definitions.
2.1

List of Terms and Phrases.

As used in these uniform rules, the following terms and phrases shall have the
meanings ascribed to them in this section, unless the context in which they are
used clearly requires otherwise. Some of the terms and phrases defined in this
section are taken directly from the Land Conservation Act. The definitions in the
Land Conservation Act may be amended from time to time by state legislation.
Any changes to the Land Conservation Act’s definitions shall supercede the
definitions included in this section. The definition of a term or phrase applies to
any of that term’s or phrase’s variants.
“Agricultural Commodity” means any and all plant and animal products
produced within the county for commercial purposes, including plant products
used for producing biofuels, but excluding cannabis.
“Agricultural Contracted Land” means any agricultural land restricted by a land
conservation contract.
“Agricultural Land” means prime and non-prime agricultural land.
“Agricultural Preserve” means an area devoted to agricultural or open space
uses and which is established in accordance with the provisions of the Land
Conservation Act and these uniform rules.
“Agricultural Use” means use of land, including greenhouses, for the purpose of
producing an agricultural commodity for commercial purposes. Notwithstanding
any provisions of these Uniform Rules to the contrary, “agricultural use,” does not
include or mean the use of land for the purpose of cultivating or producing
cannabis or cannabis related products.
“Annual Renewal Date” means January 1st of each year.
“Board of Supervisors” means the Board of Supervisors of Sonoma County,
California.
“Cannabis” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa Linnaeus, Cannabis
indica, or Cannabis ruderalis, or any other strain or varietal of the genus Cannabis
that may exist or hereafter be discovered or developed that has psychoactive or
medicinal properties, whether growing or not, including the seeds thereof.
“Cannabis” also means marijuana as defined by Section 11018 of the Health and

Uniform Rule 2.0
Definitions

Safety Code as enacted by Chapter 1407 of the Statutes of 1972. For the purpose
of this Uniform Rules, “cannabis” does not mean “industrial hemp” as defined by
Section 81000 of the Food and Agricultural Code or Section 11018.5 of the Health
and Safety Code.
“Clerk of the Board” means the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.
“Compatible Use” means any use determined by the County pursuant to the Land
Conservation Act and these uniform rules to be compatible with the primary
agricultural or open space use of land within the preserve and subject to contract.
Compatible use includes agricultural use, recreational use, or open space use
unless the Board of Supervisors finds after notice and hearing that the use is not
compatible with the
agricultural or open space use to which the land is restricted by contract pursuant
to the Land Conservation Act and these uniform rules.
“Contiguous” means sharing a common boundary or boundaries. Land shall be
considered contiguous even if it is separated by roads, streets, utility fees or
easements, or railroad rights-of-way.
“Contracted Land” means any agricultural or open space land restricted by a
land conservation contract.
“County” means the county of Sonoma, in the state of California.
“Devoted to Agricultural or Open Space Uses” means when agricultural or
open space land is used or maintained in compliance with the requirements of
Section 4.2.B of these uniform rules.
“Director” means the Director of the Permit and Resource Management
Department or his or her authorized representative.
“Dwelling” means single-family dwelling.
“Farmland Security Zone Contract” means a farmland security zone contract
entered into pursuant to the Land Conservation Act and these uniform rules.
“Farm Stay” means transient lodging accommodations containing five or fewer
guestrooms in a single-family dwelling or guest quarters provided as part of a
farming operation, with an on-site farmer in residence, that includes all meals
provided in the price of the lodging, and that meets all of the standards in the
Zoning Code.

Uniform Rule 2.0
Definitions

“General Plan” means the Sonoma County General Plan and the Sonoma County
Local Coastal Plan.
“Guest Quarters” means an accessory building that consists of a detached living
area of a permanent type of construction with no provisions for appliances or
fixtures for the storage or preparation of food, including refrigerators,
dishwashers, and cooking facilities. The building shall not be leased, subleased,
rented, or sub-rented separately from the primary dwelling. The floor area of a
guest quarters shall be a maximum of 640 square feet. Floor area shall be
calculated by measuring the exterior perimeter of the guest quarters and the length
of any common walls. In the case of straw bale or similar construction, floor area
may be calculated using interior dimensions. For the purposes of calculating the
maximum size of a guest quarters, any storage area attached to the guest quarters,
excluding garage, shall be included. A guest quarters shall be located not more
than 100 feet from the primary dwelling on the subject parcel.
“Immediate Family Member” means a spouse, natural or adopted child, parent,
or sibling.
“Land Conservation Act” means the California Land Conservation Act of 1965,
Government Code section 51200 et seq.
“Land Conservation Contract” or “Contract” means a land conservation
contract entered into pursuant to the Land Conservation Act and these uniform
rules.
“Land Conservation Plan” means a plan detailing the agricultural or open space
uses of the land restricted by a land conservation contract or farmland security
zone contract, including the types of uses and land areas involved.
“Managed Wetland Area” means an area, which may be an area diked off from
the ocean or any bay, river, or stream to which water is occasionally admitted, and
which, for at least three consecutive years immediately prior to being placed
within an agricultural preserve was used and maintained as a waterfowl hunting
preserve or game refuge or for agricultural purposes.
“Non-prime Agricultural Land” means land in agricultural use that is not prime
agricultural land. Non-prime agricultural land includes land used for grazing, hay
production, rotational crops such as seasonal or year round row crops, ornamental
trees or flowers, and dry farming.

Uniform Rule 2.0
Definitions

“Open Space Contracted Land” means any open space land restricted by a land
conservation contract.
“Open Space Land” means land in open space use.
“Open Space Use” means the use or maintenance of land in a manner that
preserves its natural characteristics, beauty, or openness for the benefit and
enjoyment of the public, to provide habitat for wildlife, or for the solar
evaporation of seawater in the course of salt production for commercial purposes,
if the land is within any of the following:
1.

A scenic highway corridor.

2.

A wildlife habitat area.

3.

A saltpond.

4.

A managed wetland area.

5.

A submerged area.

6.

An area enrolled in the United States Department of Agriculture
Conservation Reserve Program or Conservation Reserve Enhancement
Program.

“Parcel” means legal parcel.
“Permit and Resource Management Department” means the Sonoma County
Permit and Resource Management Department.
“Primary dwelling” means a single-family dwelling that meets the requirements
of Sections 8.3.A.1 or 8.5.A.1 of these uniform rules.
“Prime Agricultural Land” means any of the following:
1.

Land that qualifies for rating as class I or class II in the National Resource
Conservation Service land use capability classifications.

2.

Land that qualifies for rating 80 through 100 in the Storie Index Rating.

3.

Land that is planted with fruit- or nut-bearing trees, vines, bushes, or crops
which have a nonbearing period of less than five years and meet the
minimum income requirements in Table 4-2 of these uniform rules.

Uniform Rule 2.0
Definitions

4.

Land that has returned from the production of unprocessed agricultural
plant products an annual gross value which meets the minimum income
requirements in Table 4-2 of these uniform rules.

“Private Family Burial Plots” means up to five graves for the landowner and
immediate family members of the landowner.
“Recreational Use” means the use of land in its agricultural or natural state by the
public, with or without charge, for any of the following: walking, hiking,
picnicking, swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, or other outdoor games or sports
for which facilities are provided for public participation. Any fee charged for the
recreational use of land shall be in a reasonable amount and shall not have the
effect of unduly limiting its use by the public. Specific recreational uses and
accessory structures necessary for a recreational use are allowed on contracted
land only if they are listed as a compatible use under these uniform rules.
“Saltpond” means an area which, for at least three consecutive years immediately
prior to being placed within an agricultural preserve, has been used for the solar
evaporation of seawater in the course of salt production for commercial purposes.
“Scenic Highway Corridor” means an area adjacent to, and within view of, the
right-of-way of:
1.

An existing or proposed state scenic highway in the state scenic highway
system established by the Legislature pursuant to Article 2.5 (commencing
with Section 260) of Chapter 2 of Division 1 of the Streets and Highways
Code and which has been officially designated by the California
Department of Transportation as an official state scenic highway; or

2.

A county scenic highway established pursuant to Article 2.5 (commencing
with Section 260) of Chapter 2 of Division 1 of the Streets and Highways
Code, if each of the following conditions have been met:
a.

The scenic highway is included in the General Plan;

b.

The scenic highway corridor is included in an adopted specific plan
of the County; and

c.

Specific proposals for implementing the plan, including regulation of
land use, have been approved by the Advisory Committee on a
Master Plan for Scenic Highways, and the county highway has been

Uniform Rule 2.0
Definitions

officially designated by the California Department of Transportation
as an official county scenic highway.
“Single-Family Dwelling” means a building designed and/or occupied
exclusively by one family.
“Special Event” means a festival, concert, theatrical presentation, wedding,
wedding reception, party, race, rally, rodeo, or other activity that attracts a large
gathering of people, either as participants or spectators.
“State Designated Farmland of Local Importance” means land designated as
predominantly farmland of local importance on the Important Farmland Series
map for Sonoma County compiled by the California Department of Conservation’s
Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program pursuant to Government Code
section 65570.
“State Designated Farmland of Statewide Importance” means land designated
as predominantly farmland of statewide importance on the Important Farmland
Series map for Sonoma County compiled by the California Department of
Conservation’s Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program pursuant to
Government Code section 65570.
“State Designated Important Farmland” means state designated prime
farmland, farmland of statewide importance, unique farmland, and farmland of
local importance.
“State Designated Prime Farmland” means land designated as predominantly
prime farmland on the Important Farmland Series map for Sonoma County
compiled by the California Department of Conservation’s Farmland Mapping and
Monitoring Program pursuant to Government Code section 65570.
“State Designated Unique Farmland” means land designated as predominantly
unique farmland on the Important Farmland Series map for Sonoma County
compiled by the California Department of Conservation’s Farmland Mapping and
Monitoring Program pursuant to Government Code section 65570.
“Submerged Area” means any land determined by the Board of Supervisors to be
submerged or subject to tidal action and found by the Board to be of great value to
the state as open space.
“Timber/Forestry Land”means land in timber or forestry use.
“Wildlife Habitat Area” means a land or water area designated by the Board of
Supervisors, after consulting with and considering the recommendation of the

Uniform Rule 2.0
Definitions

California Department of Fish and Game, as an area of importance for the
protection or enhancement of the wildlife resources of the state. Wildlife habitat
area shall include any land area designated in the General Plan as a biotic habitat
area or riparian corridor.
“Zoning Code” means the Sonoma County Zoning Code and the Sonoma County
Coastal Zoning Code.

Uniform Rule 4.0 - Eligibility of Land for Contract.
4.1

Introduction.

Before land may qualify for a land conservation contract, it must meet the
eligibility requirements specified in Section 4.2 of these uniform rules. Once land
is under contract, it must continue to meet those eligibility requirements for the
duration of the contract.
4.2

Eligibility Requirements.

No application for a new or replacement land conservation contract shall be
approved by the Board of Supervisors unless all of the following requirements are
met:
A.

The land proposed to be restricted by the contract must be located within an
existing agricultural preserve. The Board of Supervisors may approve an
application for the establishment or alteration of an agricultural preserve
concurrently with its approval of an application for a contract or contracts
within the preserve.

B.

The land proposed to be restricted by the contract must be agricultural or
open space land devoted to agricultural or open space uses. Mere intent to
devote agricultural or open space land to agricultural or open space uses
shall be insufficient to qualify the land for a contract. For the purposes of
these uniform rules, agricultural or open space land shall be deemed to be
devoted to agricultural or open space uses when:
1.

Except as otherwise specified in Subsections 2 and 3 below, a
minimum of 50 percent of the land is continuously used or
maintained for agricultural uses, open space uses, or a combination
of agricultural and open space uses, unless the Board of Supervisors
finds that:
a.

More than 50 percent of the land is not suitable for
agricultural or open space uses due to soil, slope, geologic, or
other significant constraints;

Uniform Rule 4.0
Eligibility of Land for Contract

C.

b.

The remainder of the land is continuously used or maintained
for agricultural uses, open space uses, or a combination of
agricultural and open space uses; and

c.

Placing the land under contract is consistent with the purpose
and intent of the Land Conservation Act and these uniform
rules.

2.

For less than 40 acres of prime agricultural land devoted to a
combination of agricultural and open space uses, a minimum of 10
acres is planted in a permanent crop.

3.

For less than 12 acres of prime agricultural land devoted to
agricultural uses, a minimum of six acres is planted in a permanent
crop.

The land proposed to be restricted by the contract must be comprised of a
single parcel that meets the minimum parcel size requirements in Table 4-1.
Table 4-1 - Minimum Parcel Size Requirements

D.

Land Type

Minimum Parcel
Size

Prime Agricultural Land

10 Acres

Non-Prime Agricultural Land, Open Space Land, Timber/Forestry Land

40 Acres

The land proposed to be restricted by the contract must meet the annual
income requirements in Table 4-2. Except as otherwise specified in Table
4-2, annual income shall be computed on the basis of annual gross revenue
per planted acre per year. For the purposes of these uniform rules, annual
income may be calculated using actual income data, or if actual data is not
available, using projected income figures for existing permanent planted
crops, and may be calculated as an average of three of the previous five
years’ annual income. Only income data from agricultural use of the land
shall be used to determine whether the annual income requirement is met.

Uniform Rule 4.0
Eligibility of Land for Contract

Table 4-2 - Annual Income Requirements
Land Type/Crop Type

Annual Income

Prime Agricultural Land - Vines and Bushes (i.e., Grapes, Berries,
Hops)

Not less than $1,000.00 per Planted Acre

Prime Agricultural Land - Fruit or Nut Trees (i.e., Apples, Olives,
Pears, Walnuts)

Not less than $300.00 per Planted Acre

Prime Agricultural Land - Other Unprocessed Agricultural Plant
Products

Not less than $200.00 per Planted Acre

Non-Prime Agricultural Land - Grazing, Hay Production, NonPermanent Row Crops, Livestock Production, Horse Breeding, or
Other Unprocessed Agricultural Plant or Animal Products

Not less than $2,000.00 Gross Total
Income per Farm Operation and $2.50
Gross Income per Acre of Production

E.

Open Space

Not Applicable

Timber/Forestry

Not Applicable

Any use of the land proposed to be restricted by the contract, other than
permitted agricultural or open space uses, must be a compatible use allowed
under Uniform Rule 8.0 of these uniform rules.

Uniform Rule 7.0 - Agricultural and Open Space Uses.

7.1

Introduction.

Land restricted by a land conservation contract must be devoted to agricultural or
open space uses.
7.2

Agricultural Uses.

A.

Qualifying agricultural uses. To be a qualifying agricultural use a use must
meet the definition of “agricultural use,” under Uniform Rule 2.0, and be
one or more of the following:
1.

General farming and the raising, growing, and harvesting of
vegetables, field, orchard, bush and berry crops, vineyards, and trees.

2.

Commercial growing of flowers.

3.

Stock nurseries, greenhouses, floriculture, and horticulture.

4.

Commercial growing of irrigated pasture crops.

5.

Commercial growing of ornamental trees.

6.

Commercial raising of livestock, swine, goats, llamas, poultry,
rabbits, birds, fish, frogs, and similar animals produced for food or
fiber.

7.

Commercial growing of mushrooms.

8.

Commercial vermiculture.

9.

Beekeeping.

10.

Commercial raising of fur-bearing animals.

11.

Commercial horse breeding, when the annual breeding operation
consists of at least 15 brood mares.

Uniform Rule 7.0
Agricultural and Open Space Uses

12.

B.

Forestry, when at least 50 percent of the parcel is classified as
timberland and is subject to an approved timber management plan.

Accessory Agricultural Uses and Structures. The following uses and
structures, provided that they are incidental, related, and subordinate to a
qualifying agricultural use:
1.

Preparation for market of agricultural commodities in their natural
state, which are grown or raised on-site or in the local area,
including the following activities: sorting, grading, sizing, polishing,
cleaning, packing, cooling, and shipping. Preparation under this
subsection shall not include processing of an agricultural commodity
beyond the natural state.

2.

Facilities and structures utilized in conjunction with the preparation
of an agricultural commodity described in Subsection 1 above.

3.

Storage of agricultural commodities in their natural state, and
facilities for such storage, including barns, silos, and other structures
for the storage of agricultural commodities in their natural state.

4.

Non-commercial composting.

5.

Agricultural wells.

6.

Wastewater treatment ponds where the recycled water is used for
irrigation purposes.

7.

Wind machines, reservoirs, and other structures used for frost
protection.

8.

Irrigation infrastructure, including reservoirs, pumps, windmill
powered pumps, tanks, and wells.

9.

Structures used to store equipment, vehicles, and other items or
goods used exclusively for the production of an agricultural
commodity or commodities on the contracted land.

10.

Fencing, corrals, paddocks, and other similar structures used in the
commercial raising of plants or animals for food or fiber.

Uniform Rule 7.0
Agricultural and Open Space Uses

7.3

11.

Renewable energy power generation facilities providing power
primarily for on-site use.

12.

Private internal and access roads for farm equipment and farm
operations.

Open Space Uses.

Qualifying open space uses shall be limited to those uses that meet the definition
of “open space use” under these uniform rules.

Uniform Rule 8.0 - Compatible and Incompatible Uses.
8.1

Introduction.

Land under a land conservation contract must be devoted to agricultural or open
space uses. However, the County recognizes that it may be appropriate to allow
other uses of contracted land that are compatible with the agricultural or open
space uses on the land. This uniform rule enumerates certain uses that the County
considers compatible on contracted land if they are limited in area. This uniform
rule also enumerates certain uses that the County considers incompatible on
contracted land. The limitation on area of compatible uses, as provided herein,
may only be exceeded if the requirements of Section 8.2.B of these uniform rules
are met, to ensure that use of the contracted land is consistent with the purposes
and intent of the Land Conservation Act and these uniform rules.
8.2

Area limitation and exceptions.

A.

The compatible uses enumerated under this uniform rule may be allowed
on contracted land if they collectively occupy no more than 15% of the
contracted land as a whole, or 5 acres, whichever is less, excluding public
roads, private access roads, and driveways.

B.

The area limitation imposed by Subsection A above may be exceeded for a
proposed compatible use only where the Board of Supervisors finds that:
1.

The use is enumerated as a compatible use by these uniform rules;

2.

The contracted land will continue to be devoted to agricultural or
open space uses;

3.

The use complies with the requirements of Government Code
sections 51238.1 through 51238.3;

4.

The use will not result in a significant increase in the density of the
temporary or permanent human population that could hinder or
impair agricultural operations on the contracted land;

5.

The use will not require and will not encourage the extension of
urban services such as public sewer or water, or the upgrade of

Uniform Rule 8.0
Compatible and Incompatible Uses

public roads to urban standards that could encourage premature
conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural uses;

8.3

6.

The use will not include a residential subdivision on the subject
parcel;

7.

The use is consistent with the General Plan and Zoning Code; and

8.

The use will not significantly change the character, appearance, or
operation of the agricultural or open space uses of the contracted
land.

Compatible Uses - Agricultural Contracted Land.

The following uses are considered compatible with agricultural uses on any
agricultural contracted land, if allowed by the underlying zoning.
A.

Residential Uses.
1.

Primary dwelling. A single-family dwelling occupied by the
landowner or farm operator.

2.

Farm family dwelling. An additional single-family dwelling,
provided that:
a.

The dwelling is incidental to the primary dwelling in terms of
size, location, and architecture;

b.

The dwelling is not leased, subleased, rented, or sub-rented
separately from the primary residence, nor divided by sale;
and

c.

The dwelling is occupied by the farm operator or an
immediate family member of the landowner or farm operator.

3.

Agricultural employee dwellings. Additional single-family
dwellings, provided that each dwelling is occupied by a full-time
agricultural employee or employees.

4.

Farmworker housing. Housing for seasonal and year-round
farmworkers.

Uniform Rule 8.0
Compatible and Incompatible Uses

5.

B.

Accessory uses and structures. The following uses and structures,
provided that they are incidental, related, and subordinate to a
compatible residential use:
a.
Private garage.
b.

Workshop.

c.

Patios, decks, gazebos, and similar structures.

d.

Domestic wells and septic systems.

e.

Fences.

f.

Sport courts (i.e. tennis, bocce ball, or basketball).

g.

Swimming pool with or without a pool house.

h.

Guest quarters.

i.

Home occupation.

j.

Small family day care home providing day care to 8 or fewer
children, including children under the age of 12 who reside at
the home.

Agricultural Support Uses.
1.

Processing of agricultural commodities beyond the natural state,
including processing by pressing, pasteurizing, slaughtering,
cooking, freezing, dehydrating, and fermenting. This use includes
facilities for processing and storage of agricultural commodities
beyond the natural state such as wineries, dairies, slaughterhouses,
and mills.

2.

Sale and marketing of agricultural commodities in their natural state
or beyond, including winery tasting rooms, promotional activities,
marketing accommodations, farmer’s markets, stands for the
sampling and sale of agricultural products, livestock auction or sale
yards, and related signage.

3.

Facilities for and the conduct of services supporting the production
of an agricultural commodity for commercial purposes within the

Uniform Rule 8.0
Compatible and Incompatible Uses

county, including veterinary services and farm equipment repair
services.

4.

C.

D.

E.

Wells, septic systems, and wastewater treatment ponds necessary for
agricultural support uses.

Recreational Uses.
1.

Fishing or hunting of wildlife, including fishing and hunting clubs.

2.

Unpaved trails, when used for hiking, horseback riding, or nonmotorized cycling.

3.

Picnicking, swimming, or non-motorized boating.

4.

Passive recreational activities, including frisbee or paintball, when
there is no alteration to terrain.

5.

Accessory structures incidental, related, and subordinate to allowed
recreational uses.

Raising, Breeding, and Boarding of Animals.
1.

Raising, breeding, and boarding of domestic animals.

2.

