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Cannabis Advisories:

  1. PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE COUNTY HAS NOT YET BEGUN TAKING APPLICATIONS FOR CANNABIS BUSINESS LICENSES, PENDING FINAL RULEMAKING FOR NON-RETAIL CANNABIS BUSINESSES. IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT IN MAY, FINAL REGULATIONS WILL BE IN EFFECT. UNTIL YOU ARE LICENSED AND PERMITTED BY THE COUNTY DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SET UP OR ESTABLISH NEW OPERATIONS OR YOU JEOPARDIZE YOUR CHANCES OF A CANNABIS BUSINESS LICENSE.
  2. ONLY THOSE WHO ARE CONTACTED BY THE COUNTY ARE DEEMED ELIGIBLE FOR INTERIM “LOCAL LETTERS OF AUTHORIZATION” THEY MAY TAKE TO THE STATE TO APPLY FOR STATE LICENSES. THESE ARE ONLY AVAILABLE TO THOSE LONG-ESTABLISHED OPERATORS IN THE COUNTY WHO HAVE A HISTORY OF PAYING THEIR CANNABIS BUSINESS TAXES. AGAIN, DO NOT CONTACT US, WE WILL CONTACT YOU, IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE. EVERYONE ELSE MUST AWAIT FINAL RULE ADOPTION, LICENSURE, BE PERMITTED AND SO FORTH, BEFORE ESTABLISHING NEW CANANBIS BUSINESSES.
  3. LASTLY, KNOW YOUR JURISDICTION. CITIES AND COUNTIES HAVE DIFFERING RULES AND ZONING REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO CANNABIS BUSINESS LICENSES- IF YOU ARE IN A NON-INCORPORATED PART OF SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, YOU ARE IN THE COUNTY OF SANTA CRUZ’S JURISIDCTION. OTHERWISE, CONTACT THE CITY OR COUNTY WITHIN WHICH YOU ARE LOCATED FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS.

Cultivation

Proposed Final Ordinances
Santa Cruz County Code (SCCC) Chapters 7.128 and Amendments to 13.10: Non-Retail Commercial Cannabis Businesses

Based upon the findings of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), recommended mitigation measures, and public comments received on the DEIR, the County has assembled proposed final draft ordinances for the consideration of the Board of Supervisors to regulate the commercial cannabis supply chain involving cultivation, manufacture and distribution:

SCCC Chapter 7.128 NON-RETAIL COMMERCIAL CANNABIS BUSINESSES establishes regulations for cannabis cultivation, manufacture and distribution.

SCCC Chapter 13.10 Zoning Ordinance Amendments for NON-RETAIL COMMERCIAL CANANBIS USES establishes land use permitting requirements and restrictions for cannabis cultivation, manufacture and distribution.

These two proposed final ordinances work in partnership to regulate the non-retail cannabis supply chain. While proposed SCCC 7.128 serves to establish operational restrictions and a cannabis licensing program for non-retail commercial cannabis businesses in Santa Cruz County, Amendments to SCCC 13.10 Zoning Ordinance have been proposed to establish zoning restrictions and land use permitting requirements for the industry. These partner ordinances are intended to be read in tandem to determine potential cannabis business site eligibility and operational restrictions for non-retail cannabis businesses.

Direct link to proposed ordinances (dated February 28, 2018): 7.128, 13.10, BMOP.


Registration Update

Registration for commercial cannabis licenses closed in the fall of 2016. There is no anticipated date of a Phase II registration at the time. Please check into this website on a regular basis to monitor changes.

Please note that the registration requirement is voluntary for those parcels located in the Commercial Agriculture (CA) zone district with a documented history of over 3 years of commercial farming or agricultural production unrelated to cannabis production. These properties would still require a license to cultivate cannabis commercially, however registration is not a prerequisite to apply for a license.


Pre-Licensing Inspections

For those seeking a priority place in line for cultivation licensing, voluntary pre-licensing inspections are available. Once final rules are established for commercial cannabis cultivation and if your property remains eligible for a license under the final rules, staff will prepare a detailed report tailored to your cultivation site’s unique characteristics and note all items to be addressed in advance of the start of licensing inspections. If interested in a pre-licensing inspection, direct an email to Michael Sapunor at CannabisInfo@Santacruzcounty.us.


State Licensing Requirements

In addition to a local license for Commercial Cultivation of Cannabis, licensees MUST ALSO obtain a state license to legally operate in the State of California. For more information visit California Department of Food and Agriculture CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing.


Current Medical Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance - SCCC 7.126

Santa Cruz County Code SCCC 7.126 Medical Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance is presently in effect. See legislation HERE. However, please note that as of January 1, 2018, State law does not allow commercial cannabis cultivation of ANY KIND to operate without a State cannabis cultivation license. Click here for more information. Therefore, if you do not have your State (temporary) cannabis cultivation license, no commercial cannabis cultivation is currently allowed. This includes cooperatives and the like.

If you are operating with a State Temporary License, all cannabis grown commercially in the County of Santa Cruz is subject to these rules and restrictions until a replacement law is adopted (see top of page for details). Please review the current rules to ensure the parcel you wish to cultivate cannabis on qualifies and meets the current requirements. If in doubt, please call the Cannabis Licensing Office or come to the County building at 701 Ocean Street, Room 520, Santa Cruz, ask for our staff.


Personal Use Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance (Non-Commercial Cannabis)

The Board of Supervisors has adopted SCCC 7.134 which regulates Personal Cultivation of Cannabis for Non-Commercial Recreational Use. Review this legislation to determine what and where you can cultivate cannabis for your personal use.