Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in El Dorado County?
Yes. It is legal to conduct commercial cannabis cultivation in unincorporated areas of El Dorado County, provided you possess a valid commercial cannabis use permit and commercial cannabis annual operating permit. El Dorado County has specific requirements for cannabis cultivation in the county. These include:
- Per Section 130.41.200 of the El Dorado County Cannabis Code, the maximum number of commercial cannabis cultivation operations in the county's unincorporated areas is restricted to 150. At least 75 of the total 150 cannabis cultivation operations is reserved for outdoor or mixed-light cultivation operations with a total canopy area of less than 10,000 square feet. 40 of the 75 reserved for operations are to have a canopy area of 3,000 square feet or less with cannabis grown exclusively with natural light and meeting organic certification standards or the substantial equivalent. Section 130.41.200 merely establishes the maximum number of permits that may be issued and may not be interpreted to obligate the county to grant a minimum or a maximum number of permits.
- Outdoor or mixed-light commercial cannabis cultivation is only permitted in the zoned districts of Planned Agricultural (PA), Rural Lands (RL), Limited Agricultural (LA), and Agricultural Grazing (AG) with a commercial cannabis use permit and commercial cannabis annual operating permit issued under Section 130.41.200.
- Outdoor or mixed-light commercial cannabis cultivation is restricted to locations with minimum premises sizes of 10 acres. To comply with other regulations, surrounding residential uses, and community compatibility, the county may require a site bigger than 10 acres.
- Outdoor or mixed-light commercial cultivation of cannabis is subject to the maximum canopy limitations depending on the zoning district. To maintain consistency with agricultural uses, and neighborhood compatibility and other relevant laws, El Dorado County may impose additional constraints on canopy size. A cannabis cultivation operation must not exceed the canopy size threshold stipulated by state legislation. Canopy coverage thresholds are contained in Section 130.41.200(c) of the county code.
- Outdoor or mixed-light commercial cannabis cultivation is prohibited within 1,500 feet of a school, school bus stop, place of worship, park, pre-school, playground childcare center, public library, licensed drug or alcohol recovery facility, youth-oriented facility, or licensed sober living facility.
- Outdoor or mixed-light commercial cannabis cultivation must be situated back at least 800 feet from the site's property border or public right-of-way and at least 300 feet from the upland extent of any watercourse's riparian vegetation.
- All lights used for mixed-light cultivation must be wholly enclosed inside buildings or shielded in some other way to totally confine any light or glare involved in the cultivation process. Artificial illumination is restricted to six watts per square foot or fewer for mixed-light cultivation. Security lighting for outdoor and mixed-light commercial cannabis cultivation must be motion actuated, and all outdoor lighting must comply with Article 3, Chapter 130.34. (Lighting for Outdoors).
- Commercial cannabis nurseries activities may not be permitted in residential buildings or accessory structures connected to residential dwellings.
- In accordance with Section 130.41.300 of the county code, indoor cannabis cultivation may be allowed in the General Commercial (GC), Industrial High (IH), Industrial Low (IL), Research and Development (R&D), and Meyers Industrial (MAP-2) zone districts subject to a commercial cannabis use permit and commercial cannabis annual operating permit.
- For personal cannabis cultivation in El Dorado, residents may grow up to 6 plants indoors in any zone, including Multi-Unit Residential zones. Note that no more than 6 plants may be cultivated per residence, indoors or outdoors at any time. Also, any cannabis plant grown under the El Dorado County ordinance must only be for the personal use of the residents on the parcel.
Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in El Dorado County?
Yes. Pursuant to Section 130.41.300 of the El Dorado County Code, cannabis manufacturing is permitted in the county contingent upon obtaining a valid commercial cannabis use permit and commercial cannabis annual operating permit. Per the county code, cannabis manufacturing activities are regulated in the following manner:
- Under Section 188.8.131.52, a Type 7 license may be issued in the Industrial High (IH), Industrial Low (IL), and Meyers Industrial (MAP-2) zone districts.
- Under Section 130.41.100, a Type 6 license may be issued in the General Commercial (CG), Industrial High (IH), Industrial Low (IL), Research and Development (R&D), and Meyers Industrial (MAP-2) zone districts.
- Under Section 130.41, Type N and Type P licenses may be issued in the Community Commercial (CC), Regional Commercial (CR), General Commercial (CG), Industrial High (IH), Industrial Low (IL), Research and Development (R&D), Planned Agricultural (PA), Limited Agricultural (LA), Agricultural Grazing (AG), Meyers Community Center (MAP-1), and Meyers Industrial (MAP-2) zone districts. Permits in Planned Agricultural (PA), Limited Agricultural (LA), and Agricultural Grazing (AG) zone districts are limited to sites with a minimum premises area of 10 acres, and the county may require a larger premises area to ensure consistency with other laws, surrounding residential uses, and neighborhood compatibility.
- A registered shared-use facility (Type S license) may be granted in a specific zone district only if the manufacturing activity or activities to be undertaken in the shared-use facility are approved in that zoning district (Type 7, Type 6, Type N, or Type P license).