Raising, breeding, and boarding of horses, including training and
rentals, riding or equestrian clubs, riding academies, riding arenas,
and individual or group riding lessons.

3.

Raising, breeding, and boarding of farm animals, including
livestock, goats, llamas, poultry, rabbits, pigs, birds, fish, frogs and
similar animals.

Resource Extraction and Energy Production Facilities.
1.

Water, oil, gas, and steam wells.

2.

Renewable energy power generation facilities providing power
primarily for off-site use, when the facilities are located on nonprime agricultural land that is not state designated prime farmland,
farmland of statewide importance, or unique farmland.

Uniform Rule 8.0
Compatible and Incompatible Uses

F.

3.

Mining or mineral extraction, quarrying, and screening, but not
including crushing or other refining, preparing, or processing of raw
materials. While the mining or mineral extraction, quarrying, or
screening activity continues, raw materials mined on the contracted
land may be stored or stockpiled on the contracted land for a
reasonable time, but not more than 90 days, prior to being
transported off-site for such crushing, refining, preparing, or
processing.

4.

Forestry and logging, but no processing of raw materials, logging
mills (other than portable mills for temporary use), or mill ponds.

Communication and Utility Transmission Facilities.
1.

Communication transmission facilities, including antennas, towers,
transmitters, cables, and wires.

2.

Gas, electric, or water transmission facilities.

G.

Cannabis. The cultivation of cannabis, including the planting, growing,
harvesting, drying, curing, grading, or trimming of cannabis in its natural
state. This compatible use category expressly excludes manufacturing,
retail sales, distributing, dispensing, and marketing of cannabis or cannabis
products.

GH.

Miscellaneous.
1.

2.

Special events, when directly related to agricultural education or the
promotion or sale of agricultural commodities and products
produced on the contracted land, provided that:
a.

The events last no longer than two consecutive days and do
not provide overnight accommodations: and

b.

No permanent structure dedicated to the events is constructed
or maintained on the contracted land.

Farm Stays, provided that:
a.

Guest occupancy is limited to a maximum of 10 guests; and

b.

Agricultural commodities produced on the contracted land are
marketed to the guests.

Uniform Rule 8.0
Compatible and Incompatible Uses

8.4

3.

Public roads, private access roads, and driveways.

4.

Mitigation sites for preservation of habitat for rare, threatened, or
endangered species.

5.

Carbon sequestration areas acknowledged by a federal, state, or local
governmental agency as offsetting greenhouse gas impacts and
contributing to the attainment of established greenhouse gas
reduction goals.

6.

Private family burial plots.

7.

Any other use determined by the Board of Supervisors pursuant to
Government Code section 51238.1 to be compatible with the
agricultural or open space use of land within an agricultural preserve
and subject to contract.

Incompatible Uses - Agricultural Contracted Land.

The following uses are considered incompatible with agricultural uses on any
agricultural contracted land:
A.

Golf courses.

B.

Public, commercial, or private club use of motorized boats, motorcycles,
vehicles, aircraft, or similar motorized uses for recreation.

C.

Public, commercial, or private club use of land for field sports, including
baseball, softball, polo, soccer, lacrosse, and football, or similar activities.

D.

Public, commercial, or private club use of land for camping. Tent
platforms, structures, and other facilities to support camping are not
permitted.

8.5

Compatible Uses - Open Space Contracted Land.

The following uses are considered compatible with open space uses on any open
space contracted land if allowed by the underlying zoning.

Uniform Rule 8.0
Compatible and Incompatible Uses

A.

B.

Residential Uses.

1.

Primary dwelling. A single-family dwelling occupied by the
landowner or caretaker of the contracted land. If the contract does
not identify the location of the dwelling, it may be located anywhere
on the contracted land where it is otherwise legally permitted and
does not interfere with or impair the open space use of the contracted
land.

2.

Accessory uses and structures. The following uses and structures,
provided that they are incidental, related, and subordinate to a
compatible residential use:
a.

Private garage.

b.

Workshop.

c.

Patios, decks, gazebos, and similar structures.

d.

Domestic wells and septic systems.

e.

Fences.

f.

Swimming pool with or without a pool house.

g.

Guest quarters.

h.

Home occupation.

i.

Small family day care home providing day care to 8 or fewer
children, including children under the age of 12 who reside at
the home.

Passive Recreational Uses. Recreational uses that are limited, non-intensive,

non-motorized, incidental, and passive, provided that such recreational
uses, and limits and conditions on such uses, are expressly stated in the
contract, which may preclude recreational uses completely. Passive
recreational uses expressly stated in the contract may include hiking,
horseback riding, non-motorized cycling, hunting, fishing, scenic viewing,
and similar recreational activities.
C.

Scientific and Educational Uses.

Uniform Rule 8.0
Compatible and Incompatible Uses

Scientific research and educational study, provided that it does not result in the
removal or disturbance of significant vegetation, geologic or biological
features, or land forms. Facilities exclusively for educational and scientific
use may be constructed and maintained, but shall be limited to 2500
cumulative square feet for the contracted land.
D.

Agricultural Uses. Limited agricultural uses, provided that such uses are
expressly permitted in the contract and do not impair the open space use of
the contracted land.

E.

Miscellaneous.

8.6

1.

Special events, when directly related to open space education,
provided that:
a.

The events last no longer than two consecutive days and do
not provide overnight accommodations; and

b.

No permanent structure dedicated to the events is constructed
or maintained on the contracted land.

2.

Mitigation sites for preservation of habitat for rare, threatened, or
endangered species.

3.

Carbon sequestration areas acknowledged by a federal, state, or local
governmental agency as offsetting greenhouse gas impacts and
contributing to the attainment of established greenhouse gas
reduction goals.

4.

Private family burial plots.

5.

Any other use determined by the Board of Supervisors pursuant to
Government Code section 51238.1 to be compatible with the
agricultural or open space use of land within an agricultural preserve
and subject to contract.

Incompatible Uses - Open Space Contracted Land.
A. Permanent structures are considered incompatible with open space uses on
any open space contracted land, except as provided in Sections 8.5.A and
8.5.C of these uniform rules.

Uniform Rule 8.0
Compatible and Incompatible Uses

B. The following uses are considered to be uses incompatible with open space
uses on any contracted land: (1) the cultivation of cannabis, including the
planting, growing, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, or trimming of
cannabis; and (2) manufacturing, retail sales, distributing, dispensing, and
marketing of cannabis or cannabis products.

Attachment F
ORDINANCE NO. ______
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF THE COUNTY OF SONOMA, STATE OF
CALIFORNIA, AMENDING CHAPTER 14 OF THE SONOMA COUNTY CODE TO REGULATE
MEDICAL CANNABIS DISPENSARIES AND EDIBLE CANNABIS PRODUCT MANUFACTURING SITES
The Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma, State of California, does ordain as follows:
Section I. Chapter 14 of the Sonoma County Code is hereby amended as follows:
(A) Article I, Administration and Enforcement, is amended to read:
Article I. Administration and Enforcement.
Sec. 14-1-010. In General.
The health officer, as referred to in this Chapter, or his/her designee shall administer and
enforce the provisions of this Chapter, applicable state law, and the rules and regulations
promulgated by the State Department of Public Health.
This Chapter and the articles contained herein apply to the entire county and all
incorporated cities and towns of the county.
Sec. 14-1-020. Definitions.
a) “Department” means the county of Sonoma, Department of Health Services,
Environmental Health and Safety Section.
b) “Enforcement agency” means the county of Sonoma, Department of Health Services,
Environmental Health and Safety Section.
c) “Enforcement officer” means the agent, registered environmental health specialist or
environmental health specialist trainee authorized by the Director of Health Services,
Health Officer or Director of Environmental Health.
d) “Health officer” as referred to in this Chapter, means the Sonoma County Health
Officer/Deputy Health Officer or his/her authorized representatives.
e) “Health permit” as referred to in this Chapter, means a permit or registration issued by
the department for milk dairy, retail food, public swimming pool, body art, medical
cannabis dispensary, or edible cannabis product manufacturing site as those terms are
defined throughout this Chapter and in the California Food and Agricultural Code, and
the California Health and Safety Code.
f) “Hearing officer” as referred to in this Chapter, means the Director of Environmental
Health or his/her authorized representative.
g) “Person” as referred to in this Chapter, includes any individual, firm, association,
organization, partnership, joint venture, estate, trust, business trust, limited liability
company, receiver, syndicate, corporation, company, tribe or any other group or
combination acting as a unit and includes the plural as well as the singular number.

Page 1 of 16

Sec. 14-1-030. Requirement of Permit.
It is unlawful for any person without a health permit to control, lease, act as agent for,
conduct, operate, or manage any milk dairy, retail food facility, public swimming pool, body art
facility, medical cannabis dispensary, or edible cannabis product manufacturing site as those
terms are defined throughout this Chapter.
Health permits shall be prominently posted in public view at the location or upon the
equipment for which it was issued. Health permits shall not be transferable upon change of
ownership of the location or equipment for which it was issued.
The holder of the health permit shall make payment to the department, on or before the
anniversary date as established at the time of permit issuance, an annual fee as established by
the Board of Supervisors' resolution, and as more fully set forth below.
Sec. 14-1-040. Suspensions and Revocations.
Health permits shall be valid until revoked, suspended or as conditioned by the
enforcement officer.
Any health permit issued pursuant to this Chapter may be suspended or revoked for good
cause by the enforcement officer. “Good cause” for the purpose of this Section, means a
violation of state law, a violation of any of the provisions of this Chapter, a violation of the
administrative rules or regulations adopted thereunder, a violation of any condition of such
health permit, or failure to make payment of the required health permit fee to the department.
The following practices will be utilized during a permit revocation or suspension:
a) Whenever an enforcement officer finds that a person is not operating in compliance
with their health permit, a written notice to comply shall be issued to the person. If the
person fails to comply within fifteen (15) days of the notice, the enforcement officer
shall issue a second written notice to comply describing the acts or omissions with
which the person is charged and informing them of their right to request a hearing.
b) At any time within a fifteen-day period after service of such notice, the person may
request a hearing before the hearing officer and department to show cause why the
health permit should not be suspended or revoked.
c) A failure to request a hearing within fifteen (15) days shall be deemed a waiver of a right
to such a hearing.
d) Any hearing provided for in this Section shall be conducted in accordance with Section
14-1-060.
e) A health permit may be reinstated or a new health permit issued if the enforcement
agency determines that the conditions that prompted the permit suspension or
revocation no longer exist.
Sec. 14-1-050. Immediate Health Permit Suspension or Revocation.
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

Page 2 of 16

permit if the enforcement officer determines that there is an immediate threat to public health,
safety, or welfare.
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.
If a hearing is requested, it shall be conducted in accordance with Section 14-1-060.
Sec. 14-1-060. Hearing Procedure.
Whenever this Chapter provides for a hearing, the hearing shall be conducted in
accordance with this Section.
a) Upon receipt of a written request for a hearing, the hearing officer shall set a hearing
date at the earliest practicable time. The hearing shall be held no later than fifteen (15)
calendar days after receipt of the request for a hearing. Upon written request of the
registrant or permit holder, the hearing officer may postpone a hearing date, if
circumstances warrant the action. The hearing officer shall give notice of the hearing to
the parties at least ten (10) calendar days before the date of the hearing.
b) When circumstances warrant, the hearing officer may order a hearing at any reasonable
time within this fifteen-day period to expedite the permit suspension or revocation
process.
c) Neither the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (Government Code Section
11500 et seq.) nor the formal rules of evidence in civil or criminal judicial hearings shall
apply to such hearing. At the hearing, the hearing officer may admit any evidence,
including witness testimony, relevant to the determination of the matter, except as
otherwise provided in this Chapter. A record of the hearing shall be made by any means,
including electronic recording, so long as a reasonably accurate and complete written
transcription of the proceedings can be made.
d) The hearing officer shall issue a written notice of decision to the person within five (5)
working days following the hearing. Notice of the written decision, including findings of
facts, conclusions of law, and notification of the time period in which judicial review may
be sought pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Section 1094.6 shall be served on all
parties. The notice of decision shall also specify the acts or omissions with which the
person is charged, and shall state the terms of the suspension or that the health permit
has been revoked. Any decision rendered by the hearing officer shall be a final
administrative decision.
e) Judicial Review. Hearing officer decisions shall be final, subject to judicial review under
the provisions of California Code of Civil Procedure Sections 1094.5 and 1094.6.
California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1094.6 governs limitation of time for filing
petitions under Section 1094.5, as set forth in Sonoma County Code Section 1-7.5.

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(B) Article VI, Medical Cannabis Dispensary and Edible Cannabis Product Manufacturing Site,
is hereby added to Chapter 14 of the Sonoma County Code as follows:
Article VI. – Medical Cannabis Dispensary and Edible Cannabis Product Manufacturing Site
Sec. 14-6-010. Purpose.
This Article provides for the enforcement of California laws and regulations pertaining to
medical cannabis dispensaries and edible cannabis product manufacturing sites, and to
establish local requirements as authorized in Health and Safety Code Section 11362.77 and the
2016 Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act.
All definitions, authority, scope, responsibilities, requirements, standards, conditions,
exemptions, procedures and penalties described within state law are adopted and
incorporated.
Sec. 14-6-020. In General.
Although edible cannabis products are not defined as a food in Health and Safety Code,
Sonoma County requires that all edible cannabis products sold at medical cannabis dispensaries
or manufactured at edible cannabis product manufacturing sites comply with the requirements
of Health and Safety Code Section 13700 et seq. and other applicable food safety codes, which
provide a system of prevention and overlapping safeguards designed to minimize foodborne
illness, ensure employee health, demonstrate industry manager knowledge, ensure safe food
preparation practices and delineate acceptable levels of sanitation for preparation of edible
products.
Sec. 14-6-030. Definitions.
For the purposes of this Article:
a) “Agency Having Jurisdiction” means the agency having delegated authority to adopt,

determine, mandate or enforce ordinances and regulatory requirements established by
the County of Sonoma and other jurisdictional governing bodies.
b) “Cannabis” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa Linnaeus, Cannabis indica, or

Cannabis ruderalis, or any other strain or varietal of the genus Cannabis that may exist
or hereafter be discovered or developed that has psychoactive or medicinal properties,
whether growing or not, including the seeds thereof. “Cannabis” also means marijuana
as defined by Section 11018 of the Health and Safety Code as enacted by Chapter 1407
of the Statutes of 1972. For the purpose of this section, “cannabis” does not mean
“industrial hemp” as defined by Section 81000 of the Food and Agricultural Code or
Section 11018.5 of the Health and Safety Code. Cannabis is classified as an agricultural
product separately from other agricultural crops.
c) “County” means the entire county and all incorporated cities and towns of the County,

which have delegated cannabis health permit authority to the Director.
d) “County Department” means any department or agency operated by the County of

Sonoma.

Page 4 of 16

e) “Delivery” means the commercial transfer of medical cannabis or medical cannabis

products from a dispensary, up to an amount determined by the bureau to a primary
caregiver or qualified patient as defined in Section 11362.7 of the Health and Safety
Code, or a testing laboratory. “Delivery” also includes the use by a dispensary of any
technology platform owned and controlled by the dispensary, or independently licensed
under this Chapter that enables qualified patients or primary caregivers to arrange for
or facilitate the commercial transfer by a licensed dispensary of medical cannabis or
medical cannabis products.
f)

“Director” means the Director of the Sonoma County Department of Health Services or
the Health Officer or any individual designated by the Director to act on his or her
behalf, including the Director of Environmental Health and Environmental Health
Specialists.

g) “Dispensary” or “Medical cannabis dispensary” means a facility operated in accordance

with state law, where medical cannabis, medical cannabis products or devices for the
use of medical cannabis or medical cannabis products are offered, either individually or
in any combination, for retail sale, including an establishment that delivers, medical
cannabis and medical cannabis products as part of retail sale.
h) “Edible Cannabis Product” means manufactured cannabis that is intended to be used, in

whole or in part, for human consumption, including but not limited to chewing gum. An
edible cannabis product is not considered food as defined by Section 109935 of Health
and Safety Code or a drug as defined by Section 109925 of the Health and Safety Code.
i)

“Edible Cannabis Manufacturing Site” refers to a “Manufacturer” that produces,
prepares, or propagates “Edible Cannabis Products.”

j)

“Imminent Health Hazard” means a significant threat or danger to health that is
considered to exist when there is evidence sufficient to show that a product, practice,
circumstance or event creates a situation that can cause infection, intoxication, disease
transmission, vermin infestation, or hazardous condition that requires immediate
correction or cessation of operation to prevent injury, illness, or death.

k) “Manufacturer” means a person that conducts the production, preparation, propagation

or compounding of “manufactured cannabis” or medical cannabis products either
directly or indirectly or by extraction methods, or independently by means of chemical
synthesis or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis at a fixed location
that packages or repackages medical cannabis or medical cannabis products or labels or
relabels its container.
l)

“Manufactured Cannabis” means raw cannabis that has undergone a process whereby
the raw agricultural product has been transformed into a concentrate, an edible
product, or a topical product.

m) “Manufacturing site” means a location that produces, prepares, propagates, or

compounds manufactured medical cannabis or medical cannabis products, directly or
indirectly, by extraction methods, independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by

Page 5 of 16

a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis, and is owned and operated by a
licensee for these activities.
n) “Medical cannabis,” “medical cannabis product” or “cannabis product” means any

product containing cannabis, including but not limited to flowers, buds, oils, tinctures,
concentrates, extractions, and edibles intended to be sold for use by medical cannabis
patients in California pursuant to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Proposition 215),
found at Section 11362.5 of the Health and Safety Code. For the purposes of this
Chapter, medical cannabis does not include industrial hemp as defined by Section 81000
of the Food and Agricultural Code or Section 11018.5 of the Health and Safety Code.
o) “Medical Cannabis Identification Card” or “Identification Card” means a document

issued by the State Department of Health Services pursuant to California Health and
Safety Code Sections 11362.7 et seq. that identifies a person authorized to engage in the
medical use of cannabis and the person's designated primary caregiver, if any, or
identifies a person as a primary caregiver for a medical cannabis patient.
p) “Nonsale Distribution” means to give a medical cannabis product or coupon at no cost

or at a nominal cost of less than 25 percent of the full retail value of the item exclusive
of taxes and fees to a person who is not a dispensary.
q) “Permittee” means the “Person” acting as the owner, proprietor, manager, or operator

of a medical cannabis dispensary who obtains a permit pursuant to this Article.
r) “Primary caregiver” shall have the same definition as California Health and Safety Code

Section 11362.7 et seq., and as may be amended, and which defines “primary caregiver”
as an individual, designated by a qualified patient or by a person with an identification
card, who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of
that patient or person, and may include a licensed clinic, a licensed health care facility, a
residential care facility, a hospice, or a home health agency as allowed by California
Health and Safety Code Section 11362.7(d)(1-3). A primary caregiver shall be at least 18
years of age, unless the primary caregiver is the parent of a minor child who is a
qualified patient or a person with an identification card or the primary caregiver is a
person otherwise entitled to make medical decisions under state law pursuant to
Sections 6922, 7002, 7050, or 7120 of the Family Code.
s) “Qualified patient” shall have the same definition as California Health and Safety Code

Section 11362.7 et seq., and as may be amended, and which states that a “qualified
patient” means a person who is entitled to the protections of California Health and
Safety Code Section 11362.5, but who does not have a valid medical cannabis
identification card. For the purposes of this Article, a “qualified patient who has a valid
identification card” shall mean a person who fulfills all of the requirements to be a
“qualified patient” under California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.7 et seq. and
also has a valid medical cannabis identification card.

Page 6 of 16

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 Section 14-6-050 and Section 146-060. 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 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 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.
Page 7 of 16

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 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 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.

Page 8 of 16

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

Page 9 of 16

remain upon the premises, between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 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 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 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.

Page 10 of 16

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 10 percent 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 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 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. 14-6-070. 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

Page 11 of 16

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 10 percent 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 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 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
Page 12 of 16

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 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,
Page 13 of 16

omission, or condition may be cited as a separate violation and each violation that
continues, exists, or occurs on more than one 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 $1,000 for the first
violation of a provision or regulation in a two year period, $5,000 for the second
violation of the same provision or regulation in a two year period, and $10,000 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 $10,000 for the first offense within two years, $25,000 for the second
offense within two years, and $50,000 for the third offense within two 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
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.

Page 14 of 16

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. 14-6-120. Severability
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this Article is, for any reason held to be
invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision
shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of the Chapter.
Section II.
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this Ordinance is for any reason held to
be unconstitutional and invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining
portion of this Ordinance. The Board of Supervisors hereby declares that it would have passed
this Ordinance and every section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase thereof, irrespective
of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses or phrases be
declared unconstitutional or invalid.
Section III.
Adoption and implementation of this Ordinance is exempt from the California Environmental
Quality Act (“CEQA”) pursuant to Section 15061(b)(3) of the State CEQA Guidelines because it
can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that this ordinance may have a significant
effect on the environment. Adoption and implementation of the standards, permit
requirements, and other measures contained in the ordinance will not result in any direct
physical change to the environment on their own. In the alternative, the adoption and
implementation of this ordinance is exempt from CEQA pursuant to Section 15308 of the State
CEQA Guidelines as an action taken to assure the maintenance, restoration, enhancement, and
protection of the environment where the regulatory process involves procedures for protection
of the environment. The basis for this determination is that this Ordinance does not in itself
approve any construction activities, but instead establishes standards, permit requirements,
and other measures that regulate health and safety at medical cannabis dispensaries and edible
cannabis product manufacturing sites. These standards, permit requirements, and other
measures will assure the protection of human health, which is an aspect of the environment

Page 15 of 16

under Public Resources Code Section 21083(b)(3), by establishing standards and enforcement
measures for regulating medical cannabis dispensaries and edible cannabis product
manufacturing sites. The Director of the Department of Health Services is directed to file a
notice of exemption in accordance with CEQA and the State CEQA Guidelines.
Section IV.
This Ordinance shall be and the same is hereby declared to be in full force and effect from and
after thirty (30) days after the date of its passage. A summary of the Ordinance shall be
published once before the expiration of fifteen (15) days after passage, with the names of the
Supervisors voting for or against the same, in The Press Democrat, a newspaper of general
circulation published in the County of Sonoma, State of California.
In regular session of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma introduced on the 6th
day of December, 2016 and finally passed and adopted this ______day of December, 2016, on
regular roll call of the members of said Board by the following vote:
Supervisors:
Gorin:
Ayes:

Rabbitt:

Zane:
Noes:

Gore:
Absent:

Carrillo:
Abstain:

WHEREUPON, the Chair declared the above and foregoing Ordinance duly adopted and
SO ORDERED.

