Butte County Cannabis Overview

  1. California Cannabis
  2. Butte County Cannabis

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Butte County?

Butte County prohibits the cultivation of marijuana on any parcel that does not satisfy the definition of a premises as contained in Section 34A of the county cannabis code. Such cultivation will be considered a public nuisance and must be abated in accordance with Section 34A-13 of the Butte County medical cannabis code and Section 34C-13 of the county adult-use cannabis code. The cultivation of marijuana plants on any property in excess of the following square footage limits is deemed to be illegal:

  • If the premises are less than half an acre, plants may be cultivated in a single cultivation area no more than 50 square feet. The cultivation area must be defined from the outside border of the marijuana plant canopy, not from the stalk. One or more recommendations must be associated with each plant in the cultivation area. The cultivation area must be contained inside a detached building no more than 120 square feet in size.
  • If the premises exceeds half of an acre but does not exceed 5 acres, a single cultivation area no bigger than 50 square feet may be allocated to marijuana cultivation on the premises. The cultivation area must be determined from the outside border of the marijuana plant canopy, not from the stalk. One or more recommendations must be associated with each plant in the cultivation area. The cultivation area is permitted to be outdoors or indoors.
  • If the premises is bigger than or equal to 5 acres, but less than 10 acres in size, a single cultivation area no larger than 100 square feet may be dedicated to marijuana cultivation on the premises. The cultivation area must be determined from the outside border of the marijuana plant canopy, not from the stalk. At least one recommendation should be made for every 50 square feet of plants in the cultivation area. The cultivation area is permitted to be outdoors or indoors.
  • If the premises are bigger than or equivalent to 10 acres in size, a single cultivation area no larger than 150 square feet may be dedicated to marijuana cultivation on the premises. The cultivation area must be determined from the outside border of the marijuana plant canopy, not from the stalk. At least one recommendation should be made for every 50 square feet of plants in the cultivation area. The cultivation area is permitted to be outdoors or indoors.
  • Section 34A-4(b) applies regardless of the number of qualifying patients or primary caregivers living on the premises or engaging in the cultivation directly or indirectly. Furthermore, such restrictions should apply irrespective of whether the person(s) cultivating marijuana are the primary caregiver(s) for qualifying patients or whether such person(s) cultivate marijuana collectively or collaboratively. Additionally, any individuals cultivating marijuana on the premises or partaking in the cultivation directly or indirectly must be Butte County residents.
  • A single cultivation area for cannabis in Butte County is defined as a single continuous area. The ratio of the length to the width of a single cultivation area must not exceed 2:1.

Per Section 34A-6 of the Butte County Code, personal cultivation of cannabis for medical marijuana must meet the following requirements:

  • The cultivator must have lived in Butte County for a minimum of 1 year before cultivating medical marijuana in the county.
  • Cultivators of medical marijuana for personal use must either own the premises used for cannabis cultivation or have entered into a written lease with the actual owner of the premises.
  • Members of medical marijuana collectives must be Butte County residents
  • Members of medical marijuana collectives must be immediate family members of primary caregivers of Butte County residents. If a member of a medical marijuana collective is actively engaged in medicinal marijuana cultivation, the member must be a Butte County resident or an immediate family member or primary caregiver of a Butte County resident.

Other Butte County regulations for environmental requirements, setback requirements, fencing restrictions, and abatement procedures for cannabis cultivation are contained inSection 34A and Section 34C of the Butte County Code.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Butte County?

Cannabis manufacturing is a prohibited activity in Butte County in accordance with Section 34A and Section 34C of the county code. The Butte County adult-use cannabis code and medical cannabis codes prohibit cannabis manufacturing for non-medical and medical purposes. In contrast to the county code and as permitted under Proposition 64, Chico City, through the City of Chico Cannabis Ordinance, permits cannabis manufacturers to operate in the city.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Butte County?

Cannabis retail or Marijuana dispensaries are prohibited within the borders of the unincorporated parts of Butte County in accordance with Section 24-166 of the Butte County Code. However, Proposition 64, which legalized adult-use cannabis in California, permits local jurisdictions to enact their own rules concerning cannabis activities within their borders. For instance, Chico City permits retail storefronts to operate within its borders provided such businesses obtain conditional-use permits. In Chico City, the retailer-storefront cannabis business type is only permitted in the Community Commercial (CC), Regional Commercial (CR), Commercial Services (CS), and TND-CORE zoning districts.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Butte County?

