Although state law permits cannabis cultivation, Alpine County, in accordance with Section 7.04.030 of the county cannabis code, prohibits cannabis cultivation within its borders. Medical cannabis became legal in California in 1996 when voters approved the Compassionate Use Act, also referred to as Proposition 215. California voters also endorsed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, often known as Proposition 64, legalizing recreational marijuana in 2016. Patients 18 years of age and older with serious medical problems and minors with certain debilitating medical conditions are permitted to consume cannabis for medicinal reasons under Proposition 215. Additionally, the Act allows patients with a physician's recommendation to cultivate specific amounts of cannabis for personal medicinal use, subject to county or municipal restrictions.
Adults 21 years and older in California may possess, sell, consume, and cultivate marijuana (up to six plants) for recreational reasons under the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. The California Legislature approved the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) in 2017 to consolidate the state's current cannabis regulations. This Act empowers local governments to enact acceptable cannabis restrictions and establish the substance's legal status in their area. Additionally, it empowers the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) with authority to control cannabis activity inside the state's boundaries.
According to the Alpine County Cannabis Code, Section 7.04.030, Alpine County prohibits the manufacture of medicinal and recreational cannabis in all areas of the county. All commercial cannabis activities, including manufacturing, are prohibited and considered a public nuisance.
No. Section 7.04.030 of the Alpine County Cannabis Code prohibits all forms of commercial cannabis activities, including delivery. Persons looking to buy cannabis may purchase from commercial retail dispensaries outside the county. Cannabis dispensaries are not allowed in Alpine County.
Cannabis delivery within the borders of Alpine County is prohibited per Section 7.04.030 of the county cannabis code. Section 7.04.030 stipulates that no use permit, variance, building permit, or any other entitlement, license, or permit, whether discretionary or administrative, will be approved or issued for marijuana delivery in Alpine County. Any violations of the county cannabis laws are punishable as outlined in Section 1.16.010 of the county code or as amended.
Note, however, that MAUCRSA grants local jurisdictions the right to regulate cannabis businesses as they deem fit. This provision means local jurisdictions can outrightly prohibit all cannabis activities or authorize specific cannabis businesses or activities in their jurisdictions. Hence, some cities may permit cannabis delivery or other cannabis activities within their jurisdictions.
The Alpine County medical marijuana identification card (MMIC) is available under the state Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) program, which is supervised by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Although the Compassionate Use Act was passed in 1996, it failed to provide an effective way for law enforcement to correctly identify patients legally protected by the Act. SB 420 created the Medical Marijuana Program (MMP), which established a statewide medical MMIC and registry program for qualified patients and their caregivers. Hence, the medical marijuana cards issued under the MMP could assist law enforcement in properly identifying qualified medicinal marijuana users permitted to possess specific quantities of marijuana.
Any Alpine County resident whose physician recommends marijuana use for a qualifying medical condition may apply for an MMIC. The patient may designate a primary caregiver and obtain a caregiver identity card from the Alpine County Department of Health and Human Services. Note that you must schedule an appointment to obtain an MMIC from the Department. You may contact the Alpine County Department of Health and Human Services at (530) 694-2146 to schedule an appointment. The Office address is:
Health and Human Services
75-B Diamond Valley Road
Markleeville, CA 96120
The following are required at the appointment with the Department of Health and Human Services:
The Department of Health and Human Services will take a digital photograph of the patient and primary caregiver, if any, during the appointment. Typically, these sessions take less than 30 minutes to complete. The State Medical Board or Osteopathic Medical Board will verify the physician's license and recommendation for medical marijuana use during the application evaluation process. An Alpine County Department of Health and Human Services employee will verify the information provided by the applicant on the application and obtain the MMIC from the state Department of Public Health. When the MMIC is available for pickup, the County Department of Health and Human Services will contact the patient for pick up. MMICs are usually ready for pickup between 2-3 weeks after the appointment at the county office.
Note that the application will be denied if the physician's recommendation for medical marijuana use cannot be substantiated within 30 days. The Department will notify patients in such circumstances if their applications are denied. Within 30 days of the application's denial, an MMIC applicant may appeal the decision to the California Department of Public Health.
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) maintains a record of income from taxable sales for cannabis for nearly all counties in the state. However, no record for Alpine County is available on the CDTFA website. Alpine County's restrictions on cannabis activities have meant that cannabis legalization in California has had minimal impact on the county's economy.
The crime report submitted by the Alpine County Sheriff's Office to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reveals the impact of cannabis legalization on crime rates in Alpine County. In 2019, one year after recreational cannabis sales began, the Alpine County Sheriff's Office reported no arrests for marijuana possession and 1 arrest for marijuana sale. In 2020, the county also recorded no arrests for marijuana possession or sales.
According to the record obtained from the FBI crime data portal, the marijuana-related crime rate seems to be unaffected by the legalization of marijuana in California. For instance, only 1 arrest was recorded for each of marijuana possession and sales in 2016, while in 2013, there were no arrests recorded for marijuana possession and sale by the Alpine County Sheriff's Office.
The Alpine County Highway Patrol report submitted to the FBI shows 10 arrests from Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in 2019. Before the adult-use cannabis sales legally began, DUI arrest figures were 17 in 2017, 20 in 2016, 18 in 2014, and 12 in 2013.