Chair, Board of Supervisors
County of Sonoma
ATTEST:

Sheryl Bratton,
Clerk of the Board of Supervisors

Page 16 of 16

Attachment G
ORDINANCE NO. ______
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF THE COUNTY OF SONOMA, STATE OF
CALIFORNIA, AMENDING CHAPTER 14 OF THE SONOMA COUNTY CODE TO REGULATE
MEDICAL CANNABIS DISPENSARIES AND EDIBLE CANNABIS PRODUCT MANUFACTURING SITES
The Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma, State of California, does ordain as follows:
Section I. Chapter 14 of the Sonoma County Code is hereby amended as follows:
(A) Article I, Administration and Enforcement, is amended to read:
Article I. Administration and Enforcement.
Sec. 14-1-010. In General.
The health officer, as referred to in this Chapter, or his/her designee shall administer and
enforce the provisions of this Chapter, applicable state law, and the rules and regulations
promulgated by the State Department of Public Health.
This Chapter and the articles contained herein apply to the entire county and all
incorporated cities and towns of the county.
Sec. 14-1-020. Definitions.
a) “Department” means the county of Sonoma, Department of Health Services,
Environmental Health and Safety Section.
b) “Enforcement agency” means the county of Sonoma, Department of Health Services,
Environmental Health and Safety Section.
c) “Enforcement officer” means the agent, registered environmental health specialist or
environmental health specialist trainee authorized by the Director of Health Services,
Health Officer or Director of Environmental Health.
d) “Health officer” as referred to in this Chapter, means the Sonoma County Health
Officer/Deputy Health Officer or his/her authorized representatives.
e) “Health permit” as referred to in this Chapter, means a permit or registration issued by
the department for milk dairy, retail food, public swimming pool, or body art, medical
cannabis dispensary, or edible cannabis product manufacturing site as those terms are
defined throughout this Chapter and in the California Food and Agricultural Code, and
the California Health and Safety Code.
f) “Hearing officer” as referred to in this Chapter, means the Director of Environmental
Health or his/her authorized representative.
g) “Person” as referred to in this Chapter, includes any individual, firm, association,
organization, partnership, joint venture, estate, trust, business trust, limited liability
company, receiver, syndicate, corporation, or company, tribe or any other group or
combination acting as a unit and includes the plural as well as the singular number.

Page 1 of 16

Sec. 14-1-030. Requirement of Permit.
It is unlawful for any person without a health permit to control, lease, act as agent for,
conduct, operate, or manage any milk dairy, retail food facility, public swimming pool, or body
art facility, medical cannabis dispensary, or edible cannabis product manufacturing site as those
terms are defined throughout this Chapter.
Health permits shall be prominently posted in public view at the location or upon the
equipment for which it was issued. Health permits shall not be transferable upon change of
ownership of the location or equipment for which it was issued.
The holder of the health permit shall make payment to the department, on or before the
anniversary date as established at the time of permit issuance, an annual fee as established by
the Board of Supervisors' resolution, and as more fully set forth below.
Sec. 14-1-040. Suspensions and Revocations.
Health permits shall be valid until revoked, suspended or as conditioned by the
enforcement officer.
Any health permit issued pursuant to this Chapter may be suspended or revoked for good
cause by the enforcement officer. “Good cause” for the purpose of this Section, means a
violation of state law, a violation of any of the provisions of this Chapter, a violation of the
administrative rules or regulations adopted thereunder, a violation of any condition of such
health permit, or failure to make payment of the required health permit fee to the department.
The following practices will be utilized during a permit revocation or suspension:
a) Whenever an enforcement officer finds that a person is not operating in compliance
with their health permit, a written notice to comply shall be issued to the person. If the
person fails to comply within fifteen (15) days of the notice, the enforcement officer
shall issue a second written notice to comply describing the acts or omissions with
which the person is charged and informing them of their right to request a hearing.
b) At any time within a fifteen (15) -day period after service of such notice, the person may
request a hearing before the hearing officer and department to show cause why the
health permit should not be suspended or revoked.
c) A failure to request a hearing within fifteen (15) days shall be deemed a waiver of a right
to such a hearing.
d) Any hearing provided for in this Section shall be conducted in accordance with Section
14-1-060.
e) A health permit may be reinstated or a new health permit issued if the enforcement
agency determines that the conditions that prompted the permit suspension or
revocation no longer exist.
Sec. 14-1-050. Immediate Health Permit Suspension or Revocation.
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

Page 2 of 16

permit if the enforcement officer determines that there is an immediate threat to public health,
safety, or welfare.
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.
If a hearing is requested, it shall be conducted in accordance with Section 14-1-060.
Sec. 14-1-060. Hearing Procedure.
Whenever this Chapter provides for a hearing, the hearing shall be conducted in
accordance with this Section.
a) Upon receipt of a written request for a hearing, the hearing officer shall set a hearing
date at the earliest practicable time. The hearing shall be held no later than fifteen (15)
calendar days after receipt of the request for a hearing. Upon written request of the
registrant or permit holder, the hearing officer may postpone a hearing date, if
circumstances warrant the action. The hearing officer shall give notice of the hearing to
the parties at least ten (10) calendar days before the date of the hearing.
b) When circumstances warrant, the hearing officer may order a hearing at any reasonable
time within this fifteen (15) -day period to expedite the permit suspension or revocation
process.
c) Neither the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (Government Code Section
11500 et seq.) nor the formal rules of evidence in civil or criminal judicial hearings shall
apply to such hearing. At the hearing, the hearing officer may admit any evidence,
including witness testimony, relevant to the determination of the matter, except as
otherwise provided in this Chapter. A record of the hearing shall be made by any means,
including electronic recording, so long as a reasonably accurate and complete written
transcription of the proceedings can be made.
d) The hearing officer shall issue a written notice of decision to the person within five (5)
working days following the hearing. Notice of the written decision, including findings of
facts, conclusions of law, and notification of the time period in which judicial review may
be sought pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Section 1094.6 shall be served on all
parties. The notice of decision shall also specify the acts or omissions with which the
person is charged, and shall state the terms of the suspension or that the health permit
has been revoked. Any decision rendered by the hearing officer shall be a final
administrative decision.
e) Judicial Review. Hearing officer decisions shall be final, subject to judicial review under
the provisions of California Code of Civil Procedure Sections 1094.5 and 1094.6.
California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1094.6 governs limitation of time for filing
petitions under Section 1094.5, as set forth in Sonoma County Code Section 1-7.5.

Page 3 of 16

(B) Article VI, Medical Cannabis Dispensary and Edible Cannabis Product Manufacturing Site,
is hereby added to Chapter 14 of the Sonoma County Code as follows:
Article VI. – Medical Cannabis Dispensary and Edible Cannabis Product Manufacturing Site
Sec. 14-6-010. Purpose.
This Article provides for the enforcement of California laws and regulations pertaining to
medical cannabis dispensaries and edible cannabis product manufacturing sites, and to
establish local requirements as authorized in Health and Safety Code Section 11362.77 and the
2016 Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act.
All definitions, authority, scope, responsibilities, requirements, standards, conditions,
exemptions, procedures and penalties described within state law are adopted and
incorporated.
Sec. 14-6-020. In General.
Although edible cannabis products are not defined as a food in Health and Safety Code,
Sonoma County requires that all edible cannabis products sold at medical cannabis dispensaries
or manufactured at edible cannabis product manufacturing sites comply with the requirements
of Health and Safety Code Section 13700 et seq. and other applicable food safety codes, which
provide a system of prevention and overlapping safeguards designed to minimize foodborne
illness, ensure employee health, demonstrate industry manager knowledge, ensure safe food
preparation practices and delineate acceptable levels of sanitation for preparation of edible
products.
Sec. 14-6-030. Definitions.
For the purposes of this Article:
a) “Agency Having Jurisdiction” means the agency having delegated authority to adopt,

determine, mandate or enforce ordinances and regulatory requirements established by
the County of Sonoma and other jurisdictional governing bodies.
b) “Cannabis” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa Linnaeus, Cannabis indica, or

Cannabis ruderalis, or any other strain or varietal of the genus Cannabis that may exist
or hereafter be discovered or developed that has psychoactive or medicinal properties,
whether growing or not, including the seeds thereof. “Cannabis” also means marijuana
as defined by Section 11018 of the Health and Safety Code as enacted by Chapter 1407
of the Statutes of 1972. For the purpose of this section, “cannabis” does not mean
“industrial hemp” as defined by Section 81000 of the Food and Agricultural Code or
Section 11018.5 of the Health and Safety Code. Cannabis is classified as an agricultural
product separately from other agricultural crops.
c) “County” means the entire county and all incorporated cities and towns of the County,

which have delegated cannabis health permit authority to the Director.
d) “County Department” means any department or agency operated by the County of

Sonoma.

Page 4 of 16

e) “Delivery” means the commercial transfer of medical cannabis or medical cannabis

products from a dispensary, up to an amount determined by the bureau to a primary
caregiver or qualified patient as defined in Section 11362.7 of the Health and Safety
Code, or a testing laboratory. “Delivery” also includes the use by a dispensary of any
technology platform owned and controlled by the dispensary, or independently licensed
under this Chapter that enables qualified patients or primary caregivers to arrange for
or facilitate the commercial transfer by a licensed dispensary of medical cannabis or
medical cannabis products.
f)

“Director” means the Director of the Sonoma County Department of Health Services or
the Health Officer or any individual designated by the Director to act on his or her
behalf, including the Director of Environmental Health and Environmental Health
Specialists.

g) “Dispensary” or “Medical cannabis dispensary” means a facility operated in accordance

with state law, where medical cannabis, medical cannabis products or devices for the
use of medical cannabis or medical cannabis products are offered, either individually or
in any combination, for retail sale, including an establishment that delivers, medical
cannabis and medical cannabis products as part of retail sale.
h) “Edible Cannabis Product” means manufactured cannabis that is intended to be used, in

whole or in part, for human consumption, including but not limited to chewing gum. An
edible cannabis product is not considered food as defined by Section 109935 of Health
and Safety Code or a drug as defined by Section 109925 of the Health and Safety Code.
i)

“Edible Cannabis Manufacturing Site” refers to a “Manufacturer” that produces,
prepares, or propagates “Edible Cannabis Products.”

j)

“Imminent Health Hazard” means a significant threat or danger to health that is
considered to exist when there is evidence sufficient to show that a product, practice,
circumstance or event creates a situation that can cause infection, intoxication, disease
transmission, vermin infestation, or hazardous condition that requires immediate
correction or cessation of operation to prevent injury, illness, or death.

k) “Manufacturer” means a person that conducts the production, preparation, propagation

or compounding of “manufactured cannabis” or medical cannabis products either
directly or indirectly or by extraction methods, or independently by means of chemical
synthesis or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis at a fixed location
that packages or repackages medical cannabis or medical cannabis products or labels or
relabels its container.
l)

“Manufactured Cannabis” means raw cannabis that has undergone a process whereby
the raw agricultural product has been transformed into a concentrate, an edible
product, or a topical product.

m) “Manufacturing site” means a location that produces, prepares, propagates, or

compounds manufactured medical cannabis or medical cannabis products, directly or
indirectly, by extraction methods, independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by

Page 5 of 16

a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis, and is owned and operated by a
licensee for these activities.
n) “Medical cannabis,” “medical cannabis product” or “cannabis product” means any

product containing cannabis, including but not limited to flowers, buds, oils, tinctures,
concentrates, extractions, and edibles intended to be sold for use by medical cannabis
patients in California pursuant to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Proposition 215),
found at Section 11362.5 of the Health and Safety Code. For the purposes of this
Chapter, medical cannabis does not include industrial hemp as defined by Section 81000
of the Food and Agricultural Code or Section 11018.5 of the Health and Safety Code.
o) “Medical Cannabis Identification Card” or “Identification Card” means a document

issued by the State Department of Health Services pursuant to California Health and
Safety Code Sections 11362.7 et seq. that identifies a person authorized to engage in the
medical use of cannabis and the person's designated primary caregiver, if any, or
identifies a person as a primary caregiver for a medical cannabis patient.
p) “Nonsale Distribution” means to give a medical cannabis product or coupon at no cost

or at a nominal cost of less than 25 percent of the full retail value of the item exclusive
of taxes and fees to a person who is not a dispensary.
q) “Permittee” means the “Person” acting as the owner, proprietor, manager, or operator

of a medical cannabis dispensary who obtains a permit pursuant to this Article.
r) “Primary caregiver” shall have the same definition as California Health and Safety Code

Section 11362.7 et seq., and as may be amended, and which defines “primary caregiver”
as an individual, designated by a qualified patient or by a person with an identification
card, who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of
that patient or person, and may include a licensed clinic, a licensed health care facility, a
residential care facility, a hospice, or a home health agency as allowed by California
Health and Safety Code Section 11362.7(d)(1-3). A primary caregiver shall be at least 18
years of age, unless the primary caregiver is the parent of a minor child who is a
qualified patient or a person with an identification card or the primary caregiver is a
person otherwise entitled to make medical decisions under state law pursuant to
Sections 6922, 7002, 7050, or 7120 of the Family Code.
s) “Qualified patient” shall have the same definition as California Health and Safety Code

Section 11362.7 et seq., and as may be amended, and which states that a “qualified
patient” means a person who is entitled to the protections of California Health and
Safety Code Section 11362.5, but who does not have a valid medical cannabis
identification card. For the purposes of this Article, a “qualified patient who has a valid
identification card” shall mean a person who fulfills all of the requirements to be a
“qualified patient” under California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.7 et seq. and
also has a valid medical cannabis identification card.

Page 6 of 16

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 Section 14-6-050 and Section 146-060. 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 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 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.
Page 7 of 16

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 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 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.

Page 8 of 16

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

Page 9 of 16

remain upon the premises, between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 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 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 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.

Page 10 of 16

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 10 percent 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 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 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. 14-6-070. 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

Page 11 of 16

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 10 percent 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 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 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
Page 12 of 16

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 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,
Page 13 of 16

omission, or condition may be cited as a separate violation and each violation that
continues, exists, or occurs on more than one 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 $1,000 for the first
violation of a provision or regulation in a two year period, $5,000 for the second
violation of the same provision or regulation in a two year period, and $10,000 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 $10,000 for the first offense within two years, $25,000 for the second
offense within two years, and $50,000 for the third offense within two 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
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.

Page 14 of 16

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. 14-6-120. Severability
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this Article is, for any reason held to be
invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision
shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of the Chapter.
Section II.
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this Ordinance is for any reason held to
be unconstitutional and invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining
portion of this Ordinance. The Board of Supervisors hereby declares that it would have passed
this Ordinance and every section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase thereof, irrespective
of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses or phrases be
declared unconstitutional or invalid.
Section III.
Adoption and implementation of this Ordinance is exempt from the California Environmental
Quality Act (“CEQA”) pursuant to Section 15061(b)(3) of the State CEQA Guidelines because it
can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that this ordinance may have a significant
effect on the environment. Adoption and implementation of the standards, permit
requirements, and other measures contained in the ordinance will not result in any direct
physical change to the environment on their own. In the alternative, the adoption and
implementation of this ordinance is exempt from CEQA pursuant to Section 15308 of the State
CEQA Guidelines as an action taken to assure the maintenance, restoration, enhancement, and
protection of the environment where the regulatory process involves procedures for protection
of the environment. The basis for this determination is that this Ordinance does not in itself
approve any construction activities, but instead establishes standards, permit requirements,
and other measures that regulate health and safety at medical cannabis dispensaries and edible
cannabis product manufacturing sites. These standards, permit requirements, and other
measures will assure the protection of human health, which is an aspect of the environment

Page 15 of 16

under Public Resources Code Section 21083(b)(3), by establishing standards and enforcement
measures for regulating medical cannabis dispensaries and edible cannabis product
manufacturing sites. The Director of the Department of Health Services is directed to file a
notice of exemption in accordance with CEQA and the State CEQA Guidelines.
Section IV.
This Ordinance shall be and the same is hereby declared to be in full force and effect from and
after thirty (30) days after the date of its passage. A summary of the Ordinance shall be
published once before the expiration of fifteen (15) days after passage, with the names of the
Supervisors voting for or against the same, in The Press Democrat, a newspaper of general
circulation published in the County of Sonoma, State of California.
In regular session of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma introduced on the 6th
day of December, 2016 and finally passed and adopted this ______day of December, 2016, on
regular roll call of the members of said Board by the following vote:
Supervisors:
Gorin:
Ayes:

Rabbitt:

Zane:
Noes:

Gore:
Absent:

Carrillo:
Abstain:

WHEREUPON, the Chair declared the above and foregoing Ordinance duly adopted and
SO ORDERED.

Chair, Board of Supervisors
County of Sonoma
ATTEST:

Sheryl Bratton,
Clerk of the Board of Supervisors

Page 16 of 16

Attachment H

County of Sonoma
State of California

Item Number:
Resolution Number:

Date: December 6, 2016

4/5 Vote Required
Resolution Of The Board Of Supervisors Of The County Of Sonoma, State Of California,
Introducing, Reading The Title, And Waiving Further Reading Of A Proposed Ordinance
Amending Chapter 14 Of The Sonoma County Code To Regulate Medical Cannabis
Dispensaries And Edible Cannabis Product Manufacturing Sites
WHEREAS, a proposed ordinance entitled “An Ordinance of the Board of Supervisors of
the County of Sonoma, State of California, Amending Chapter 14 of the Sonoma County Code to
Regulate Medical Cannabis Dispensaries and Edible Cannabis Product Manufacturing Sites” has
been introduced and the title read.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that further reading of the proposed ordinance is
waived.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will consider
adoption of the proposed ordinance on December 13, 2016 in the Board of Supervisors
Chambers, 575 Administration Drive, Room 102A, Santa Rosa, California.

Supervisors:
Gorin:
Ayes:

Rabbitt:

Zane:
Noes:

Gore:
Absent:
So Ordered.

Carrillo:
Abstain:

Attachment I
MEDICAL CANNABIS HEALTH ORDINANCE SUMMARY
PURPOSE
The proposed Ordinance provides for the enforcement of California laws and regulations pertaining to
medical cannabis dispensaries and edible medical cannabis product manufacturing sites, and establishes
local requirements as authorized by the 2016 Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act.
Although, edible medical cannabis products are defined as “not a food” in Health and Safety code,
similar to how these products are managed in other states, Sonoma County is proposing that all edible
medical cannabis products sold at medical cannabis dispensaries or manufactured at edible medical
cannabis product manufacturing sites comply with the requirements of Health and Safety Code Section
113700 et seq. and other applicable food safety code, which provides a system of prevention and
overlapping safeguards designed to minimize foodborne illness, ensure employee health, demonstrate
industry manager knowledge, ensure safe food preparation practices and delineate acceptable levels of
sanitation. Staff, therefore, recommend the addition of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and Edible
Medical Cannabis Product Manufacturing Facilities as subject to the provisions of the Sonoma County
Code Chapter 14 - Health and Sanitation.
KEY DEFINITIONS
“Dispensary” or “Medical Cannabis Dispensary" means a facility operated in accordance with state law,
where medical cannabis, medical cannabis products or devices for the use of medical cannabis or
medical cannabis products are offered, either individually or in any combination, for retail sale, including
an establishment that delivers, medical cannabis and medical cannabis products as part of retail sale.
“Edible Cannabis Manufacturing Site” refers to the site where a “Manufacturer” produces, prepares, or
propagates “Edible Cannabis Products.”
“Edible Cannabis Product” means manufactured cannabis that is intended to be used, in whole or in
part, for human consumption, including but not limited to chewing gum. An edible medical cannabis
product is not considered food as defined by Section 109935 of Health and Safety Code or a drug as
defined by Section 109925 of the Health and Safety Code.
“Manufacturer” means a person that conducts the production, preparation, propagation or
compounding of “manufactured cannabis” or medical cannabis products, that holds a valid state license
pursuant to this chapter, and that holds all applicable local licenses and/or permits.
MEDICAL CANNABIS DISPENSARY AND EDIBLE MEDICAL CANNABIS PRODUCT MANUFACTURING SITE
PERMITS
Staff recommends that no medical cannabis dispensary or edible medical cannabis product
manufacturing site shall operate in Sonoma County without a valid health permit. A permit will not be
issued until an inspection confirms that applicants meet the specifications and conform to the provisions
1

Attachment I
of Sonoma County Code Chapters 14 and 26, and the 2016 Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act.
The permitting process will be coordinated with Sheriff’s Department, PRMD, Fire and Emergency
Services, Agricultural Commissioner’s Office and other appropriate agencies. Permits are valid only for the
person, location and activity approved and require annual renewal.
FEES
Each location of business must obtain a separate health permit and submit the associated fee. The fee is
calculated to recover the reasonable regulatory cost of program administration and enforcement of the
ordinance.
KEY PROVISIONS
Dispensary Operations
Dispensaries will be required to adhere to the following practices to ensure the safety of the public and
environment. These include but are not limited to:





Medical cannabis dispensaries may only sell or distribute cannabis to qualified patients or caregivers;
Consumption of medical cannabis, including smoking or ingesting, on the premises of the dispensary or
within twenty-five feet will be prohibited;
Permitted dispensaries will be allowed to deliver medical cannabis to patients only, mobile
dispensaries are prohibited;
Only cannabis manufactured, processed, tested, and tracked in the state of California ( that has
not left the state before arriving at the medical cannabis dispensary) can be sold or distributed
Dispensaries cannot be permitted or operate as a food facility, an alcohol retailer or a tobacco
retailer.
Dispensaries cannot offer free samples or utilize discounting practices including the use of
coupons, discounts on multiple purchases, and provision of a free or discounted item in
consideration of purchase of another product.

