Cannabis cultivation in Del Norte County is legal, and both commercial cultivation and personal cultivation are allowed in line with California marijuana laws. Medical cannabis became legal in California following state voters' approval of Proposition 215, commonly known as the Compassionate Use Act, in 1996. This Act allows patients 18 years or older who suffer from certain debilitating medical conditions to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. Minors with certain severe medical conditions are also not left out under the Compassionate Use Act. The Act permits personal cultivation of cannabis by eligible patients and caregivers of up to 6 mature or 12 immature marijuana plants at home for medical uses.
California legalized recreational cannabis in 2016 after the state voters passed Proposition 64, codified as the Adult Use Marijuana Act. This Act permits adults 21 years and over to grow up to 6 cannabis plants in their homes for personal and recreational use only. In 2017, the California Legislature revised the existing state marijuana laws and came up with the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA). This Act gives local governments the authority to enforce state cannabis laws and set standards regarding cannabis business activities in their jurisdictions. This revised Act also established the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) to regulate cannabis businesses in California.
Title 20, Chapter 67, Section 70 of the Del Norte County Code permits commercial indoor and outdoor cultivation of cannabis but with a use permit. The use permit will clearly state if the permittee will engage in indoor or outdoor cultivation. Also, a use permit must identify the private or public roads leading to the cultivation site to mitigate the adverse effects of growing cannabis on the road. A cannabis cultivation site in Del Norte County must have an adequate water source to cater to cultivation activities without adversely impacting the water supplies to the environment. Any lighting used for cannabis cultivation must be completely shielded at all times. No cannabis plants in a cultivation site must be visible to anyone from a public space.
Del Norte County also allows the indoor and outdoor cultivation of cannabis for personal uses. An indoor cultivation area must not be more than 100 square feet. The person cultivating cannabis for personal use must be a permanent resident of the residence housing the cultivation area. The cultivation area must comply with the California mechanical, building, electrical, fire, and plumbing codes adopted by Del Norte County. Personal-use outdoor cannabis cultivation must not occur within 25 feet of the front property line. Outdoor cannabis cultivations must be on lands that are developed with a single, private residence that is the primary residence of the grower. Del Norte County prohibits cultivation outdoors in a trailer park or on lands containing multiple houses.
Per Title 20, Chapter 67, Section 60 of the Del Norte County Code, cannabis manufacturing is permitted within the county's borders. However, cannabis manufacturers must operate in line with operating plants approved by the relevant county authority. Del Norte County prohibits cannabis manufacturers from using volatile solvents for cannabis products manufacturing.
In Del Norte County, a legal cannabis manufacturing facility must not be situated within a 600-foot radius of any youth center or a school. The county Code requires a cannabis manufacturing establishment to implement adequate security measures to prevent access by unauthorized persons into their facility. One of such measures is the installation of security cameras on all parts of a manufacturing site. A cannabis manufacturing site must have a secured and locked storage room for safe-keeping cannabis and cannabis products. All employees of any cannabis manufacturing facility in Del Norte County handling edible cannabis products must be versed in food safety practices.
Facilities using potentially dangerous equipment must train their employees to operate it correctly and on proper hazard response protocols during equipment failure. A cannabis manufacturing facility must at all times maintain a record showing that all cannabis or cannabis products are obtained from and are provided to other permitted cannabis facilities in Del Norte County.
Yes. However, cannabis retailers must satisfy some requirements to legally operate in Del Norte County. They must obtain a use permit to conduct commercial cannabis activities and get a license from the appropriate state licensing authority. The use permit obtained will specify whether a permitted retailer can dispense medical or recreational cannabis. According to Title 20, Chapter 67, Section 50 of the Del Norte County Code, cannabis retailer operations must comply with the terms approved by the county authority. Adults 21 years and older can purchase cannabis and cannabis products from permitted cannabis retail stores in the county.
A cannabis retailer in Del Norte County cannot operate within a 600-foot radius of a school or youth facility. Also, the county prohibits a cannabis retailer from setting up its facility within a 200-foot radius of another cannabis retailer. Del Norte County requires cannabis retailers to maintain adequate security measures to prevent theft and access to unauthorized individuals. Specifically, they must install security cameras around their retail facility to monitor all activities within their premises. A cannabis retail facility in Del Norte County can only operate between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. daily.
The Del Norte County Code does not make specific provisions for cannabis delivery within the county's borders. However, Per Title 20, Chapter 67, Section 50 of the Code, a retailer can distribute any cannabis or cannabis products, provided they are labeled. Such cannabis or cannabis products must also be packaged in a tamper-proof container as required by Section 26120 of the California Business and Professional Code.
Qualified patients or caregivers in Del Norte County can apply for medical marijuana cards through the Medical Marijuana Identification Program provided by the county Department of Health and Social Services. Applicants must be at least 18 years old to be eligible to participate in this program and obtain a medical marijuana card. A minor with debilitating medical conditions can also apply, but they must obtain the consent of their parent or legal guardian. Emancipated minors must tender proof of emancipation with their application submissions. Medical conditions that qualify a patient for medical marijuana include cancer, AIDS, arthritis, anorexia, chronic pain, severe nausea, glaucoma, seizures, and migraine. Others are persistent muscle spasms and persistent medical symptoms that limit an individual's ability to engage in major life activities.
The following are crucial documents and information that must accompany a medical marijuana card application in Del Norte County:
A qualifying patient must apply for a medical marijuana card in Del Norte County in person. To do this, they must fill out the Medical Marijuana Program Application/Renewal Form (DHS 9042) and submit it with supporting documentation at:
Department of Health and Social Services
880 Northcrest Drive
Crescent City, CA 95531
The Department of Health and Social Services opens Mondays through Fridays between 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Patients must apply in person because the Department must verify their IDs and take their photos physically. Applicants may call the county Department of Health and Social Services at (707) 464-3191 to confirm the exact application fee and acceptable payment channels. Generally, this fee is non-refundable and usually does not exceed $100, while Medi-Cal verified beneficiaries receive a 50% discount.
Currently, the Del Norte County Tax Collector has no published data on revenues made from cannabis activities in the county. The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) reported total cannabis taxable sales by county between 2018 and the first three quarters of 2021 for many counties. However, this report does not contain any record for Del Norte County during this period. A review of the DCTFA report revealed persistent growths in total cannabis taxable sales across the counties represented over the years. This trend indicates a positive impact on the economies of these counties. Cannabis taxable sales in Del Norte County will most definitely follow the same trend as other counties.
Cannabis legalization has had a notable impact on the rate of DUI offenses in Del Norte County. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) report in 2018, law enforcement made 124 DUI arrests in 2014. This figure declined slightly to 118 in 2015. However, in 2016, there was a notable increase in DUI arrests (152) made in Del Norte County. This figure represented a 28.8% upsurge compared to 2015. As published in a 2020 DMV report, the number of DUI arrests in Del Norte County further increased to 185 in 2017. In 2018, the figure grew significantly to 316, a 70.8% increase compared to 2017.
Although declining, there has been no significant effect of cannabis legalization on the rate of drug-related offenses in Del Norte County since 2016. In 2015, law enforcement made 49 arrests for drug offenses. In 2016, 2017, and 2018, there were 33, 42, and 43 drug-related arrests in Del Norte County. The number of arrests for this offense declined further in 2019 and 2020 to 20 and 18, respectively.