According to Ordinance 1780, Amador County permits persons 21 years old or over to privately cultivate a maximum of six live cannabis plants at one time. Irrespective of the number of persons residing at the private residence, the limitation on the number of marijuana plants that can be cultivated remains. Cultivation of adult-use marijuana must be done indoors within a single private residence or upon a fully enclosed and secure accessory structure to the private residence. A qualified patient or primary caregiver is also allowed to cultivate medicinal cannabis indoor or outdoor. However, they must not cultivate more than 12 mature or immature plants per parcel.
Medicinal and recreational cannabis cultivation are legal in California under the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) signed on June 27, 2017. The MAUCRSA formed a uniform licensing regime for both medical and adult-use cannabis. It merged the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) and the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) and created a single regulatory structure. MAUCRSA authorizes counties to permit or prohibit local cannabis commercial activities. Under the authorization of the MAUCRSA, Amador County prohibits cannabis commercial cultivation.
Medical cannabis cultivation by qualified patients and primary caregivers must meet the following conditions:
Cultivation must be within an area measuring no more than 100 square feet on any parcel. The total number of mature or immature plants on any parcel must not exceed 12 regardless of the number of qualified patients or caregivers. The cultivation area shall be measured from the outer edge of the cannabis plant canopy and the aggregate area, including the space between plants, whether indoor or outdoor.
Cultivation must not be within 600 feet of a school, park, youth-oriented facility, church or residential treatment facility.
Cultivation must not be visible from publicly traveled roads or the public right-of-way.
The cultivation area must not be less than 100 feet from any occupied legal residential structure located on a separate parcel and not less than 50 feet from a parcel under separate ownership. If any of the minimum distances cannot be met, the cultivation area will be assessed to the extent feasible to ensure the cannabis plants are not easily visible to parcels under separate ownership.
If the medical marijuana cultivator is not the landowner of the cultivation area, they must obtain written permission from the landowner before planting, and it shall be made available to the county when requested by any enforcing officer.
All lights used for medical cannabis cultivation must be shielded or downcast or otherwise positioned in a way that will not shine light or allow light glare to go beyond the boundaries of the parcel upon which they are placed.
Cannabis cultivation must not result in unpleasant odors that will affect residents of neighboring parcels.
Cultivation may take place only on a parcel with an authorized dwelling unit that is permanently occupied by the qualified patient or the primary caregiver.
All persons engaging in the cultivation of cannabis marijuana must:
Have a legal water source on the parcel
Not engage in unlawful or unauthorized surface drawing of water for such cultivation
Not allow illegal discharges of water or chemicals from the cultivation area or property.
Amador County does not permit any commercial or industrial activity, including cannabis manufacturing, in all zoning districts in unincorporated parts of Amador County.
Amador County does not permit the retail sale of cannabis. Medical cannabis dispensaries are also not authorized to operate in Amador County. Cannabis dispensaries include any operation, including a store-front structure or facility, mobile facility, or delivery service, in which medical marijuana is made available, sold, offered for sale, distributed, given, traded, cultivated for, or otherwise provided to qualified patients or primary caregivers. However, the medical cannabis dispensary prohibition does not apply to any of the following:
A health care facility licensed under Chapter 2 of Division 2 of the California Health and Safety Code
A clinic licensed under Chapter 1 of Division 2 of the California Health and Safety Code
A residential home health agency or hospice licensed under Chapter 8 of Division 2 of the California Health and Safety Code
A residential care facility for someone with chronic, life-threatening illness licensed under Chapter 3.01 of Division 2 of the California Health and Safety Code
A residential care facility for the elderly licensed under Chapter 3.2 of Division 2 of the California Health and Safety Code
Medicinal and recreational cannabis delivery is not legal in Amador County. The county laws prohibit cannabis delivery in all zoning districts in unincorporated parts of Amador County.
In Amador County, qualified patients may obtain a medical marijuana ID card. The medical marijuana ID card is a state-issued identification card that enables qualified patients and primary caregivers to purchase cannabis and cannabis products from state-licensed dispensaries without paying any taxes. However, qualified patients are not mandated to possess a medical marijuana ID card. To get a medical marijuana identification card, an applicant must provide the following:
A completed Medical Marijuana ID Card Application
A valid proof of the applicant's identity, such as a California ID or California Drivers License, U.S. Passport, or Veteran's Administration Card
Valid evidence that the applicant resides in Amador County, such as a current and valid motor vehicle registration, or a recent rent or mortgage agreement or utility bill in the applicant's name and with a current address within the county
An original copy of a current/valid physician's statement certifying that the applicant has a debilitating medical condition
Applicant's physician's name, contact information, and California medical license number
An application fee not exceeding $100 for the Medical Marijuana ID Card. Payment is not refundable.
A Medical Marijuana ID card applicant is required to call (209) 223-6407 to book an appointment at Amador County Public Health Department. When they have booked an appointment, they may submit their completed application form and other required documents on Thursdays, between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm to:
Amador County Public Health Department
10877 Conductor Boulevard, Suite 400
Sutter Creek, CA 95685
All medical and recreational commercial activities in Amador County are illegal; hence, the county is yet to generate any significant income from the legalization of cannabis.
Based on the crime report submitted by the Amador County Sheriff's Office to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the impact of the legalization of cannabis in the county can be evaluated. In 2016, the year before legalization, the Amador County Sheriff's Office reported one arrest for marijuana possession and 33 arrests for marijuana sales and manufacturing. After marijuana was legalized in 2017, marijuana-related arrests reduced; marijuana possession arrests were two while marijuana sales arrests were 15. In 2018, marijuana possession offenses increased to 11, and marijuana sale and manufacturing arrests also increased to nine. The data for marijuana possession arrests remained 11 in 2019, while the data for marijuana sale/manufacturing was five, indicating a decrease from the previous year. In 2020, there were four arrests for marijuana sales and arrests for marijuana possession. From the data provided, marijuana-related offenses generally reduced after the legalization of marijuana in 2017, but the number of marijuana possession offenses has continually increased since the legalization.
The Amador County Highway Patrol crime report submitted to the FBI shows that there were 86 DUI arrests made in 2016. In 2017 after marijuana legalization, the number of DUIs in the county increased to 126, and in 2018, DUIs slightly reduced to 114. In 2019, the number of DUIs increased again to 120 but dropped in 2020 to 107. Based on the Amador County Highway Patrol crime report on DUIs, DUIs have generally increased after marijuana legalization compared to the years before marijuana legalization.