Edible Cannabis Product Manufacturing Operations
Edible Cannabis Product Manufacturing Site Operations will be required to adhere to the following
practices to ensure the safety of the public and environment. These include but are not limited to:

Only cannabis manufactured, processed, tested, and tracked in the state of California (that has
not left the state before arriving at the medical cannabis dispensary) can be sold or distributed.
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.
Edible Cannabis Manufacturing Operations cannot be permitted or operate as a wholesale food
manufacturer, retail food facility or cottage food producer.

2

Attachment I
Edible Cannabis Products
In order to insure product safety, staff recommend that dispensaries and manufacturing sites that
produce, sell or distribute edible cannabis products comply with and are subject to the provisions of all
relevant state and local laws regarding the preparation, distribution, and sale of food. This includes
standards related to hygiene, handling, packaging and time-temperature controls.
Labeling
Presently, medical cannabis is legal in California for treatment of symptoms associated with medical
conditions and therefore, should have similar labeling requirements to prescription and/or over-thecounter (OTC) medications. i In addition, packaging strategies should reduce the risk of accidental
cannabis exposure among children by not appealing to youth. Staff recommend the following provisions
for medical cannabis products:



All medical cannabis product labels include the manufacture date and source and identify the
source and date of cultivation and manufacturer.
All medical cannabis product labels contain the following warnings: “Product contains medical
cannabis” and “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 hours”
All medical cannabis product labels list pharmacologically active ingredients; 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.
All edible cannabis products contain a warning label if nuts or other known allergens are used.
Manufactured edible cannabis products are in an opaque and tamper-resistant package without
pictures of the product.
Medical cannabis packages and labels cannot be made to be attractive to youth and children,
i.e. no cartoon characters.

Advertising
Research on similar products such as tobacco and alcohol, has shown that the aggressive marketing,
product packaging, and promotion tactics have heavily targeted the youth market. ii Youth are
particularly susceptible to marketing and consequently there should be additional protections regarding
youth exposure. iii Staff recommend:


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
Advertisements many not cater to youth or children
Advertisements may not be placed in locations that cater to youth or children

3

Attachment I
Enforcement and Closure
The Ordinance provides for administrative penalties and a hearing process. In addition, it authorizes the
director, should an imminent health hazard be found that cannot be immediately remediated, to
temporarily suspend the permit and order the medical cannabis dispensary or edible medical cannabis
product manufacturer immediately closed.
Reporting
At least biennially, commencing in January 2019, the Director shall make a report to the Board of
Supervisors that provides a status of current dispensary and manufacturing operations, implementation of
the ordinance, levels of compliance, health and safety data and impacts, and concerns in order to inform
considerations regarding potential changes to the County Code.

i

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Food and Drug Administration Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER)
Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER),
http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/default.htm
ii
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2012. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of
the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking
and Health www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/preventingyouth-tobacco-use/full-report.pdf.
iii
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2012. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of
the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking
and Health www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/preventingyouth-tobacco-use/full-report.pdf.

4

Attachment J
ORDINANCE NO. (

)

AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF THE COUNTY OF
SONOMA, STATE OF CALIFORNIA, IMPOSING A CANNABIS BUSINESS
TAX ON COMMERCIAL CANNABIS BUSINESS
The Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma, State of California, ordains
as follows:
Section 1. Title. This ordinance shall be known as the Cannabis Business Tax
Ordinance. This ordinance shall be applicable in the unincorporated territory of the
County of Sonoma, which shall be referred to herein as “County.”
Section 2. General Tax. The Cannabis Business Tax is enacted solely for general
governmental purposes for the County and not for specific purposes. All of the proceeds
from the tax imposed by this Chapter shall be placed in the County's general fund and
used for general governmental purposes.
Section 3. Purpose of the Ordinance. This ordinance is adopted to achieve the following
purposes, among others, and directs that the provisions hereof be interpreted in order to
accomplish those purposes:
A.
To impose a tax on the privilege of cultivating, dispensing, producing,
processing, preparing, storing, providing, donating, selling, or distributing medical
cannabis or medical cannabis products by commercial cannabis businesses in the
unincorporated area of the County, pursuant to the state Medical Cannabis Regulation
and Safety Act, specifically California Business and Professions Code section 19348, or
other enabling legislation;
B.
To impose a tax on the privilege of cultivating, manufacturing, producing,
processing, preparing, storing, providing, donating, selling, or distributing nonmedical
marijuana and marijuana products and accessories by commercial cannabis businesses in
the unincorporated area of the County pursuant to the “California Control, Regulate and
Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Initiative” approved by the voters in the November 2016
election, or other enabling legislation, notwithstanding if state law uses the term
“marijuana” or “cannabis”;
C.
To impose a tax on lawful commercial cannabis business in accordance
with the authority granted by California Revenue and Taxation Code section 7284 to
impose a business license tax;
D.
To specify the type of tax and rate of tax to be levied and the method of
collection; and

1

Attachment J
E.
To comply with all requirements for imposition of a general tax, such tax
to become operative only if submitted to the electorate and approved by a majority vote
of the voters voting in an election on the issue.
Section 4. Definitions. Terms that are not defined in this Chapter shall have the meanings
ascribed to them in Section 26-02-140 (Definitions) of Chapter 26 of the Sonoma County
Code. The following words and phrases shall have the meanings set forth below when
used in this Chapter:
A.
“Business” shall include all activities engaged in or caused to be engaged
in within the unincorporated area of the County, including any commercial or industrial
enterprise, trade, profession, occupation, vocation, calling, or livelihood, whether or not
carried on for gain or profit, but shall not include the services rendered by an employee to
his or her employer.
B.
“Cannabis” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa Linnaeus,
Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis, or any other strain or varietal of the genus
Cannabis that may exist or hereafter be discovered or developed that has psychoactive or
medicinal properties, whether growing or not, including the seeds thereof. “Cannabis”
also means marijuana as defined by Section 11018 of the Health and Safety Code as
enacted by Chapter 1407 of the Statutes of 1972. For the purpose of this section,
“cannabis” does not mean “industrial hemp” as defined by Section 81000 of the Food and
Agricultural Code or Section 11018.5 of the Health and Safety Code. Cannabis is
classified as an agricultural product separately from other agricultural crops.
C.
“Cannabis cultivation area” means the total aggregate area(s) of cannabis
cultivation on a single premise as measured around the outermost perimeter of each
separate and discrete area of cannabis cultivation at the dripline of the canopy expected at
maturity and includes, but is not limited to, the space between plants within the
cultivation area, the exterior dimensions of garden beds, garden plots, hoop houses, green
houses, and each room or area where cannabis plants are grown, as determined by the
review authority.
D.
“Cannabis nursery” means a location that produces cannabis clones,
immature plants, and seeds for wholesale distribution, used specifically for the planting,
propagation, and cultivation of cannabis.
E.
“Cannabis product” means any product containing cannabis, including, but
not limited to, flowers, buds, oils, tinctures, concentrates, extractions, and edibles
intended to be sold for use by medical cannabis patients in California pursuant to the
Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Proposition 215), found at Section 11362.5 of the
Health and Safety Code. For the purposes of this chapter, medical cannabis does not
include industrial hemp as defined by Section 81000 of the Food and Agricultural Code
or Section 11018.5 of the Health and Safety Code.

2

Attachment J
F.
“Commercial cannabis business” means any commercial business activity
relating to cannabis, including but not limited to cultivating, transporting, distributing,
manufacturing, compounding, converting, processing, preparing, storing, packaging,
delivering, and selling (wholesale and/or retail sales) of cannabis and any ancillary
products and accessories in the unincorporated area of the County, whether or not carried
on for gain or profit.
G.
“Commercial cannabis business tax,” “business tax,” or “commercial
cannabis tax” means the tax due pursuant to this Chapter for engaging in commercial
cannabis business in the unincorporated area of the County.
“Commercial cannabis cultivation” means cultivation conducted by, for,
H.
or as part of a commercial cannabis business.
I.
“County permit” means a permit issued by the County to a person to
authorize that person to operate or engage in a commercial cannabis business.
J.
“Cultivation” means any activity involving the planting, growing,
harvesting, drying, curing, grading, or trimming of cannabis. For purposes of this
Chapter, “cultivation” does not include a cannabis nursery.
“Delivery” means the commercial transfer of cannabis or cannabis
K.
products from a dispensary.
L.
“Dispensary” means a facility where cannabis, cannabis products, or
devices for the use of cannabis or cannabis products are offered, either individually or in
any combination, for retail sale, including a person that delivers cannabis and cannabis
products as part of a retail sale. Where a dispensary performs its functions through a
technology platform of any type or character, the technology platform shall also be
deemed a dispensary for purposes of this Chapter, and shall have the same duties and
liabilities as the principal. Compliance with the provisions of this Chapter by either the
principal or the technology platform shall, however, be considered compliance by both.
M.
“Distributor” or “distribution” or “distribution facility” means a person
involved in the procurement, sale, and/or transport of cannabis and cannabis products
between two or more cannabis businesses.
“Employee” means each and every person engaged in the operation or
N.
conduct of any business, whether as owner, member of the owner's family, partner,
associate, agent, manager or solicitor, and each and every other person employed or
working in such business for a wage, salary, commission, barter or any other form of
compensation.
“Engaged in business” means the commencing, conducting, operating,
O.
managing or carrying on of a cannabis business and the exercise of corporate or franchise
powers, whether done as owner, or by means of an officer, agent, manager, employee, or
3

Attachment J
otherwise, whether operating from a fixed location in the unincorporated area of the
County or coming into the unincorporated area of the County from an outside location to
engage in such activities. A person shall be deemed engaged in business within the
County if:
1.
Such person or person's employee maintains a fixed place of
business within unincorporated area of the County for the benefit or partial benefit
of such person;
2.
Such person or person's employee owns or leases real property
within the unincorporated area of County for business purposes;
3.
Such person or person's employee regularly maintains a stock of
tangible personal property in the unincorporated area of County for sale in the
ordinary course of business;
4.
Such person or person's employee regularly conducts solicitation
of business within the unincorporated area of County;
5.
Such person or person's employee performs work or renders
services in the unincorporated area of County; and
6.
Such person or person's employee utilizes the streets within the
unincorporated area of County in connection with the operation of motor vehicles
for business purposes.
The foregoing specified activities shall not be a limitation on the meaning of
“engaged in business.”
P.
“Evidence of doing business” means evidence such as, without limitation,
use of signs, circulars, cards or any other advertising media, including the use of internet
or telephone solicitation, or representation to a government agency or to the public that
such person is engaged in a cannabis business in the unincorporated area of County.
Q.

“Fiscal year” means July 1 through June 30 of the following calendar year.

R.
“Gross Receipts,” except as otherwise specifically provided, means the
total amount actually received or receivable from all sales; the total amount or
compensation actually received or receivable for the performance of any act or service, of
whatever nature it may be, for which a charge is made or credit allowed, whether or not
such act or service is done as a part of or in connection with the sale of materials, goods,
wares or merchandise; discounts, rents, royalties, fees, commissions, dividends, and gains
realized from trading in stocks or bonds, however designated. Included in “gross
receipts” shall be all receipts, cash, credits and property of any kind or nature, without
any deduction there from on account of the cost of the property sold, the cost of materials
4

Attachment J
used, labor or service costs, interest paid or payable, or losses or other expenses
whatsoever, except that the following shall be excluded therefrom:
1.

Cash discounts where allowed and taken on sales;

2.
Credit allowed on property accepted as part of the purchase price
and which property may later be sold, at which time the sales price shall be
included as gross receipts;
3.
Any tax required by law to be included in or added to the purchase
price and collected from the consumer or purchaser;
4.
Such part of the sale price of any property returned by purchasers
to the seller as refunded by the seller by way of cash or credit allowances or return
of refundable deposits previously included in gross receipts;
5.
Receipts from investments where the holder of the investment
receives only interest and/or dividends, royalties, annuities and gains from the
sale or exchange of stock or securities solely for a person's own account, not
derived in the ordinary course of a business;
6.
Receipts derived from the occasional sale of used, obsolete or
surplus trade fixtures, machinery or other equipment used by the taxpayer in the
regular course of the taxpayer's business;
7.
Cash value of sales, trades or transactions between departments or
units of the same business;
8.
Whenever there are included within the gross receipts amounts
which reflect sales for which credit is extended and such amount proved
uncollectible in a subsequent year, those amounts may be excluded from the gross
receipts in the year they prove to be uncollectible; provided, however, if the
whole or portion of such amounts excluded as uncollectible are subsequently
collected they shall be included in the amount of gross receipts for the period
when they are recovered;
9.

Transactions between a partnership and its partners;

10.
Receipts from services or sales in transactions between affiliated
corporations. An affiliated corporation is a corporation:
a.
The voting and non-voting stock of which is owned at least
eighty percent by such other corporation with which such transaction is
had; or

5

Attachment J
b.
Which owns at least eighty percent of the voting and nonvoting stock of such other corporation; or
c.
At least eighty percent of the voting and non-voting stock
of which is owned by a common parent corporation which also has such
ownership of the corporation with which such transaction is had.
11.
Transactions between a limited liability company and its
member(s), provided the limited liability company has elected to file as a
Subchapter K entity under the Internal Revenue Code and that such transaction(s)
shall be treated the same as between a partnership and its partner(s) as specified in
Subsection (9) above;
12.
Receipts of refundable deposits, except that such deposits when
forfeited and taken into income of the business shall not be excluded when in
excess of one dollar;
13.
Amounts collected for others where the business is acting as an
agent or trustee and to the extent that such amounts are paid to those for whom
collected. These agents or trustees must provide the finance department with the
names and the addresses of the others and the amounts paid to them. This
exclusion shall not apply to any fees, percentages, or other payments retained by
the agent or trustees.
S.
lighting.

“Indoor” means indoor cultivation of cannabis using exclusively artificial

T.
“Manufacturer” means a person that conducts the production, preparation,
propagation, or compounding of manufactured cannabis or cannabis products either
directly or indirectly or by extraction methods, or independently by means of chemical
synthesis or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis at a fixed location that
packages or repackages cannabis or cannabis products or labels or relabels its container.
“Mixed-Light” means cultivation of cannabis using any combination of
U.
natural and supplemental artificial lighting. Greenhouses, hoop houses, hot houses and
similar structures or light deprivation systems are included in this category.

V.
“Outdoor” means cultivation of cannabis using no artificial lighting
conducted in the ground or in containers outdoors with no covering. Outdoor cultivation
does not include greenhouses, hoop houses, hot houses or similar structures.
W.
“Person” means an individual, firm, partnership, joint venture, association,
corporation, limited liability company, estate, trust, business trust, receiver, syndicate,
tribe or any other group or combination acting as a unit and includes the plural as well as
the singular number.
6

Attachment J

X.
“Personal cannabis cultivation” means cultivation within the residency,
plant number, and/or square footage limitations provided in Chapter 26-88-258
exclusively for noncommercial.
Y.

“Sale” means and includes any sale, exchange, or barter.

Z.
“Square foot” or “square footage” means the maximum amount of
cannabis cultivation area for commercial cannabis cultivation authorized by a County
permit issued to a person engaging in commercial cannabis business, or by a state license
in the absence of a County permit or license, not deducting for unutilized square footage,
and shall be the basis for the tax base for cultivation.
AA.

“State” means the State of California.

BB. “State license,” “license,” or “registration” means a state license issued
pursuant to California Business & Professions Code Sections 19300, et seq. or other
applicable state law.
CC. “Testing laboratory” means a facility, entity, or site in the state that offers
or performs testing of cannabis or cannabis products.
DD. “Transporter” means a person engaged in the transfer of cannabis or
cannabis products from the business location of one commercial cannabis business to the
business location of another commercial cannabis business, for the purposes of
conducting commercial cannabis activity.
EE.
“Treasurer-Tax Collector” means the Treasurer-Tax Collector of the
County of Sonoma, his or her deputies or any other County officer charged with the
administration of the provisions of this Chapter.
Section 5. Tax Imposed. There is established and imposed a cannabis business tax at the
rates set forth in this Chapter. Every person who is engaged in commercial cannabis
business in the unincorporated area of the County shall pay an annual cannabis business
tax.
A.

Tax on Commercial Cannabis Cultivation

1.
Every person who is engaged in commercial cannabis cultivation
in the unincorporated area of the County shall pay an annual commercial cannabis
business tax either: (1) at a rate of up to $10.00 per square foot of outdoor
cultivation area, $38.00 per square foot of indoor cultivation area, and $22 per
square foot of mixed-light cultivation area, or (2) at a rate of up to ten percent of
gross receipts per fiscal year. When the rate is determined on a square footage
basis, on July 1 of each fiscal year succeeding the year of imposition of a square
footage based tax on commercial cannabis cultivation, the amount of the tax shall
7

Attachment J
be increased by the most recent change in the annual average of the Consumer
Price Index (“CPI”) for all urban consumers in the San-Francisco-Oakland-San
Jose areas as published by the United States Government Bureau of Labor
Statistics. However, no CPI adjustment resulting in a decrease of any tax imposed
by this subsection shall be made. The tax under this subsection shall not be
imposed unless and until the Board of Supervisors, by ordinance, takes action to:
(1) specify whether the tax on commercial cannabis cultivation will be imposed
on a square footage or gross receipts basis, and (2) set a tax rate not to exceed the
maximum rates established herein.
2.
For cultivation license types based on plant count, the square
footage based tax will be calculated using up to 100 square feet per plant allowed
under the permit.
3.
Notwithstanding the maximum tax rate established in Subsection
(A)(1), the Board of Supervisors may, in its discretion, at any time by ordinance,
implement a lower tax rate for all persons engaged in commercial cannabis
cultivation in the unincorporated area of the County or establish differing tax rates
for different categories of commercial cannabis cultivation, including commercial
cannabis cultivation for medical or adult use, subject to the maximum rate
established in Subsection (A)(1). The Board of Supervisors may, by ordinance,
also increase any such tax rate from time to time, not to exceed the maximum tax
rate established in Subsection (A)(1). Notwithstanding the maximum square foot
per plant established in Subsection (A)(2) for cultivation license types based on
plant count, the Board of Supervisors may, in its discretion, at any time by
ordinance, implement a lower square footage per plant, and may, by ordinance,
also increase such square footage from time to time, not to exceed the maximum
square footage established in Subsection (A)(2).
4.
Pursuant to Subsection (A), the commercial cannabis business tax
on commercial cannabis cultivation is to be imposed on a square footage basis,
and is set at the following rates, with permit types as defined in Chapter 26 of the
Sonoma County Code:
Permit Type
Outdoor
1C: Cottage
1: Specialty
2: Small
3: Medium
Indoor
1C: Cottage
1A: Specialty
2A: Small
3A: Medium
Mixed Light

Rate Per Square Foot
$0.50
$2.00
$3.00
$5.00
$1.88
$7.50
$11.25
$18.75
8

Attachment J
1C: Cottage
1B: Specialty
2B: Small
3B: Medium

$1.08
$4.32
$6.48
$10.80

5.
Pursuant to Subsection (A), the square footage based tax for
cultivation license types based on plant count will be calculated using 25 square
feet per plant allowed under the permit.
B.