Butte County prohibits cannabis delivery activities within the jurisdictions of its unincorporated parts in compliance with Section 34C-4 of the county adult-use cannabis code and Section 34A-4 of the county medical cannabis code. Pursuant to the provisions of Proposition 64, cities may permit cannabis delivery in their jurisdictions in accordance with their ordinances. In line with that provision, Chico City permits cannabis retail delivery in its jurisdiction. Consumers may have marijuana products delivered to their residential addresses in Chico City.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Butte County

The Butte County medical marijuana identification card (MMIC) is available under the state Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) program, which is administered by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The MMIC identifies the cardholder as a person who is protected by Proposition 215 and Senate Bill 420. It is used to assist law enforcement in determining if the cardholder is legally permitted to possess specific amounts of medicinal marijuana under certain conditions.

Any Butte County resident whose physician advises marijuana use for one or more of the qualifying medical conditions can apply for an MMIC. The patient may designate a primary caregiver and obtain a caregiver identity card for such an individual from the Butte County Public Health Vital Records Office. Note that you must schedule an appointment to obtain an MMIC from the county department of health. You may contact the Butte County Public Health Vital Records Office at (530) 552-3996 to schedule an appointment. The Office address is:

Department of Public Health

202 Mira Loma Drive

Oroville, CA 95965

The following are required at the appointment with the Vital Records Office:

  • A written recommendation from your physician. The recommendation must be current and original. As a convenience, the state Department of Health makes the CDPH-9044 form available for physicians. If the physician opts to use another format, the document must contain the same information provided on the CDPH-9044 form. This written recommendation will be returned to the applicant at the end of the appointment.
  • A completed CDPH-9042 form
  • A completed CDPH-9044 form
  • A completed Local Public Health form. This form is for consent to release confidential information and the declaration of issuance.
  • A completed Physician Declaration form. Your physician must complete this form.
  • A government-issued photo ID, such as a military ID, driver's license, and passport.
  • Proof of Butte County residency, such as water or electric bill, DMV car registration, and housing rental paperwork
  • Medi-Cal or CMSP (County Medical Service Program) card, if applicable
  • Application fee. The fee is $57 for each patient and caregiver. Patients with valid Medi-Cal cards at the time of application are eligible for a 50% reduction in the fee. Application fees are nonrefundable. Application fees are waived for applicants with active CMSP cards at the time of application.

The Vital Records Office will take a digital photograph of the patient and the primary caregiver, if any, during the appointment.

The Medical Board of California will verify the physician's licensure, and the patient's medical marijuana use recommendation will also be checked with the physician. Following verification of the medical marijuana use recommendation, a Butte County public health official will request the MMIC from the state Department of Public Health. When the Medical Marijuana Identification Card is ready for pick up, a public health department staff will contact the patient.

A patient's application will be denied if the physician does not verify the medical marijuana use recommendation within 30 days. In such situations, the public health department will notify the patients that the public health department has declined their applications. The patient may file an appeal with the California Department of Public Health within 30 days of the denial of the initial application.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Butte County?

Butte County's restriction of cannabis activities within its borders has meant that cannabis legalization has only had minimal impact on the economy of the county when compared with several other counties in California. Data for per capita sales and total taxable sales for all counties in California is available on the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) website. However, for Butte County, only revenue data for the second and third quarters in 2018 is provided on the CDTFA website.

In the second quarter of 2018, Butte County generated $0.34 in per capita sales and $77,361 in total taxable sales, while the county generated $0.38 in per capita sales and $87,090 in total taxable sales in the third quarter of that year.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Butte County

In 2018, when California approved the sale of recreational cannabis, Butte County recorded 16 DUI arrests, 29 arrests for marijuana possession, and 17 arrests for marijuana sales. In 2019, the county recorded 9 DUI arrests, 55 arrests for marijuana possession, and 30 arrests for marijuana sales. Butte County recorded 2 arrests for DUI in 2020. In that year, the arrest record for marijuana possession and marijuana sales were 51 and 16, respectively.

In the years immediately preceding recreational marijuana sales, the county recorded 78 DUI arrests in 2015, 91 DUI arrests in 2016, and 84 DUI arrests in 2017. Marijuana possession arrests figures were 42, 39, and 33 in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Arrest figures for drug sales were 37, 32, and 17 in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Butte County Cannabis Overview