Tax on All Other Commercial Cannabis Business

1.
Every person who is engaged in commercial cannabis business,
including but not limited to as a distributor, distribution facility, testing
laboratory, transporter, manufacturer, nursery, dispensary, or engaging in delivery
of cannabis in the unincorporated area of the County shall pay an annual
commercial cannabis business tax at a rate of up to ten percent of gross receipts
per fiscal year. The tax under this chapter shall not be imposed unless and until
the Board of Supervisors, by ordinance, takes action to set a tax rate not to exceed
the maximum rates established herein.
2.
Notwithstanding the maximum tax rate established in Subsection
(B)(1), the Board of Supervisors may, in its discretion, at any time by ordinance,
implement a lower tax rate for all persons engaged in commercial cannabis
business in the unincorporated area of the County or establish differing tax rates
for different categories of commercial cannabis business, including commercial
cannabis business for medical or adult use, subject to the maximum rate
established in Subsection (B)(1). The Board of Supervisors may, by ordinance,
also increase any such tax rate from time to time, not to exceed the maximum tax
rate established in Subsection (B)(1).
3.
Pursuant to Subsection (A), the cannabis business tax on every
person who is engaged in commercial cannabis business, including but not limited
to as a distributor, distribution facility, testing laboratory, transporter,
manufacturer, cannabis nursery, dispensary, or engaging in delivery of cannabis
in the unincorporated area of the County is set at the following rates:

Operator
Manufacturer
Transporter
Distributor
Cannabis Nursery
Dispensary
Testing Laboratory

Percentage of Gross Receipts
5%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
9

Attachment J

Section 6. Reporting and Remittance of Tax. The commercial cannabis business tax
imposed by this Chapter shall be imposed on a fiscal year basis and shall be due and
payable in quarterly installments as follows:
A.
Each person owing a commercial cannabis business tax, and each person
on whom a 0% tax rate is imposed, shall, on or before the last day of the month following
the close of each fiscal year quarter, prepare and submit a tax statement on the form
prescribed by the Treasurer-Tax Collector and remit to the Treasurer-Tax Collector the
tax due. The tax due shall be no less than the quarterly installment due, but the taxpayer
may at any time pay the tax due for the entire fiscal year. Each business shall pay on or
before the last day of the month following the close of each calendar quarter.
B.
If the commercial cannabis business tax is owed on commercial cannabis
cultivation, and the Board has specified that the square footage basis shall apply, the
square footage tax due shall be paid based on the square footage of cultivation authorized
by the County permit. The tax statement may include a request for adjustment of the tax
due to square footage authorized but not utilized for cultivation, and/or crop loss, along
with evidence substantiating the square footage utilized and/or crop loss. The decision to
prorate or adjust the tax will be made at the sole discretion of the County. A fee may be
adopted by the Board of Supervisors and collected by the agency having jurisdiction or
the Treasurer-Tax Collector to pay for the cost of investigating, verifying, and opining on
such request for adjustment of the tax.
C.
All tax statements shall be completed on forms prescribed by the
Treasurer-Tax Collector.
D.
Tax statements and payments for all outstanding taxes owed the County
are immediately due to the Treasurer-Tax Collector upon cessation of business for any
reason.
E.
The Treasurer-Tax Collector may, at his or her discretion, establish shorter
or longer report and payment periods for any taxpayer as the Treasurer-Tax Collector
deems necessary to insure collection of the tax.
F.
The Treasurer-Tax Collection may, as part of administering the tax and in
his or her discretion, modify the form of payment and take such other administrative
actions as needed to facilitate collection of the tax.
Section 7. Registration. In order that the County will have an accurate record of parties
collecting the cannabis business tax, prior to commencing business each person engaged
in commercial cannabis cultivation and commercial cannabis business shall register such
cannabis business with the Treasurer-Tax Collector, submitting any information deemed
necessary by the Treasurer-Tax Collector.

10

Attachment J
Section 8. Payments and Communications – Timely Remittance. Whenever any payment,
statement, report, request or other communication is due, it must be received by the
Treasurer-Tax Collector on or before the final due date. A postmark will not be accepted
as timely remittance. If the due date falls on Saturday, Sunday or a holiday, the due date
shall be the next regular business day on which the County is open to the public.
Section 9. Payment – When Taxes Deemed Delinquent. Unless otherwise specifically
provided under other provisions of this Chapter, the taxes required to be paid pursuant to
this Chapter shall be deemed delinquent if not received by the Treasurer-Tax Collector on
or before the due date as specified in Sections 6 and 8.
Section 10. Notice Not Required By County. The Treasurer-Tax Collector is not required
to send a delinquency or other notice or bill to any person subject to the provisions of this
Chapter. Failure to send such notice or bill shall not affect the validity of any tax or
penalty due under the provisions of this Chapter.
Section 11. Penalties and Interest.
A.
Any person who fails or refuses to pay any commercial cannabis business
tax required to be paid pursuant to this Chapter on or before the due date shall pay
penalties and interest as follows:
1.
A penalty equal to twenty-five percent (25%) of the amount of the
tax, in addition to the amount of the tax, plus interest on the unpaid tax calculated
from the due date of the tax at the rate of one and one-half percent (1.5%) per
month; and
2.
If the tax remains unpaid for a period exceeding one calendar
month beyond the due date, an additional penalty equal to twenty-five percent
(25%) of the amount of the tax , plus interest at the rate of one and one-half
percent (1.5%) per month on the unpaid tax.
3.
Interest shall be applied at the rate of one and one-half percent
(1.5%) per month on the first day of the month for the full month, and will
continue to accrue monthly on the tax until the balance is paid in full.
B.
Whenever a check or electronic payment is submitted in payment of a
commercial cannabis business tax and the payment is subsequently returned unpaid by
the bank for any reason, the taxpayer will be liable for the tax amount due plus the return
check fee, penalties and interest as provided for in this Section, and any other amount
allowed under state law.
C.
The cannabis business tax due shall be that amount due and payable from
the first date on which the person was engaged in cannabis business in the unincorporated
area of the County, together with applicable penalties and interest calculated in
accordance with Subsection (A) above.
11

Attachment J

D.
Any person whose cannabis business tax is delinquent by at least sixty
calendar days may be subject to revocation of the County permit associated with the
subject cannabis business.
E.
The Treasurer-Tax Collector is authorized to make an assessment in the
manner provided for in Sections 25 and 26 of the anticipated tax liability for up to the
following four quarters if any person has failed to file one or more returns or payments,
or who has filed one or more delinquent returns or payments, in any twelve (12) month
period, without curing the failure or delinquency within 60 days of the original due date
after written notice from the Treasurer-Tax Collector of the failure or delinquency.
Failure to remit the anticipated tax within 60 days of the notice of assessment shall be
grounds for revocation of the County permit associated with the subject cannabis
business.
Section 12. Waiver of Penalties. The Treasurer-Tax Collector may waive the first and
second penalties of twenty-five percent each imposed upon any person if:
A.
The person provides evidence satisfactory to the Treasurer-Tax Collector
that failure to pay timely was due to circumstances beyond the control of the person and
occurred notwithstanding the exercise of ordinary care and the absence of willful neglect,
and the person paid the delinquent business tax and accrued interest owed the county
prior to applying to the Treasurer-Tax Collector for a waiver.
B.
The waiver provisions specified in this subsection shall not apply to
interest accrued on the delinquent tax and a waiver shall be granted only once during any
twenty-four month period.
Section 13. Refunds and Credits.
A.
No refund shall be made of any tax collected pursuant to this Chapter,
except as provided in Section 14.
B.
No refund of any tax collected pursuant to this Chapter shall be made
because of the discontinuation, dissolution, or other termination of a business.
Section 14. Refunds and Procedures.
A.
Whenever the amount of any commercial cannabis business tax, penalty or
interest has been overpaid, paid more than once, or has been erroneously collected or
received by the County under this Chapter, it may be refunded to the claimant who paid
the tax provided that a written claim for refund is filed with the Treasurer-Tax Collector
within one (1) year of the date the tax was originally due and payable.
B.
The Treasurer-Tax Collector, his or her deputies or any other County
officer charged with the administration of this Chapter shall have the right to examine
12

Attachment J
and audit all the books and business records of the claimant in order to determine the
eligibility of the claimant to the claimed refund. No claim for refund shall be allowed if
the claimant refuses to allow such examination of claimant's books and business records
after request by the Treasurer-Tax Collector to do so. The Treasurer-Tax Collector may
collect a fee adopted by the Board of Supervisors to pay for the cost of examination and
audit should the books and records be provided in a form insufficient to allow the
Treasurer-Tax Collector to make a determination on the claim for refund.
C.
In the event that the commercial cannabis business tax was erroneously
paid and the error is attributable to the County, the County shall refund the amount of tax
erroneously paid up to one (1) year from when the error was identified.
Section 15. Exemptions from the Tax.
A.
cultivation.

The provisions of this Chapter shall not apply to personal cannabis

B.
The provisions of this Chapter shall not apply to personal use of cannabis
that is specifically exempted from state licensing requirements, that meets the definition
of personal use or equivalent terminology under state law, and for which the individual
receives no compensation whatsoever related to that personal use.
Section 16. Administration of the Tax.
A.
It shall be the duty of the Treasurer-Tax Collector to collect the taxes,
penalties, fees, and perform the duties required by this Chapter.
B.
For purposes of administration and enforcement of this Chapter generally,
the Treasurer-Tax Collector may from time to time promulgate such administrative rules
and procedures consistent with the purpose, intent, and express terms of this Chapter as
he or she deems necessary to implement or clarify such provisions or aid in enforcement.
C.
The Treasurer-Tax Collector may take such administrative actions as
needed to administer the tax, including but not limited to:
1.
Provide to all commercial cannabis business taxpayers forms for
the reporting of the tax;
2.

Increase tax rates in accordance with this Chapter;

3.
Provide information to any taxpayer concerning the provisions of
this Chapter;
4.
Receive and record all taxes remitted to the County as provided in
this Chapter;
13

Attachment J
5.
Maintain records of taxpayer reports and taxes collected pursuant
to this Chapter;
6.
7.
Chapter.

Assess penalties and interest to taxpayers pursuant to this Chapter;
Determine amounts owed and enforce collection pursuant to this

Section 17. Enforcement – Action to Collect.
A.
Any taxes, penalties and/or fees required to be paid under the provisions
of this Chapter shall be deemed a debt owed to the County. Any person owing money to
the County under the provisions of this Chapter shall be liable in an action brought in the
name of the County for the recovery of such debt. The provisions of this Section shall not
be deemed a limitation upon the right of the County to bring any other action including
criminal, civil and equitable actions, based upon the failure to pay the tax, penalties
and/or fees imposed by this Chapter or the failure to comply with any of the provisions of
this Chapter.
B.
In addition to any other remedies available under federal, state, or local
law, if any amount required to be paid to the County under this Chapter is not paid when
due, the Treasurer-Tax Collector may, within three (3) years after the amount is due
record a certificate of lien specifying the amount of taxes, fees and penalties due, and the
name and address of the person as it appears on the records of Treasurer-Tax Collector.
The lien shall also specify that the Treasurer-Tax Collector has complied with all
provisions of this Chapter in the determination of the amount required to be paid. From
the time of the filing for record, the amount required to be paid, together with penalties
thereon, constitutes a lien upon all real property in the County owned by the person, or
subsequently acquired by the person before the lien expires. The lien has the force, effect,
and priority of a judgment lien and shall continue for ten (10) years from the filing of the
certificate unless sooner released or otherwise discharged. A fee may be adopted by the
Board of Supervisors and collected by the Treasurer-Tax Collector to pay for the cost of
recording and administering the lien.
C.
At any time within three (3) years after any person is delinquent in the
payment of any amount herein required to be paid or within three (3) years after the last
recording of a certificate of lien under Subsection B of this Section, the Treasurer-Tax
Collector may issue a warrant for the enforcement of any liens and for the collection of
any amount required to be paid to the County under this Chapter. The warrant shall be
directed to the Sheriff and shall have the same effect as a writ of execution. The warrant
shall be levied and sale made pursuant to it in the same manner and with the same effect
as a levy and sale pursuant to a writ of execution. The Treasurer-Tax Collector may pay
or advance to the Sheriff, the same fees, commissions and expenses for service provided
by law for similar services pursuant to a writ of execution. The Treasurer-Tax Collector
may approve the fees for publication in the newspaper.
14

Attachment J

D.
At any time within three (3) years after recording a lien against any
person, if the lien is not discharged and released in full, the Treasurer-Tax Collector may
forthwith seize any asset or property, real or personal (including bank account), of the
person and sell at public auction the asset or property, or a sufficient part of it to pay the
amount due together with any penalties and interest imposed for the delinquency and any
cost incurred on account of the seizure and sale. Assets or property of the person subject
to seizure and sale subject to this Chapter shall not include any assets or property which
is exempt from execution under the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure.
Section 18. Apportionment. If a person subject to the tax is operating both within and
outside the unincorporated County, it is the intent of the County to apply the commercial
cannabis business tax so that the measure of the tax fairly reflects the proportion of the
taxed activity actually carried on in the County. For purposes of apportionment as may
be required by law, the Treasurer-Tax Collector may promulgate administrative
procedures for apportionment in accordance with state law.
Section 19. Constitutionality and Legality. This tax is intended to be applied in a manner
consistent with the United States and California Constitutions and state law. None of the
tax provided for by this Chapter shall be applied in a manner that causes an undue burden
upon interstate commerce, a violation of the equal protection and due process clauses of
the Constitutions of the United States or the State of California or a violation of any other
provision of the California Constitution or state law.
Section 20. Audit and Examination of Records and Equipment.
A.
The Treasurer-Tax Collector shall have the power to audit and examine all
books and records of persons engaged in cannabis businesses, including both state and
federal income tax returns, California sales tax returns, bank statements, or other
evidence documenting the gross receipts of persons engaged in cannabis businesses, and,
where necessary, all equipment, of any person engaged in cannabis businesses in the
County, for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of commercial cannabis tax, if any,
required to be paid by the provisions hereof, and for the purpose of verifying any
statements or any item thereof when filed by any person pursuant to this Chapter. If such
person, after written demand by the Treasurer-Tax Collector, refuses to make available
for audit, examination or verification such books, records or equipment as the
administrator requests, the Treasurer-Tax Collector may, after full consideration of all
information within his or her knowledge concerning the cannabis business and activities
of the person so refusing, make an assessment in the manner provided in Sections 25 and
26 of any taxes estimated to be due. The Treasurer-Tax Collector may collect a fee
adopted by the Board of Supervisors to pay for the cost of examination and audit should
the books and records be provided in a form insufficient to allow the Treasurer-Tax
Collector to make a determination of tax due.
B.
It shall be the duty of every person liable for the collection and payment to
the County of any tax imposed by this Chapter to keep and preserve, for a period of at
15

Attachment J
least three (3) years, all records as may be necessary to determine the amount of such tax
as he or she may have been liable for the collection of and payment to the County, which
records the Treasurer-Tax Collector or his/her designee shall have the right to inspect at
all reasonable times.
Section 21. Other Licenses, Permits, Taxes, Fees, or Charges. Nothing contained in this
Chapter shall be deemed to repeal, amend, be in lieu of, replace or in any way affect any
requirements for any permit or license required by, under or by virtue of any provision of
any other title or chapter of this code or any other ordinance or resolution of the County,
nor be deemed to repeal, amend, be in lieu of, replace or in any way affect any tax, fee or
other charge imposed, assessed or required by, under or by virtue of any other title or
chapter of this code or any other ordinance or resolution of the County. Any references
made or contained in any other title or chapter of this code to any licenses, license taxes,
fees, or charges, or to any schedule of license fees, shall be deemed to refer to the
licenses, license taxes, fees or charges, or schedule of license fees, provided for in other
titles or chapters of this code.
Section 22. Change of Ownership.
A.
In the event that there is a change in ownership of any cannabis business,
the new owner is required to submit an updated registration form to the Treasurer-Tax
Collector.
B.

Unless otherwise provided by law, upon the sale of any cannabis business:

(i)
It is the joint and several liability of both the seller and buyer to
remit any tax due up until the date of sale; and
(ii)
A Certificate of Delinquent Cannabis Business Tax Lien may be
filed against both the seller and/or buyer in an amount determined by the
Treasurer-Tax Collector.
C.
Following any change of ownership, the new owner is subject to an audit
by the Treasurer-Tax Collector or his or her designee.
D.
Any owner of a cannabis business required to collect or pay the cannabis
business tax may apply for and receive, within 90 days of application, a Tax Clearance
Certificate, provided that the taxes and any penalties are paid in full for the time period
specified.
Section 23. Payment of Tax Does Not Authorize Unlawful Business.
A.
The payment of a commercial cannabis business tax required by this
Chapter, and its acceptance by the County, shall not entitle any person to carry on any
cannabis business unless the person has complied with all of the requirements of this
Code and all other applicable state laws.
16

Attachment J

B.
No tax paid under the provisions of this Chapter shall be construed as
authorizing the conduct or continuance of any illegal or unlawful business, or any
business in violation of any local or state law.
Section 24. Deficiency Determinations. If the Treasurer-Tax Collector is not satisfied that
any statement filed as required under the provisions of this Chapter is correct, or that the
amount of tax is correctly computed, he or she may compute and determine the amount to
be paid and make a deficiency determination upon the basis of the facts contained in the
statement or upon the basis of any information in his or her possession or that may come
into his or her possession within three (3) years of the date the tax was originally due and
payable. One or more deficiency determinations of the amount of tax due for a period or
periods may be made. When a person discontinues engaging in a business, a deficiency
determination may be made at any time within three (3) years thereafter as to any liability
arising from engaging in such business whether or not a deficiency determination is
issued prior to the date the tax would otherwise be due. Whenever a deficiency
determination is made, a notice shall be given to the person concerned in the same
manner as notices of assessment are given under Sections 25 and 26.
Section 25. Failure to Report – Nonpayment, Fraud.
A.
Under any of the following circumstances, the Treasurer-Tax Collector
may make and give notice of an assessment of the amount of tax owed by a person under
this Chapter at anytime:
1.
If the person has not filed a complete statement required under the
provisions of this Chapter;
2.
Chapter;

If the person has not paid the tax due under the provisions of this

3.
If the person has not, after demand by the Treasurer-Tax Collector,
filed a corrected statement, or furnished to the Treasurer-Tax Collector adequate
substantiation of the information contained in a statement already filed, or paid
any additional amount of tax due under the provisions of this Chapter; or
4.
If the Treasurer-Tax Collector determines that the nonpayment of
any business tax due under this Chapter is due to fraud, a penalty of twenty-five
percent (25%) of the amount of the tax shall be added thereto in addition to
penalties and interest otherwise stated in this Chapter and any other penalties
allowed by law.
B.
The notice of assessment shall separately set forth the amount of any tax
known by the Treasurer-Tax Collector to be due or estimated by the Treasurer-Tax
Collector, after consideration of all information within the Treasurer-Tax Collector's
knowledge concerning the business and activities of the person assessed, to be due under
17

Attachment J
each applicable section of this Chapter, and shall include the amount of any penalties or
interest accrued on each amount to the date of the notice of assessment.
Section 26. Tax Assessment – Notice Requirements. The notice of assessment shall be
served upon the person either by personal delivery, or by a deposit of the notice in the
United States mail, postage prepaid thereon, addressed to the person at the address of the
location of the business or to such other address as he or she shall register with the
Treasurer-Tax Collector for the purpose of receiving notices provided under this Chapter;
or, should the person have no address registered with the Treasurer-Tax Collector for
such purpose, then to such person's last known address. For the purposes of this Section,
a service by mail is complete at the time of deposit in the United States mail.
Section 27. Tax Assessment – Hearing, Application, and Determination. Within ten (10)
calendar days after the date of service the person may apply in writing to the TreasurerTax Collector for a hearing on the assessment. If application for a hearing before the
County is not made within the time herein prescribed, the tax assessed by the TreasurerTax Collector shall become final and conclusive. Within thirty (30) business days of the
receipt of any such application for hearing, the Treasurer-Tax Collector shall cause the
matter to be set for hearing before him or her not later than thirty-five (35) business days
after the receipt of the application, unless a later date is agreed to by the Treasurer-Tax
Collector and the person requesting the hearing. Notice of such hearing shall be given by
the Treasurer-Tax Collector to the person requesting such hearing not later than five (5)
business days prior to such hearing. At such hearing said applicant may appear and offer
evidence why the assessment as made by the Treasurer-Tax Collector should not be
confirmed and fixed as the tax due. After such hearing the Treasurer-Tax Collector shall
determine and reassess the proper tax to be charged and shall give written notice to the
person in the manner prescribed in Section 26 for giving notice of assessment. The
amount determined to be due shall be payable after thirty (30) calendar days of written
notice unless it is appealed to the Board of Supervisors.
Section 28. Appeal Procedure. Any taxpayer aggrieved by any decision of the TreasurerTax Collector with respect to the amount of tax, interest, penalties and fees, if any, due
under this Chapter may appeal to the Board of Supervisors by filing a notice of appeal
with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors within ten (10) calendar days of the serving or
mailing by the Treasurer-Tax Collector of the determination of tax due. The Clerk shall
fix a time and place for hearing such appeal, and the Clerk shall give notice in writing to
such operator at the last known place of address. The Treasurer-Tax Collector shall
present the matter to the Board of Supervisors and include evidence submitted by the
taxpayer. The Treasurer-Tax Collector shall also include proposed findings and a
resolution of the appeal. At the hearing, both the Treasurer-Tax Collector and the
taxpayer shall have an opportunity to explain their case and introduce other statements or
evidence. The Board of Supervisors may impose reasonable time limits on each party’s
presentation. The finding of the Board of Supervisors shall be final and conclusive and
shall be served upon the appellant in the manner prescribed by this chapter for service of
notice of hearing. Any amount found to be due shall be immediately due and payable
upon the service of the notice.
18

Attachment J

Section 29. Conviction for Chapter Violation – Taxes not Waived. The conviction and
punishment of any person for failure to pay the required tax shall not excuse or exempt
such person from any civil action for the tax debt unpaid at the time of such conviction.
No civil action shall prevent a criminal prosecution for any violation of the provisions of
this Chapter or of any state law requiring the payment of all taxes.
Section 30. Violation Deemed Misdemeanor. Any person violating any of the provisions
of this Chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punishable
therefore as provided by Chapter 1, Section 7 of the Sonoma County Code.
Section 31. Severability. If any provision of this Chapter, or its application to any person
or circumstance, is determined by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unlawful,
unenforceable or otherwise void, that determination shall have no effect on any other
provision of this Chapter or the application of this Chapter to any other person or
circumstance and, to that end, the provisions hereof are severable. The Board of
Supervisors hereby declares that it would have passed this Ordinance and every section,
subsection, sentence, clause or phrase thereof irrespective of the fact that any one or more
sections, subsections, sentences, clauses or phrases be declared unconstitutional or
invalid.
Section 32. Remedies Cumulative. All remedies and penalties prescribed by this Chapter
or which are available under Chapter 1 of the Sonoma County Code and any other
provision of law or equity are cumulative. The use of one or more remedies by the
County shall not bar the use of any other remedy for the purpose of enforcing the
provisions of this Chapter.
Section 33. Amendment or Repeal. This Chapter may be repealed or amended by the
Board of Supervisors without a vote of the people to the extent allowed by law. However,
as required by Article XIII C of the California Constitution, voter approval is required for
any amendment that would increase the rate of any tax levied pursuant to this Chapter
above the maximum rates established by this Chapter. The people of the County of
Sonoma affirm that the following actions shall not constitute an increase of the rate of a
tax:
A.
The restoration of the rate of the tax to a rate that is no higher than that set
by this Chapter, if the Board of Supervisors has acted to reduce the rate of the tax;
B.
An action that interprets or clarifies the methodology of the tax, or any
definition applicable to the tax, so long as interpretation or clarification (even if contrary
to some prior interpretation or clarification) is not inconsistent with the language of this
Chapter; or
C.
The collection of the tax imposed by this Chapter, even if the County had,
for some period of time, failed to collect the tax; or

19

Attachment J
D.
The establishment of a class of persons that is exempt or excepted from
the tax or the discontinuation of any such exemption or exception (other than the
discontinuation of an exemption or exception specifically set forth in this chapter); or
E.
The Board of Supervisors’ adoption of an ordinance, as authorized by
Section 5, to raise the tax rate provided that the rate is not raised to a rate higher than the
maximums established herein.
Section 34. CEQA. The approval of this Ordinance is exempt from the California
Environmental Quality Act (Public Resources Code §§ 21000 et seq., “CEQA,” and 14
Cal. Code Reg. §§ 15000 et seq., “CEQA Guidelines”). The Cannabis Business Tax to be
submitted to the voters is a general tax that can be used for any legitimate governmental
purpose; it is not a commitment to any particular action. As such, under CEQA
Guidelines section 15378(b)(4), the tax is not a project within the meaning of CEQA
because it creates a government funding mechanism that does not involve any
commitment to any specific project that may result in a potentially significant physical
impact on the environment. If revenue from the tax were used for a purpose that would
have either such effect, the County would undertake the required CEQA review for that
particular project. Therefore, pursuant to CEQA Guidelines section 15060 CEQA
analysis is not required.
Section 35. Effective and Operative Dates. This ordinance shall take effect immediately
upon its adoption by a majority of voters at the March 7, 2017 election. The operative
date of Section 5 shall be April 6, 2017.
In regular session of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma
introduced on the 6th day of December, 2016, and finally passed and adopted this 13th
day of December, 2016, on regular roll call of the members of said Board by the
following vote:
SUPERVISORS:
Gorin:

Rabbitt:

Ayes:

Noes:

Zane:
Absent:

Gore:

Carrillo:___

Abstain: ____

WHEREUPON, the Chair declared the above and foregoing Ordinance duly
adopted and
SO ORDERED.
_______________________
Chair, Board of Supervisors
County of Sonoma
ATTEST:
20

Attachment J
___________________________
Sheryl Bratton,
Clerk of the Board of Supervisors

21

Attachment K

County of Sonoma
State of California

Item Number:
Resolution Number:

Date: December 6, 2016

4/5 Vote Required
Resolution Of The Board Of Supervisors Of The County Of Sonoma, State Of California,
Introducing, Reading the Title of and Waiving Further Reading of a Proposed Ordinance
Imposing a Cannabis Business Tax on Commercial Cannabis Business
Whereas, a proposed ordinance of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma,
State of California, imposing a cannabis business tax on commercial cannabis business in
unincorporated Sonoma County has been introduced and the title read; and
Now, Therefore, Be it Resolved that:
Further reading of the proposed ordinance is waived.
Be It Further Resolved that:
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will consider passage of the proposed
ordinance on December 13, 2016, in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, 575
Administration Drive, Room 102A, Santa Rosa, CA.
Supervisors:
Gorin:
Ayes:

Rabbitt:

Zane:
Noes:

Gore:
Absent:
So Ordered.

Carrillo:
Abstain:

County of Sonoma
State of California

Date: December 6, 2016

Item Number:
Resolution Number:

Unanimous Vote
Required
Resolution Of The Board Of Supervisors Of The County Of Sonoma, State Of California,
Declaring an Emergency and Calling a Special Election to Submit to the Voters of Sonoma
County a Proposed Ordinance Imposing a Cannabis Business Tax on Commercial Cannabis
Business in Unincorporated Sonoma County, and Ordering that the Election be Consolidated
with the Special Election to be Conducted on March 7, 2017
Whereas, the Board of Supervisors, by its Resolution No.____ has introduced, read the
title of, and waived further reading of a business license tax ordinance, as authorized by
Revenue and Taxation Code §7284, and will consider the passage of such ordinance at
its meeting on December 13, 2016; and
Whereas, Article 13 C, §2(b) of the California Constitution requires that the imposition
of such tax be approved by a majority of the county electorate; and
Whereas, the County of Sonoma (“County”) promotes a strong quality of life by
providing general services to local residents to protect public health and safety,
including: fire and police protection, emergency response, health services, housing,
roads, and environmental protection; and
Whereas, the Board of Supervisors is considering the adoption of a zoning ordinance to
legalize but regulate medical cannabis cultivation and related medical cannabis support
uses within unincorporated Sonoma County; and
Whereas, the Board is also considering the adoption of an ordinance to establish
regulations and require health permits for medical cannabis dispensaries and edible
medical cannabis product manufacturing sites; and
Whereas, on November 8, 2016 the voters of California adopted Proposition 64 which
legalized the use of cannabis for adult use and established a maximum cultivation
allowance of 6 plants for personal use. The Proposition allows for local control of adult
use cannabis land uses, and reasonable regulation of personal cultivation of up to 6
plants per residence. This Board is likely to consider expanded regulations for non-

Resolution #
Date:
Page 2

medical cannabis cultivation and related non-medical cannabis support uses as a result
of this Proposition; and
Whereas, comprehensive regulation of premises used for cannabis cultivation or
commercial activities related to cannabis is proper and necessary to address the risks
and adverse impacts of legalized cannabis in Sonoma County, including the potential
presence of cannabis plants or products in areas frequented by children (including
schools and parks), criminal activity, degradation of the natural environment,
malodorous smells, indoor electrical fire hazards, impacts to surface and groundwater
resources, poisonings due to intentional and accidental consumption, increased injuries
due to driving under the influence, increased mental health and substance abuse
disorders, and potential access and use by youth; and
Whereas, while fees can recover costs associated with issuing permits, inspections, and
compliance monitoring, they cannot be used to fund costs not attributable to a
permittee, including those related to code enforcement, law enforcement, policy
development, health impacts and education, and environmental cleanup; and
Whereas, services supporting the health and safety of the County’s residents are funded
through the County’s General Fund; and
Whereas, without an additional funding source, the County will not be able to address
the risks and adverse impacts of legalized cannabis in Sonoma County while also
maintaining the existing general governmental services that the County funds through
its General Fund; and
Whereas, waiting to call an election on a general cannabis business tax until the next
regularly scheduled general election for members of this Board (November 2018),
should the voters agree, would forego the opportunity to devote approximately $10
million in revenues to the health and safety of the public in the interim; and
Whereas, the Board finds that the need for additional funding for the health and safety
of the County’s residents is so great that foregoing the opportunity for approximately
$10 million in revenue constitutes an emergency sufficient to require the placement of a
general tax on the March 7, 2017 ballot.
Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved that:
1.
Pursuant to Elections Code Section 12001, 10400, and 9140, the Board of
Supervisors hereby calls a special election for March 7, 2017, on the proposed measure
imposing a general business license tax, to be levied at a maximum rate of $38 per
square foot (annually adjusted by Consumer Price Index increases) or 10% on gross
receipts on cannabis cultivation, and at a maximum rate of 10% of gross receipts on
other cannabis businesses until repealed.

Resolution #
Date:
Page 3

2.
The Board of Supervisors hereby orders that said election of the measure shall
be consolidated with the special election to be held on that date.
3.

The measure shall be submitted to the voters in the following form:
Shall an ordinance be adopted imposing a cannabis business
tax in unincorporated Sonoma County on cultivation up to
$38 per square foot (annually adjusted by CPI increases) or
10% on gross receipts, and on other cannabis businesses up
to 10% on gross receipts, to fund essential county services
such as addressing industry impacts, public safety, fire,
health, housing, roads, and environmental protection, with
funds staying local and subject to audits, generating
undetermined revenue until repealed?

Yes

No

4.
As required by law, the full text of the measure shall be printed in the
information pamphlet provided to voters. The full text of the measure is entitled “An
Ordinance of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma, State of California,
Imposing a Cannabis Business Tax on Commercial Cannabis Business” and is attached
hereto as Exhibit A.
5.
The County Clerk is hereby authorized, instructed, and directed to provide and
furnish any and all official ballots, notices, printed matter, and all supplies, equipment,
and paraphernalia that may be necessary in order to properly and lawfully conduct an
election.
6.
The County Clerk is hereby further directed to take the necessary and
appropriate actions to provide the necessary election officers, polling places, and voting
precincts.
7.
In accordance with the provisions of the Elections Code, the County Counsel is
authorized to prepare an impartial analysis of the measure, and Supervisor(s)
___________________ is/are authorized and directed to submit an argument in favor of
the measure and a response to any argument in opposition to the measure on behalf of
the entire Board of Supervisors.
8.
The polls for said election shall be open during the hours required by law and
said election, with respect to the foregoing ballot measure, shall be conducted as
provided by law for the holding of County initiative elections.
9.
Notice of time and place of holding said election, together with any other notices
required by law, shall be given by the County Clerk.

Resolution #
Date:
Page 4

Supervisors:
Gorin:
Ayes:

Rabbitt:

Zane:
Noes:

Gore:
Absent:
So Ordered.

Carrillo:
Abstain:

Resolution #
Date:
Page 5

Exhibit A
ORDINANCE NO. (

)

AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF THE COUNTY OF SONOMA, STATE OF
CALIFORNIA, IMPOSING A CANNABIS BUSINESS TAX ON COMMERCIAL CANNABIS BUSINESS

The Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma, State of California, ordains as
follows:
Section 1. Title. This ordinance shall be known as the Cannabis Business Tax Ordinance. This
ordinance shall be applicable in the unincorporated territory of the County of Sonoma,
which shall be referred to herein as "County."
Section 2. General Tax. The Cannabis Business Tax is enacted solely for general governmental
purposes for the County and not for specific purposes. All of the proceeds from the tax imposed
by this Chapter shall be placed in the County's general fund and used for general governmental
purposes.
Section 3. Purpose of the Ordinance. This ordinance is adopted to achieve the following
purposes, among others, and directs that the provisions hereof be interpreted in order to
accomplish those purposes:
A.
To impose a tax on the privilege of cultivating, dispensing, producing, processing,
preparing, storing, providing, donating, selling, or distributing medical cannabis or medical
cannabis products by commercial cannabis businesses in the unincorporated area of the
County, pursuant to the state Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, specifically
California Business and Professions Code section 19348, or other enabling legislation;
B.
To impose a tax on the privilege of cultivating, manufacturing, producing,
processing, preparing, storing, providing, donating, selling, or distributing nonmedical
marijuana and marijuana products and accessories by commercial cannabis businesses in the
unincorporated area of the County pursuant to the "California Control, Regulate and Tax Adult
Use of Marijuana Initiative" approved by the voters in the November 2016 election, or other
enabling legislation, notwithstanding if state law uses the term "marijuana “or "cannabis";

Resolution #
Date:
Page 6

C.
To impose a tax on lawful commercial cannabis business in accordance with the
authority granted by California Revenue and Taxation Code section 7284 to impose a business
license tax;
D.
To specify the type of tax and rate of tax to be levied and the method of
collection; and
E.
To comply with all requirements for imposition of a general tax, such tax to
become operative only if submitted to the electorate and approved by a majority vote of the
voters voting in an election on the issue.
Section 4. Definitions. Terms that are not defined in this Chapter shall have the meanings
ascribed to them in Section 26-02-140 (Definitions) of Chapter 26 of the Sonoma County Code.
The following words and phrases shall have the meanings set forth below when used in this
Chapter:
A.
"Business" shall include all activities engaged in or caused to be engaged in
within the unincorporated area of the County, including any commercial or industrial
enterprise, trade, profession, occupation, vocation, calling, or livelihood, whether or not carried
on for gain or profit, but shall not include the services rendered by an employee to his or her
employer.
B.
"Cannabis" means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa Linnaeus, Cannabis
indica, or Cannabis ruderalis, or any other strain or varietal of the genus Cannabis that may
exist or hereafter be discovered or developed that has psychoactive or medicinal properties,
whether growing or not, including the seeds thereof. “Cannabis” also means marijuana as
defined by Section 11018 of the Health and Safety Code as enacted by Chapter 1407 of the
Statutes of 1972. For the purpose of this section, “cannabis” does not mean “industrial hemp”
as defined by Section 81000 of the Food and Agricultural Code or Section 11018.5 of the Health
and Safety Code. Cannabis is classified as an agricultural product separately from other
agricultural crops.
C.
“Cannabis cultivation area” means the total aggregate area(s) of cannabis
cultivation on a single premise as measured around the outermost perimeter of each separate
and discrete area of cannabis cultivation at the dripline of the canopy expected at maturity and
includes, but is not limited to, the space between plants within the cultivation area, the exterior
dimensions of garden beds, garden plots, hoop houses, green houses, and each room or area
where cannabis plants are grown, as determined by the review authority.
D.
“Cannabis nursery” means a location that produces cannabis clones, immature
plants, and seeds for wholesale distribution, used specifically for the planting, propagation, and
cultivation of cannabis.

Resolution #
Date:
Page 7

E.
"Cannabis product" means any product containing cannabis, including, but not
limited to, flowers, buds, oils, tinctures, concentrates, extractions, and edibles intended to be
sold for use by medical cannabis patients in California pursuant to the Compassionate Use Act
of 1996 (Proposition 215), found at Section 11362.5 of the Health and Safety Code. For the
purposes of this chapter, medical cannabis does not include industrial hemp as defined by
Section 81000 of the Food and Agricultural Code or Section 11018.5 of the Health and Safety
Code.
F.
"Commercial cannabis business" means any commercial business activity relating
to cannabis, including but not limited to cultivating, transporting, distributing, manufacturing,
compounding, converting, processing, preparing, storing, packaging, delivering, and selling
(wholesale and/or retail sales) of cannabis and any ancillary products and accessories in the
unincorporated area of the County, whether or not carried on for gain or profit.
G.
"Commercial cannabis business tax," "business tax," or "commercial cannabis
tax" means the tax due pursuant to this Chapter for engaging in commercial cannabis business
in the unincorporated area of the County.
H.
"Commercial cannabis cultivation" means cultivation conducted by, for, or as
part of a commercial cannabis business.
I.
"County permit" means a permit issued by the County to a person to authorize
that person to operate or engage in a commercial cannabis business.
J.
"Cultivation" means any activity involving the planting, growing, harvesting,
drying, curing, grading, or trimming of cannabis. For purposes of this Chapter, “cultivation”
does not include a cannabis nursery.
K.
"Delivery" means the commercial transfer of cannabis or cannabis products from
a dispensary.
L.
"Dispensary" means a facility where cannabis, cannabis products, or devices for
the use of cannabis or cannabis products are offered, either individually or in any combination,
for retail sale, including a person that delivers cannabis and cannabis products as part of a retail
sale. Where a dispensary performs its functions through a technology platform of any type or
character, the technology platform shall also be deemed a dispensary for purposes of this
Chapter, and shall have the same duties and liabilities as the principal. Compliance with the
provisions of this Chapter by either the principal or the technology platform shall, however, be
considered compliance by both.

Resolution #
Date:
Page 8

M.
"Distributor'' or "distribution" or "distribution facility" means a person involved
in the procurement, sale, and/or transport of cannabis and cannabis products between two
or more cannabis businesses.
N.
"Employee" means each and every person engaged in the operation or conduct
of any business, whether as owner, member of the owner's family, partner, associate, agent,
manager or solicitor, and each and every other person employed or working in such business
for a wage, salary, commission, barter or any other form of compensation.
O.
"Engaged in business" means the commencing, conducting, operating, managing
or carrying on of a cannabis business and the exercise of corporate or franchise powers,
whether done as owner, or by means of an officer, agent, manager, employee, or otherwise,
whether operating from a fixed location in the unincorporated area of the County or coming
into the unincorporated area of the County from an outside location to engage in such
activities. A person shall be deemed engaged in business within the County if:
1.
Such person or person's employee maintains a fixed place of business
within unincorporated area of the County for the benefit or partial benefit of such
person;
2.
Such person or person's employee owns or leases real property within
the unincorporated area of County for business purposes;
3.
Such person or person's employee regularly maintains a stock of tangible
personal property in the unincorporated area of County for sale in the ordinary course
of business;
4.
Such person or person's employee regularly conducts solicitation of
business within the unincorporated area of County;
5.
Such person or person's employee performs work or renders services in
the unincorporated area of County; and
6.
Such person or person's employee utilizes the streets within the
unincorporated area of County in connection with the operation of motor vehicles for
business purposes.
The foregoing specified activities shall not be a limitation on the meaning of "engaged in
business."

Resolution #
Date:
Page 9

P.
"Evidence of doing business'' means evidence such as, without limitation, use of
signs, circulars, cards or any other advertising media, including the use of internet or telephone
solicitation, or representation to a government agency or to the public that such person is
engaged in a cannabis business in the unincorporated area of County.
Q.

"Fiscal year" means July 1 through June 30 of the following calendar year.

R.
"Gross Receipts," except as otherwise specifically provided, means the total
amount actually received or receivable from all sales; the total amount or compensation
actually received or receivable for the performance of any act or service, of whatever nature it
may be, for which a charge is made or credit allowed, whether or not such act or service is done
as a part of or in connection with the sale of materials, goods, wares or merchandise; discounts,
rents, royalties, fees, commissions, dividends, and gains realized from trading in stocks or
bonds, however designated. Included in "gross receipts" shall be all receipts, cash, credits and
property of any kind or nature, without any deduction there from on account of the cost of the
property sold, the cost of materials used, labor or service costs, interest paid or payable, or
losses or other expenses whatsoever, except that the following shall be excluded therefrom:
1.

Cash discounts where allowed and taken on sales;

2.
Credit allowed on property accepted as part of the purchase price and
which property may later be sold, at which time the sales price shall be included as gross
receipts;
3.
Any tax required by law to be included in or added to the purchase price
and collected from the consumer or purchaser;
4.
Such part of the sale price of any property returned by purchasers to the
seller as refunded by the seller by way of cash or credit allowances or return of
refundable deposits previously included in gross receipts;
5.
Receipts from investments where the holder of the investment receives
only interest and/or dividends, royalties, annuities and gains from the sale or exchange
of stock or securities solely for a person's own account, not derived in the ordinary
course of a business;
6.
Receipts derived from the occasional sale of used, obsolete or surplus
trade fixtures, machinery or other equipment used by the taxpayer in the regular course
of the taxpayer's business;

Resolution #
Date:
Page 10

7.
Cash value of sales, trades or transactions between departments or units
of the same business;
8.
Whenever there are included within the gross receipts amounts which
reflect sales for which credit is extended and such amount proved uncollectible in a
subsequent year, those amounts may be excluded from the gross receipts in the year
they prove to be uncollectible; provided, however, if the whole or portion of such
amounts excluded as uncollectible are subsequently collected they shall be included in
the amount of gross receipts for the period when they are recovered;
9.

Transactions between a partnership and its partners;

10.
Receipts from services or sales in transactions between affiliated
corporations. An affiliated corporation is a corporation:
a.
The voting and non-voting stock of which is owned at least eighty
percent by such other corporation with which such transaction is had; or
b.
Which owns at least eighty percent of the voting and non-voting
stock of such other corporation; or
c.
At least eighty percent of the voting and non-voting stock of
which is owned by a common parent corporation which also has such ownership
of the corporation with which such transaction is had.
11.
Transactions between a limited liability company and its member(s),
provided the limited liability company has elected to file as a Subchapter K entity under
the Internal Revenue Code and that such transaction(s) shall be treated the same as
between a partnership and its partner(s) as specified in Subsection (9) above;
12.
Receipts of refundable deposits, except that such deposits when forfeited
and taken into income of the business shall not be excluded when in excess of one
dollar;
13.
Amounts collected for others where the business is acting as an agent or
trustee and to the extent that such amounts are paid to those for whom collected.
These agents or trustees must provide the finance department with the names and the
addresses of the others and the amounts paid to them. This exclusion shall not apply to
any fees, percentages, or other payments retained by the agent or trustees.
S.

“Indoor” means indoor cultivation of cannabis using exclusively artificial lighting.

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T.
"Manufacturer" means a person that conducts the production, preparation,
propagation, or compounding of manufactured cannabis or cannabis products either directly or
indirectly or by extraction methods, or independently by means of chemical synthesis or by a
combination of extraction and chemical synthesis at a fixed location that packages or
repackages cannabis or cannabis products or labels or relabels its container.
U.
“Mixed-Light” means cultivation of cannabis using any combination of natural
and supplemental artificial lighting. Greenhouses, hoop houses, hot houses and similar
structures or light deprivation systems are included in this category.
V.
“Outdoor” means cultivation of cannabis using no artificial lighting conducted in
the ground or in containers outdoors with no covering. Outdoor cultivation does not include
greenhouses, hoop houses, hot houses or similar structures.
W.
"Person" means an individual, firm, partnership, joint venture, association,
corporation, limited liability company, estate, trust, business trust, receiver, syndicate, tribe or
any other group or combination acting as a unit and includes the plural as well as the singular
number.
X.
"Personal cannabis cultivation" means cultivation within the residency, plant
number, and/or square footage limitations provided in Chapter 26-88-258 exclusively for
noncommercial.
Y.

"Sale" means and includes any sale, exchange, or barter.

Z.
"Square foot" or "square footage" means the maximum amount of cannabis
cultivation area for commercial cannabis cultivation authorized by a County permit issued to a
person engaging in commercial cannabis business, or by a state license in the absence of a
County permit or license, not deducting for unutilized square footage, and shall be the basis for
the tax base for cultivation.
AA.

"State" means the State of California.

BB.
"State license," "license," or "registration" means a state license issued pursuant
to California Business & Professions Code Sections 19300, et seq. or other applicable state law.
CC.
"Testing laboratory" means a facility, entity, or site in the state that offers or
performs testing of cannabis or cannabis products.
DD.
"Transporter" means a person engaged in the transfer of cannabis or cannabis
products from the business location of one commercial cannabis business to the business
location of another commercial cannabis business, for the purposes of conducting commercial
cannabis activity.

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EE.
"Treasurer-Tax Collector" means the Treasurer-Tax Collector of the County of
Sonoma, his or her deputies or any other County officer charged with the administration of the
provisions of this Chapter.
Section 5. Tax Imposed. There is established and imposed a cannabis business tax at the rates
set forth in this Chapter. Every person who is engaged in commercial cannabis business in the
unincorporated area of the County shall pay an annual cannabis business tax.
A.

Tax on Commercial Cannabis Cultivation

1.
Every person who is engaged in commercial cannabis cultivation in the
unincorporated area of the County shall pay an annual commercial cannabis business
tax either: (1) at a rate of up to $10.00 per square foot of outdoor cultivation area,
$38.00 per square foot of indoor cultivation area, and $22 per square foot of mixed-light
cultivation area, or (2) at a rate of up to ten percent of gross receipts per fiscal year.
When the rate is determined on a square footage basis, on July 1 of each fiscal year
succeeding the year of imposition of a square footage based tax on commercial
cannabis cultivation, the amount of the tax shall be increased by the most recent change
in the annual average of the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) for all urban consumers in the
San-Francisco-Oakland-San Jose areas as published by the United States Government
Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, no CPI adjustment resulting in a decrease of any tax
imposed by this subsection shall be made. The tax under this subsection shall not be
imposed unless and until the Board of Supervisors, by ordinance, takes action to: (1)
specify whether the tax on commercial cannabis cultivation will be imposed on a square
footage or gross receipts basis, and (2) set a tax rate not to exceed the maximum rates
established herein.
2.
For cultivation license types based on plant count, the square footage
based tax will be calculated using up to 100 square feet per plant allowed under the
permit.
3.
Notwithstanding the maximum tax rate established in Subsection (A)(1),
the Board of Supervisors may, in its discretion, at any time by ordinance, implement a
lower tax rate for all persons engaged in commercial cannabis cultivation in the
unincorporated area of the County or establish differing tax rates for different
categories of commercial cannabis cultivation, including commercial cannabis
cultivation for medical or adult use, subject to the maximum rate established in
Subsection (A)(1). The Board of Supervisors may, by ordinance, also increase any such
tax rate from time to time, not to exceed the maximum tax rate established in

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Subsection (A)(1). Notwithstanding the maximum square foot per plant established in
Subsection (A)(2) for cultivation license types based on plant count, the Board of
Supervisors may, in its discretion, at any time by ordinance, implement a lower square
footage per plant, and may, by ordinance, also increase such square footage from time
to time, not to exceed the maximum square footage established in Subsection (A)(2).
4.
Pursuant to Subsection (A), the commercial cannabis business tax on
commercial cannabis cultivation is to be imposed on a square footage basis, and is set at
the following rates, with permit types as defined in Chapter 26 of the Sonoma County
Code:
Permit Type

Rate Per Square Foot

Outdoor
1C: Cottage

$0.50

1: Specialty

$2.00

2: Small

$3.00

3: Medium

$5.00

Indoor
1C: Cottage

$1.88

1A: Specialty

$7.50

2A: Small

$11.25

3A: Medium

$18.75

Mixed Light
1C: Cottage

$1.08

1B: Specialty

$4.32

2B: Small

$6.48

3B: Medium

$10.80

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5.
Pursuant to Subsection (A), the square footage based tax for cultivation
license types based on plant count will be calculated using 25 square feet per plant
allowed under the permit.
B.

Tax on All Other Commercial Cannabis Business

1.
Every person who is engaged in commercial cannabis business, including
but not limited to as a distributor, distribution facility, testing laboratory, transporter,
manufacturer, nursery, dispensary, or engaging in delivery of cannabis in the
unincorporated area of the County shall pay an annual commercial cannabis business
tax at a rate of up to ten percent of gross receipts per fiscal year. The tax under this
chapter shall not be imposed unless and until the Board of Supervisors, by ordinance,
takes action to set a tax rate not to exceed the maximum rates established herein.
2.
Notwithstanding the maximum tax rate established in Subsection (B)(1),
the Board of Supervisors may, in its discretion, at any time by ordinance, implement a
lower tax rate for all persons engaged in commercial cannabis business in the
unincorporated area of the County or establish differing tax rates for different
categories of commercial cannabis business, including commercial cannabis business for
medical or adult use, subject to the maximum rate established in Subsection (B)(1). The
Board of Supervisors may, by ordinance, also increase any such tax rate from time to
time, not to exceed the maximum tax rate established in Subsection (B)(1).
3.
Pursuant to Subsection (A), the cannabis business tax on every person
who is engaged in commercial cannabis business, including but not limited to as a
distributor, distribution facility, testing laboratory, transporter, manufacturer, cannabis
nursery, dispensary, or engaging in delivery of cannabis in the unincorporated area of
the County is set at the following rates:
Operator

Percentage of Gross Receipts

Manufacturer

5%

Transporter

0%

Distributor

0%

Cannabis Nursery

0%

Dispensary

0%

Testing Laboratory

0%

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Section 6. Reporting and Remittance of Tax. The commercial cannabis business tax imposed by
this Chapter shall be imposed on a fiscal year basis and shall be due and payable in quarterly
installments as follows:
A.
Each person owing a commercial cannabis business tax, and each person on
whom a 0% tax rate is imposed, shall, on or before the last day of the month following the close
of each fiscal year quarter, prepare and submit a tax statement on the form prescribed by the
Treasurer-Tax Collector and remit to the Treasurer-Tax Collector the tax due. The tax due shall
be no less than the quarterly installment due, but the taxpayer may at any time pay the tax due
for the entire fiscal year. Each business shall pay on or before the last day of the month
following the close of each calendar quarter.
B.
If the commercial cannabis business tax is owed on commercial cannabis
cultivation, and the Board has specified that the square footage basis shall apply, the square
footage tax due shall be paid based on the square footage of cultivation authorized by the
County permit. The tax statement may include a request for adjustment of the tax due to
square footage authorized but not utilized for cultivation, and/or crop loss, along with evidence
substantiating the square footage utilized and/or crop loss. The decision to prorate or adjust
the tax will be made at the sole discretion of the County. A fee may be adopted by the Board of
Supervisors and collected by the agency having jurisdiction or the Treasurer-Tax Collector to
pay for the cost of investigating, verifying, and opining on such request for adjustment of the
tax.
C.
Collector.

All tax statements shall be completed on forms prescribed by the Treasurer-Tax

D.
Tax statements and payments for all outstanding taxes owed the County are
immediately due to the Treasurer-Tax Collector upon cessation of business for any reason.
E.
The Treasurer-Tax Collector may, at his or her discretion, establish shorter or
longer report and payment periods for any taxpayer as the Treasurer-Tax Collector deems
necessary to insure collection of the tax.
F.
The Treasurer-Tax Collection may, as part of administering the tax and in his or
her discretion, modify the form of payment and take such other administrative actions as
needed to facilitate collection of the tax.

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Section 7. Registration. In order that the County will have an accurate record of parties
collecting the cannabis business tax, prior to commencing business each person engaged in
commercial cannabis cultivation and commercial cannabis business shall register such cannabis
business with the Treasurer-Tax Collector, submitting any information deemed necessary by the
Treasurer-Tax Collector.
Section 8. Payments and Communications – Timely Remittance. Whenever any payment,
statement, report, request or other communication is due, it must be received by the
Treasurer-Tax Collector on or before the final due date. A postmark will not be accepted as
timely remittance. If the due date falls on Saturday, Sunday or a holiday, the due date shall be
the next regular business day on which the County is open to the public.
Section 9. Payment – When Taxes Deemed Delinquent. Unless otherwise specifically provided
under other provisions of this Chapter, the taxes required to be paid pursuant to this Chapter
shall be deemed delinquent if not received by the Treasurer-Tax Collector on or before the due
date as specified in Sections 6 and 8.
Section 10. Notice Not Required By County. The Treasurer-Tax Collector is not required to send
a delinquency or other notice or bill to any person subject to the provisions of this Chapter.
Failure to send such notice or bill shall not affect the validity of any tax or penalty due under
the provisions of this Chapter.
Section 11. Penalties and Interest.
A.
Any person who fails or refuses to pay any commercial cannabis business tax
required to be paid pursuant to this Chapter on or before the due date shall pay penalties and
interest as follows:
1.
A penalty equal to twenty-five percent (25%) of the amount of the tax, in
addition to the amount of the tax, plus interest on the unpaid tax calculated from the
due date of the tax at the rate of one and one-half percent (1.5%) per month; and
2.
If the tax remains unpaid for a period exceeding one calendar month
beyond the due date, an additional penalty equal to twenty-five percent (25%) of the
amount of the tax , plus interest at the rate of one and one-half percent (1.5%) per
month on the unpaid tax.
3.
Interest shall be applied at the rate of one and one-half percent (1.5%)
per month on the first day of the month for the full month, and will continue to accrue
monthly on the tax until the balance is paid in full.

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B.
Whenever a check or electronic payment is submitted in payment of a
commercial cannabis business tax and the payment is subsequently returned unpaid by the
bank for any reason, the taxpayer will be liable for the tax amount due plus the return check
fee, penalties and interest as provided for in this Section, and any other amount allowed under
state law.
C.
The cannabis business tax due shall be that amount due and payable from the
first date on which the person was engaged in cannabis business in the unincorporated area of
the County, together with applicable penalties and interest calculated in accordance with
Subsection (A) above.
D.
Any person whose cannabis business tax is delinquent by at least sixty calendar
days may be subject to revocation of the County permit associated with the subject cannabis
business.
E.
The Treasurer-Tax Collector is authorized to make an assessment in the manner
provided for in Sections 25 and 26 of the anticipated tax liability for up to the following four
quarters if any person has failed to file one or more returns or payments, or who has filed one
or more delinquent returns or payments, in any twelve (12) month period, without curing the
failure or delinquency within 60 days of the original due date after written notice from the
Treasurer-Tax Collector of the failure or delinquency. Failure to remit the anticipated tax within
60 days of the notice of assessment shall be grounds for revocation of the County permit
associated with the subject cannabis business.
Section 12. Waiver of Penalties. The Treasurer-Tax Collector may waive the first and second
penalties of twenty-five percent each imposed upon any person if:
A.
The person provides evidence satisfactory to the Treasurer-Tax Collector that
failure to pay timely was due to circumstances beyond the control of the person and occurred
notwithstanding the exercise of ordinary care and the absence of willful neglect, and the person
paid the delinquent business tax and accrued interest owed the county prior to applying to the
Treasurer-Tax Collector for a waiver.
B.
The waiver provisions specified in this subsection shall not apply to interest
accrued on the delinquent tax and a waiver shall be granted only once during any twenty-four
month period.
Section 13. Refunds and Credits.

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A.
No refund shall be made of any tax collected pursuant to this Chapter, except as
provided in Section 14.
B.
No refund of any tax collected pursuant to this Chapter shall be made because of
the discontinuation, dissolution, or other termination of a business.
Section 14. Refunds and Procedures.
A.
Whenever the amount of any commercial cannabis business tax, penalty or
interest has been overpaid, paid more than once, or has been erroneously collected or received
by the County under this Chapter, it may be refunded to the claimant who paid the tax
provided that a written claim for refund is filed with the Treasurer-Tax Collector within one (1)
year of the date the tax was originally due and payable.
B.
The Treasurer-Tax Collector, his or her deputies or any other County officer
charged with the administration of this Chapter shall have the right to examine and audit all the
books and business records of the claimant in order to determine the eligibility of the claimant
to the claimed refund. No claim for refund shall be allowed if the claimant refuses to allow such
examination of claimant's books and business records after request by the Treasurer-Tax
Collector to do so. The Treasurer-Tax Collector may collect a fee adopted by the Board of
Supervisors to pay for the cost of examination and audit should the books and records be
provided in a form insufficient to allow the Treasurer-Tax Collector to make a determination on
the claim for refund.
C.
In the event that the commercial cannabis business tax was erroneously paid and
the error is attributable to the County, the County shall refund the amount of tax erroneously
paid up to one (1) year from when the error was identified.
Section 15. Exemptions from the Tax.
A.

The provisions of this Chapter shall not apply to personal cannabis cultivation.

B.
The provisions of this Chapter shall not apply to personal use of cannabis that is
specifically exempted from state licensing requirements, that meets the definition of personal
use or equivalent terminology under state law, and for which the individual receives no
compensation whatsoever related to that personal use.
Section 16. Administration of the Tax.
A.
It shall be the duty of the Treasurer-Tax Collector to collect the taxes, penalties,
fees, and perform the duties required by this Chapter.

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B.
For purposes of administration and enforcement of this Chapter generally, the
Treasurer-Tax Collector may from time to time promulgate such administrative rules and
procedures consistent with the purpose, intent, and express terms of this Chapter as he or she
deems necessary to implement or clarify such provisions or aid in enforcement.
C.
The Treasurer-Tax Collector may take such administrative actions as needed to
administer the tax, including but not limited to:
1.
Provide to all commercial cannabis business taxpayers forms for the
reporting of the tax;
2.

Increase tax rates in accordance with this Chapter;

3.
Chapter;

Provide information to any taxpayer concerning the provisions of this

4.
Chapter;

Receive and record all taxes remitted to the County as provided in this

5.
Chapter;

Maintain records of taxpayer reports and taxes collected pursuant to this

6.
7.
Chapter.

Assess penalties and interest to taxpayers pursuant to this Chapter;
Determine amounts owed and enforce collection pursuant to this

Section 17. Enforcement – Action to Collect.
A.
Any taxes, penalties and/or fees required to be paid under the provisions of this
Chapter shall be deemed a debt owed to the County. Any person owing money to the County
under the provisions of this Chapter shall be liable in an action brought in the name of the
County for the recovery of such debt. The provisions of this Section shall not be deemed a
limitation upon the right of the County to bring any other action including criminal, civil and
equitable actions, based upon the failure to pay the tax, penalties and/or fees imposed by this
Chapter or the failure to comply with any of the provisions of this Chapter.
B.
In addition to any other remedies available under federal, state, or local law, if
any amount required to be paid to the County under this Chapter is not paid when due, the
Treasurer-Tax Collector may, within three (3) years after the amount is due record a certificate
of lien specifying the amount of taxes, fees and penalties due, and the name and address of the
person as it appears on the records of Treasurer-Tax Collector. The lien shall also specify that
the Treasurer-Tax Collector has complied with all provisions of this Chapter in the

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determination of the amount required to be paid. From the time of the filing for record, the
amount required to be paid, together with penalties thereon, constitutes a lien upon all real
property in the County owned by the person, or subsequently acquired by the person before
the lien expires. The lien has the force, effect, and priority of a judgment lien and shall continue
for ten (10) years from the filing of the certificate unless sooner released or otherwise
discharged. A fee may be adopted by the Board of Supervisors and collected by the TreasurerTax Collector to pay for the cost of recording and administering the lien.
C.
At any time within three (3) years after any person is delinquent in the payment
of any amount herein required to be paid or within three (3) years after the last recording of a
certificate of lien under Subsection B of this Section, the Treasurer-Tax Collector may issue a
warrant for the enforcement of any liens and for the collection of any amount required to be
paid to the County under this Chapter. The warrant shall be directed to the Sheriff and shall
have the same effect as a writ of execution. The warrant shall be levied and sale made
pursuant to it in the same manner and with the same effect as a levy and sale pursuant to a
writ of execution. The Treasurer-Tax Collector may pay or advance to the Sheriff, the same
fees, commissions and expenses for service provided by law for similar services pursuant to a
writ of execution. The Treasurer-Tax Collector may approve the fees for publication in the
newspaper.
D.
At any time within three (3) years after recording a lien against any person, if the
lien is not discharged and released in full, the Treasurer-Tax Collector may forthwith seize any
asset or property, real or personal (including bank account), of the person and sell at public
auction the asset or property, or a sufficient part of it to pay the amount due together with any
penalties and interest imposed for the delinquency and any cost incurred on account of the
seizure and sale. Assets or property of the person subject to seizure and sale subject to this
Chapter shall not include any assets or property which is exempt from execution under the
provisions of Code of Civil Procedure.
Section 18. Apportionment. If a person subject to the tax is operating both within and outside
the unincorporated County, it is the intent of the County to apply the commercial cannabis
business tax so that the measure of the tax fairly reflects the proportion of the taxed activity
actually carried on in the County. For purposes of apportionment as may be required by law,
the Treasurer-Tax Collector may promulgate administrative procedures for apportionment in
accordance with state law.
Section 19. Constitutionality and Legality. This tax is intended to be applied in a manner
consistent with the United States and California Constitutions and state law. None of the tax
provided for by this Chapter shall be applied in a manner that causes an undue burden upon
interstate commerce, a violation of the equal protection and due process clauses of the

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Constitutions of the United States or the State of California or a violation of any other provision
of the California Constitution or state law.
Section 20. Audit and Examination of Records and Equipment.
A.
The Treasurer-Tax Collector shall have the power to audit and examine all books
and records of persons engaged in cannabis businesses, including both state and federal
income tax returns, California sales tax returns, bank statements, or other evidence
documenting the gross receipts of persons engaged in cannabis businesses, and, where
necessary, all equipment, of any person engaged in cannabis businesses in the County, for the
purpose of ascertaining the amount of commercial cannabis tax, if any, required to be paid by
the provisions hereof, and for the purpose of verifying any statements or any item thereof
when filed by any person pursuant to this Chapter. If such person, after written demand by the
Treasurer-Tax Collector, refuses to make available for audit, examination or verification such
books, records or equipment as the administrator requests, the Treasurer-Tax Collector may,
after full consideration of all information within his or her knowledge concerning the cannabis
business and activities of the person so refusing, make an assessment in the manner provided
in Sections 25 and 26 of any taxes estimated to be due. The Treasurer-Tax Collector may collect
a fee adopted by the Board of Supervisors to pay for the cost of examination and audit should
the books and records be provided in a form insufficient to allow the Treasurer-Tax Collector to
make a determination of tax due.
B.
It shall be the duty of every person liable for the collection and payment to the
County of any tax imposed by this Chapter to keep and preserve, for a period of at least three
(3) years, all records as may be necessary to determine the amount of such tax as he or she may
have been liable for the collection of and payment to the County, which records the TreasurerTax Collector or his/her designee shall have the right to inspect at all reasonable times.
Section 21. Other Licenses, Permits, Taxes, Fees, or Charges. Nothing contained in this Chapter
shall be deemed to repeal, amend, be in lieu of, replace or in any way affect any requirements
for any permit or license required by, under or by virtue of any provision of any other title or
chapter of this code or any other ordinance or resolution of the County, nor be deemed to
repeal, amend, be in lieu of, replace or in any way affect any tax, fee or other charge imposed,
assessed or required by, under or by virtue of any other title or chapter of this code or any
other ordinance or resolution of the County. Any references made or contained in any other
title or chapter of this code to any licenses, license taxes, fees, or charges, or to any schedule of
license fees, shall be deemed to refer to the licenses, license taxes, fees or charges, or schedule
of license fees, provided for in other titles or chapters of this code.

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Section 22. Change of Ownership.
A.
In the event that there is a change in ownership of any cannabis business, the
new owner is required to submit an updated registration form to the Treasurer-Tax Collector.
B.

Unless otherwise provided by law, upon the sale of any cannabis business:

(i)
It is the joint and several liability of both the seller and buyer to remit any
tax due up until the date of sale; and
(ii)
A Certificate of Delinquent Cannabis Business Tax Lien may be filed
against both the seller and/or buyer in an amount determined by the Treasurer-Tax
Collector.
C.
Following any change of ownership, the new owner is subject to an audit by the
Treasurer-Tax Collector or his or her designee.
D.
Any owner of a cannabis business required to collect or pay the cannabis
business tax may apply for and receive, within 90 days of application, a Tax Clearance
Certificate, provided that the taxes and any penalties are paid in full for the time period
specified.
Section 23. Payment of Tax Does Not Authorize Unlawful Business.
A.
The payment of a commercial cannabis business tax required by this Chapter,
and its acceptance by the County, shall not entitle any person to carry on any cannabis business
unless the person has complied with all of the requirements of this Code and all other
applicable state laws.
B.
No tax paid under the provisions of this Chapter shall be construed as
authorizing the conduct or continuance of any illegal or unlawful business, or any business in
violation of any local or state law.
Section 24. Deficiency Determinations. If the Treasurer-Tax Collector is not satisfied that any
statement filed as required under the provisions of this Chapter is correct, or that the amount
of tax is correctly computed, he or she may compute and determine the amount to be paid and
make a deficiency determination upon the basis of the facts contained in the statement or
upon the basis of any information in his or her possession or that may come into his or her
possession within three (3) years of the date the tax was originally due and payable. One or
more deficiency determinations of the amount of tax due for a period or periods may be made.
When a person discontinues engaging in a business, a deficiency determination may be made at
any time within three (3) years thereafter as to any liability arising from engaging in such
business whether or not a deficiency determination is issued prior to the date the tax would

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otherwise be due. Whenever a deficiency determination is made, a notice shall be given to the
person concerned in the same manner as notices of assessment are given under Sections 25
and 26.
Section 25. Failure to Report – Nonpayment, Fraud.
A.
Under any of the following circumstances, the Treasurer-Tax Collector may make
and give notice of an assessment of the amount of tax owed by a person under this Chapter at
anytime:
1.
If the person has not filed a complete statement required under the
provisions of this Chapter;
2.
Chapter;

If the person has not paid the tax due under the provisions of this

3.
If the person has not, after demand by the Treasurer-Tax Collector, filed a
corrected statement, or furnished to the Treasurer-Tax Collector adequate
substantiation of the information contained in a statement already filed, or paid any
additional amount of tax due under the provisions of this Chapter; or
4.
If the Treasurer-Tax Collector determines that the nonpayment of any
business tax due under this Chapter is due to fraud, a penalty of twenty-five percent
(25%) of the amount of the tax shall be added thereto in addition to penalties and
interest otherwise stated in this Chapter and any other penalties allowed by law.
B.
The notice of assessment shall separately set forth the amount of any tax known
by the Treasurer-Tax Collector to be due or estimated by the Treasurer-Tax Collector, after
consideration of all information within the Treasurer-Tax Collector's knowledge concerning the
business and activities of the person assessed, to be due under each applicable section of this
Chapter, and shall include the amount of any penalties or interest accrued on each amount to
the date of the notice of assessment.
Section 26. Tax Assessment – Notice Requirements. The notice of assessment shall be served
upon the person either by personal delivery, or by a deposit of the notice in the United States
mail, postage prepaid thereon, addressed to the person at the address of the location of the
business or to such other address as he or she shall register with the Treasurer-Tax Collector for
the purpose of receiving notices provided under this Chapter; or, should the person have no
address registered with the Treasurer-Tax Collector for such purpose, then to such person's last
known address. For the purposes of this Section, a service by mail is complete at the time of
deposit in the United States mail.

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Section 27. Tax Assessment – Hearing, Application, and Determination. Within ten (10) calendar
days after the date of service the person may apply in writing to the Treasurer-Tax Collector for
a hearing on the assessment. If application for a hearing before the County is not made within
the time herein prescribed, the tax assessed by the Treasurer-Tax Collector shall become final
and conclusive. Within thirty (30) business days of the receipt of any such application for
hearing, the Treasurer-Tax Collector shall cause the matter to be set for hearing before him or
her not later than thirty-five (35) business days after the receipt of the application, unless a
later date is agreed to by the Treasurer-Tax Collector and the person requesting the hearing.
Notice of such hearing shall be given by the Treasurer-Tax Collector to the person requesting
such hearing not later than five (5) business days prior to such hearing. At such hearing said
applicant may appear and offer evidence why the assessment as made by the Treasurer-Tax
Collector should not be confirmed and fixed as the tax due. After such hearing the TreasurerTax Collector shall determine and reassess the proper tax to be charged and shall give written
notice to the person in the manner prescribed in Section 26 for giving notice of assessment. The
amount determined to be due shall be payable after thirty (30) calendar days of written notice
unless it is appealed to the Board of Supervisors.
Section 28. Appeal Procedure. Any taxpayer aggrieved by any decision of the Treasurer-Tax
Collector with respect to the amount of tax, interest, penalties and fees, if any, due under this
Chapter may appeal to the Board of Supervisors by filing a notice of appeal with the Clerk of the
Board of Supervisors within ten (10) calendar days of the serving or mailing by the TreasurerTax Collector of the determination of tax due. The Clerk shall fix a time and place for hearing
such appeal, and the Clerk shall give notice in writing to such operator at the last known place
of address. The Treasurer-Tax Collector shall present the matter to the Board of Supervisors
and include evidence submitted by the taxpayer. The Treasurer-Tax Collector shall also include
proposed findings and a resolution of the appeal. At the hearing, both the Treasurer-Tax
Collector and the taxpayer shall have an opportunity to explain their case and introduce other
statements or evidence. The Board of Supervisors may impose reasonable time limits on each
party’s presentation. The finding of the Board of Supervisors shall be final and conclusive and
shall be served upon the appellant in the manner prescribed by this chapter for service of
notice of hearing. Any amount found to be due shall be immediately due and payable upon the
service of the notice.
Section 29. Conviction for Chapter Violation – Taxes not Waived. The conviction and
punishment of any person for failure to pay the required tax shall not excuse or exempt such
person from any civil action for the tax debt unpaid at the time of such conviction. No civil
action shall prevent a criminal prosecution for any violation of the provisions of this Chapter or
of any state law requiring the payment of all taxes.

Resolution #
Date:
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Section 30. Violation Deemed Misdemeanor. Any person violating any of the provisions of this
Chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punishable therefore as
provided by Chapter 1, Section 7 of the Sonoma County Code.
Section 31. Severability. If any provision of this Chapter, or its application to any person or
circumstance, is determined by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unlawful, unenforceable
or otherwise void, that determination shall have no effect on any other provision of this
Chapter or the application of this Chapter to any other person or circumstance and, to that end,
the provisions hereof are severable. The Board of Supervisors hereby declares that it would
have passed this Ordinance and every section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase thereof
irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses or
phrases be declared unconstitutional or invalid.
Section 32. Remedies Cumulative. All remedies and penalties prescribed by this Chapter or
which are available under Chapter 1 of the Sonoma County Code and any other provision of law
or equity are cumulative. The use of one or more remedies by the County shall not bar the use
of any other remedy for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this Chapter.
Section 33. Amendment or Repeal. This Chapter may be repealed or amended by the Board of
Supervisors without a vote of the people to the extent allowed by law. However, as required by
Article XIII C of the California Constitution, voter approval is required for any amendment that
would increase the rate of any tax levied pursuant to this Chapter above the maximum rates
established by this Chapter. The people of the County of Sonoma affirm that the following
actions shall not constitute an increase of the rate of a tax:
A.
The restoration of the rate of the tax to a rate that is no higher than that set by
this Chapter, if the Board of Supervisors has acted to reduce the rate of the tax;
B.
An action that interprets or clarifies the methodology of the tax, or any
definition applicable to the tax, so long as interpretation or clarification (even if contrary to
some prior interpretation or clarification) is not inconsistent with the language of this Chapter;
or
C.
The collection of the tax imposed by this Chapter, even if the County had, for
some period of time, failed to collect the tax; or

Resolution #
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D.
The establishment of a class of persons that is exempt or excepted from the tax
or the discontinuation of any such exemption or exception (other than the discontinuation of
an exemption or exception specifically set forth in this chapter); or
E.
The Board of Supervisors’ adoption of an ordinance, as authorized by Section 5,
to raise the tax rate provided that the rate is not raised to a rate higher than the maximums
established herein.
Section 34. CEQA. The approval of this Ordinance is exempt from the California Environmental
Quality Act (Public Resources Code §§ 21000 et seq., “CEQA,” and 14 Cal. Code Reg. §§ 15000 et
seq., “CEQA Guidelines”). The Cannabis Business Tax to be submitted to the voters is a general
tax that can be used for any legitimate governmental purpose; it is not a commitment to any
particular action. As such, under CEQA Guidelines section 15378(b)(4), the tax is not a project
within the meaning of CEQA because it creates a government funding mechanism that does not
involve any commitment to any specific project that may result in a potentially significant
physical impact on the environment. If revenue from the tax were used for a purpose that
would have either such effect, the County would undertake the required CEQA review for that
particular project. Therefore, pursuant to CEQA Guidelines section 15060 CEQA analysis is not
required.
Section 35. Effective and Operative Dates. This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon its
adoption by a majority of voters at the March 7, 2017 election. The operative date of Section 5
shall be April 6, 2017.
In regular session of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma introduced on
the 6th day of December, 2016, and finally passed and adopted this 13th day of December,
2016, on regular roll call of the members of said Board by the following vote:

SUPERVISORS:

Gorin:

Rabbitt:

Ayes:

Noes:

Zane:

Absent:

Gore:

Carrillo:___

Abstain: ____

Resolution #
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WHEREUPON, the Chair declared the above and foregoing Ordinance duly adopted and

SO ORDERED.

_______________________
Chair, Board of Supervisors
County of Sonoma
ATTEST:

___________________________
Sheryl Bratton,
Clerk of the Board of Supervisors

Attachment M

Cannabis Taxation Memo

Introduction
Staff has proposed that the Board of Supervisors place a Cannabis Business Tax Ordinance on
the ballot for the March 7, 2017 special election. The following will summarize the
recommended Tax Ordinance before the Board for consideration, the County’s authority to tax
cannabis businesses under state law, general cannabis tax considerations, operator-specific tax
options, taxing medical versus nonmedical cannabis, preliminary revenue estimates and making
a permitting ordinance contingent on the voters’ passage of a cannabis tax measure.

Recommended Cannabis Business Tax Ordinance Summary

Total Estimated Tax Revenue FY 2017-18: $6.3 million

General
• General tax (no specific expenditures).
• Permits will not be available until the tax is passed or another funding source is secured.
• Enforcement provisions for non-compliance.
o Non-payment grounds for permit revocation.
o May require prepayment due to nonpayment or late payment.
Cultivation
• Per square foot based on the maximum square footage under the permit type.
o Ability to submit evidence of smaller cultivation area or crop loss.
o License types based on plant count (outdoor cottage and specialty) will be
assessed based on an assumed 25 square feet per plant allowed under the
permit.
o Per square foot maximum will increase based on the annual Consumer Price
Index (CPI)
• Progressive initial tax rate: lower rate for smaller-scale operators.
• Different square footage rate for Outdoor, Indoor and Mixed light to tax equivalent
percentage of revenue.
• Tax at a lower rate initially to incentive compliance, with authority to raise taxes up to
the limit.
• Authority to tax up to 10% on gross receipts instead of per square foot.

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Attachment M

Tax limit: Estimated tax revenue: $13 million
License type
Outdoor
Cottage: 25 plants
Specialty: 5,000
Small: 10,000
Medium: 43,560
Indoor
Cottage: 500
Specialty: 5,000
Small: 10,000
Medium: 22,000
Mixed light
Cottage: 2,500
Specialty: 5,000
Small: 10,000
Medium: 22,000

Operator
revenue

Sq. ft. tax

$62,500
$500,000
$1,000,000
$4,356,000

Effective tax
rate

$10

$187,500
$1,875,000
$3,750,000
$8,250,000

$38

$540,000
$1,080,000
$2,160,000
$4,752,000

$22

Operator tax

10%

$6,250
$50,000
$100,000
$435,600

10%

$18,750
$187,500
$375,000
$825,000

10%

$54,000
$108,000
$216,000
$475,200

Starting rates: Estimated revenue: $5 million
License type
Outdoor
Cottage: 25 plants
Specialty: 5,000
Small: 10,000
Medium: 43,560
Indoor
Cottage: 500
Specialty: 5,000
Small: 10,000
Medium: 43,560
Mixed light
Cottage: 2,500
Specialty: 5,000
Small: 10,000
Medium: 22,000

Operator
revenue

Sq. ft. tax

Effective tax
rate

Operator tax

$62,500
$500,000
$1,000,000
$4,356,000

$0.50
$2.00
$3.00
$5.00

0.5%
2%
3%
5%

$313
$10,000
$30,000
$217,800

$187,500
$1,875,000
$3,750,000
$8,250,000

$1.88
$7.50
$11.25
$18.75

0.5%
2%
3%
5%

$938
$37,500
$112,500
$412,500

$540,000
$1,080,000
$2,160,000
$4,752,000

$1.08
$4.32
$6.48
$10.80

0.5%
2%
3%
5%

$2,700
$21,600
$64,800
$237,600

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Attachment M

Other Cannabis Businesses Taxation


Based on gross receipts.
Authority to tax all operators up to 10%.
Begin taxing only manufacturers at 5%.

Starting rates: Estimated revenue: $1.3 million
Limits
Operator
Manufacturing

Industry
revenue
$26,000,000

Tax rate
10%

Tax revenue
$2,600,000

Starting rates
Tax
rate

Tax revenue
5%

$1,300,000

State Law and Taxation Authority
Under the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA), local jurisdictions retain broad
authority to assess fees and taxes, and are also given explicit taxation authority over cannabis
businesses licensed under the law. Any local taxes are subject to a vote of the people, simple
majority for a general tax and a super majority for a special tax. MCRSA did not create any new
State taxes, though operators have been required to obtain a seller’s permit from the State
Board of Equalization and have been subject to standard sales and use tax.
Proposition 64 (2016) imposed the first and currently only statewide cannabis businesses taxes.
A 15% excise tax is imposed on dispensary (medical) and retail (nonmedical) sales, though
medical sales are exempted from the standard sales and use tax (7.5% - 10%). The initiative also
imposes a cultivation tax on all cannabis at a rate of $9.25 per ounce for flowers and $2.75 per
ounce for leaves.
General Considerations
Based on the County’s authority under state law and the costs of implementing a cannabis
program, staff has determined that tax revenue is necessary to ensure the General Fund can
continue to fund general governmental purposes, such as the implementation of a robust local
cannabis program that includes protection of the public health and safety. Through fees the
County can recover costs associated with issuing permits, inspections, compliance monitoring,
etc. However, taxes may be used to pay for other associated costs related to code enforcement,
law enforcement, health impacts and education, environmental cleanup and mitigation, and
other costs borne by the County that are not directly attributable to services provided to a
permitee.
Tax rates that are too high, however, can encourage the industry operators to remain or return
underground. Based on experience in Washington and Colorado, governments should ensure
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Attachment M

that the combination of state and local taxes not be so high so as to create an incentive to avoid
compliance. In Washington, this led the state to reduce its overall tax rate to 37%. In Colorado,
a state sponsored study showed that even its 30% cumulative tax rate was too high to
sufficiently reduce the black market. As such, the state plans to reduce the current tax rate.
Operator Taxes
Dispensaries
While excise taxes are generally imposed as a flat amount per unit, such as per gallon for
gasoline or per pack for cigarettes, taxes for cannabis at the retail level are generally by percent
of the sale. This is because cannabis can be sold by ounce, cigarette, or some other varying
form. The Tax Foundation’s study of Colorado and Washington found that taxes imposed on
final retail sales have been the most workable form of taxation. This is because sales by other
entities, and thus taxes due, are harder to track. Additionally, taxes at multiple points within
the supply chain can unfairly disadvantage companies that are not vertically integrated. This is
less of an issue under California law which limits vertical integration, though there are still some
allowances for multiple license types within the state and local licensing frameworks.
Cultivation
The primary methods for taxing cultivation are by square foot, gross receipts and product
weight. An increasing number of jurisdictions in California have passed or proposed cultivation
taxes on a per square foot basis. The main benefit of this tax is that it is easy to assess and
track. Most of the cultivation permits under MCRSA are based on an allowable number of
square feet for cultivation. Thus, taxes are assessed based simply on the permit the company
holds. Cultivators may be opposed to this method because they may choose to cultivate less
than the maximum amount allowed under their permit, or they may lose some of their crop (for
example, due to pest or weather) and thus owe taxes on a worthless product. The law may
have a provision for the cultivator to protest the assessed tax amount and prove unusual
circumstances, providing relief while still putting the burden on the cultivator and not the local
government.
Gross receipts or product weight, on the other hand, may be deemed fairer by cultivators
because they are only taxed on actual revenues collected or product sold. However, under
these structures it is much easier for product to evade taxation, presenting a greater
enforcement and administrative burden. These concerns may be alleviated by a robust track
and trace program that ensures all product is accounted for.
While some states or local jurisdictions may be looking to focus their taxes on the final retail
sale, cultivation taxes could be an important source of revenue for Sonoma County. Sonoma
County is a producing jurisdiction as opposed to a consuming one. The County grows and
exports more cannabis than is purchased at local retail outlets. By only taxing at the retail level

4

Attachment M

and not imposing taxes on cultivation, the revenue collected could be insufficient to cover the
costs and mitigate the impacts imposed on the jurisdiction.
Other Cannabis Businesses
The distinct license types enable taxation at many points throughout the supply chain, including
support uses such as nurseries, lab testing, distribution and manufacturing. As cautioned above,
taxation of these license types can complicate administration, enforcement and collection, and
disproportionately advantage integrated companies. Though similar to the benefits of taxing
cultivation, Sonoma County has the potential to have a large manufacturing market and is
positioned to be a major distribution hub in the industry and thus stands to benefit accordingly
from a tax on these operators. Additionally, manufacturing confers an added value onto the
product making it an appropriate place in the supply chain to impose an additional tax.
Taxes for nurseries may be imposed per plant, per square foot or by gross receipts. The
County’s land use ordinance proposes to permit nurseries with a conditional use permit and
does not delineate square footage limits within the code. Each CUP could include a square foot
limit on which to impose the tax, though these sizes would not be as predictable as for
cultivation permits. Other support uses are most often taxed on a gross receipt basis.
Tiered Tax Rates
A tiered tax rate could be implemented to support small businesses. Supporting small
businesses was a key component of MCRSA, which limits the size of cultivation operations,
limits vertical integration and limits the number of license-types per individual or company. For
a cultivation tax based on square feet, the tax per square foot could increase by license which
corresponds with a larger cultivation area. Additionally, because indoor and mixed-light
operations produce more product, the per square foot rate would be higher for those license
types then for outdoor cultivators. Similarly, a tax based on gross receipts could be progressive,
increasing the rate on higher revenues.
Tax Rate Phase-in
The tax rate on cannabis businesses may be phased in, starting lower and increasing
incrementally over a number of years before reaching the final amount. Initially, there are likely
to be substantial startup costs for companies coming into compliance, and a lower tax rate at
first could help to offset these expenses and encourage more companies into the light. By
proposing this phased approach initially, the jurisdiction need only go to the voters once as
opposed to each time it looks to increase the tax rate. Another option is to get approval from
the voters to tax at a higher rate and voluntarily tax the industry at a lower rate during the
startup phase.

5

Attachment M

Medical vs. Nonmedical
Many jurisdictions have proposed to tax medical cannabis at a lower rate than nonmedical
cannabis. This supports the policy of enabling access, especially to indigent patients. Colorado
and Washington have both started with substantially higher tax rates for nonmedical cannabis.
As a result, the medical cannabis market has not decreased, whereas initially people had
thought that the nonmedical cannabis market would mostly consume it. Prop 64 cites abuse of
the medical cannabis system as a reason for legalizing nonmedical cannabis, however, these
strong monetary incentives can lead to continued abuse. MCRSA contains many provisions that
attempt to curtail abusive practices by doctors and residents, though it is unclear how
successful these laws and subsequent regulations will be at reducing unfounded doctors’
recommendations for medical cannabis. Taxing nonmedical cannabis can be more thoroughly
researched as the County investigates permitting adult use cannabis businesses.
Preliminary Revenue Estimates
The cannabis industry has been largely underground and accurate estimates on its size and
value are difficult to determine, particularly for each operator type. In developing permitting
regulations, the County has attempted to estimate the amount of production and overall size of
the industry, and the revenue estimates below are based on those calculations. The Tax
Foundation cautions jurisdictions to not overestimate revenue projections. While the tax
revenue can be enormous, other states have found that it takes time to set up infrastructure
within the government, get operators out of the black market, and get those operators who are
in compliance with permitting to understand the tax expectations.
Revenue estimates for the County are developed from permit interested and estimated
revenue per permit type. Based on a survey by the California Department of Food and
Agriculture on permit interest in Sonoma County and estimated compliance (25% for cottage
and specialty cultivators and 10% for small and medium cultivators), staff estimates that
revenue in FY 2017-18 at the proposed starting rates will total approximately $5 million
annually from the cultivation tax. The manufacturing tax is estimated to bring in another $1.3
million, for a combined annual revenue of approximately $6.3 million.
Licensing Contingent on Taxation
In 2016, Monterey County adopted both a tax ordinance and a permitting ordinance, the latter
of which would only go into effect if the tax was approved by the voters. The County reasoned
that without the passage of the tax, it could not afford to allow the industry because it would
not be able to cover all the associated costs without cutting other programs. In our online
survey staff found that at least 60% of those surveyed would support a tax on medical cannabis,
with more support contingent on the reasonableness of the tax rate. To continue to ensure the
County is able to fund general government services, staff has recommended that the County
make effectiveness of the permitting ordinance contingent on a tax passing or identification of
another funding source.
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Attachment M

Special Election
Under Proposition 218, an election to impose a general tax must be consolidated with a regular
general election at which the members of the governing body will also be elected, unless the
governing body unanimously declares an emergency requiring the tax to be placed on another
election. (CA Constitution, Article XIIIC, Section 2(b)). Staff finds that the Board could make the
required findings to declare an emergency and require the tax to be placed on the March or
June election, particularly because the next supervisorial election is not until November 2018.
Other Jurisdictions
Humboldt County
At the November 8, 2016, general election, Humboldt County voters passed a tax measure with
66% approval that imposes the following cultivation taxes: $1 per sq. ft. for outdoor, $2 per sq.
ft. for mixed-light and $3 per sq. ft. for indoor. The tax rate for each will be adjusted by an
annual consumer price index factor. The County estimates annual revenues at approximately
$7.3 million, based on the potential issuance of 400 permits. There were no taxes on other
operator types proposed.
Monterey County
This November, Monterey County residents also voted on a cannabis tax measure. The measure
passed with 74% approval taxes all operators in the supply chain. The tax will phase in over six
years and then be annually adjusted by the CPI for cultivators and nurseries. The effectiveness
of its permitting ordinance was contingent on voters passing the tax. The tax is as follows:

Mendocino County
Mendocino County approved also approved a tax measure this November with 64% approval
that imposed taxes on all operators in the supply chain. The measure imposes a 2.5% business
tax on gross sales from cultivation and dispensaries of medical and nonmedical cannabis, which
could be raised in increments of 2.5% up to 10%. The measure also imposes a $2,500 annual
7

Attachment M

charge on distributors, transporters, manufacturers, delivery services, nurseries and testing
labs.
Santa Cruz County
In November 2014, Santa Cruz County voters passed with 78% approval a measure authorizing
counties to tax gross receipts at a rate of no more than 10%, which began at initial rate of 7%.
There are numerous other jurisdictions throughout the State with local cannabis businesses
taxes.

8