- Commercial cannabis use permits and commercial cannabis annual operating permits must specify the manufacturing activities that are permitted, and those activities must be consistent with the specific license types issued by the California Department of Public Health's Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch at the time the commercial cannabis use permit or commercial cannabis annual operating permit is issued.
- Commercial cannabis manufacturing is not authorized in a residential dwelling or an accessory building attached to a residential dwelling.
- A shared-use facility's principal permittee should be specified. If a violation occurs at a shared-use facility, both the primary permittee and the permittee permitted to use the shared-use facility during the violation may be held jointly and severally accountable for the violation, regardless of any agreement between the permittees. The occupancy schedule and designated area for a Type S license must be included in the use permit and annual operating permit application. The information may not be changed without the Building and Planning Department's prior written notification and approval. Any such change must be memorialized in the commercial cannabis annual operating permit.
- The Director of the El Dorado County Environmental Management Department, or the Director's designee, may impose additional restrictions or requirements on commercial cannabis manufacturing to protect public health and safety and inspect any portion of a commercial cannabis manufacturing facility during regular business hours to ensure compliance.
Is Cannabis Retail Legal in El Dorado County?
Yes. Cannabis retail is legal in El Dorado County pursuant to Section 130.41.300 of the county code. However, retail sale storefront facilities open to public sale of commercial cannabis are only allowed in the Community Commercial (CC), Regional Commercial (CR), General Commercial (CG), Industrial Low (IL), and Meyers Community Center (MAP-1), zone districts subject to a commercial cannabis use permit and commercial cannabis annual operating permit under Section 130.41.100.
Per county code, except for non-storefront retail facilities providing delivery-only service, no more than seven cannabis retail storefront facilities open to the public may be allowed to operate at any one time in El Dorado County; although one more cannabis retail storefront facility may be approved in the Meyers Community Center (MAP-1) zoning area, bringing the county's total to eight. Cannabis retail activities conducted by approved establishments are limited to between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in El Dorado County?
Yes. Cannabis delivery is permitted in El Dorado County by licensed cannabis delivery establishments. However, pursuant to Section 130.41.300 of the county code, retail non-storefront facilities of commercial cannabis may only be allowed in the General Commercial (CG), Industrial High (IH), Industrial Low (IL), Research and Development (R&D), and Meyers Industrial (MAP-2) zone districts subject to a commercial cannabis use permit and commercial cannabis annual operating permit.
Cannabis delivery services operating hours are restricted to between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Any cannabis delivery must be initiated by the consumer no later than 7:00 p.m. The restriction on cannabis delivery operations hours in El Dorado County applies regardless of whether the sale originates inside or outside the county. Note that no person operating a commercial cannabis retail facility located outside the unincorporated area of the county may deliver commercial cannabis within the unincorporated area of the county without first obtaining a valid business license pursuant to Chapter 5.08. (License Requirements and Procedure).
How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in El Dorado County
The El Dorado County medicinal marijuana identity card (MMIC) is accessible via the California Department of Public Health's Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) program. The MMIC identifies the person named on the card as an individual protected by Proposition 215 and Senate Bill 420. It is used to assist law enforcement in determining whether the cardholder is legally permitted to possess particular quantities of medical marijuana under certain circumstances.
An MMIC is available to any El Dorado County resident whose physician recommends marijuana use for one or more of the approved medical conditions in California. The patient may designate a primary caregiver and get a caregiver identification card from the El Dorado County Public Health Department for such a person. You are required to schedule an appointment with the Emergency Medical Services Agency of the El Dorado County Public Health Department to receive an MMIC. To schedule an appointment, call the Emergency Medical Services Agency at (530) 621-6503. The office's address is as follows:
El Dorado County Public Health Department
Emergency Medical Services Agency
931 Spring Street
Placerville, CA 95667
The following are required at the appointment at the Emergency Medical Services Agency:
- A completed CDPH-9042 form
- A completed CDPH-9044 form
- 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 El Dorado 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.
- The application fee. The fee is $100 for non-Medi-Cal beneficiaries or $50 for Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Applicants who intend to receive the Medi-Cal discount must take along their Medi-Cal cards. The designated caregiver is also required to accompany the applicant during the application. Note that the fee for a primary caregiver is the same as the patient's fee.
After you submit your completed application form together with all relevant documents, the El Dorado Public Health Department has 30 days to evaluate your application. After your application is confirmed, the county's MMIC program has 5 days to make the MMIC available to you. That is, provided your application is complete, and the county MMIC program finds no reason to deny it, obtaining your MMIC should take no longer than 35 days. Your application may be delayed if any required information or paperwork is missing. Contact the County of El Dorado MMIC program if you have not received your MMIC within 35 days.
How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of El Dorado County?
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) provides data on the sales generated by cannabis in each county in California, including El Dorado County. With cannabis sales going into effect across the state on January 1, 2018, El Dorado County generated $55.91 in per capita sales and $10,509,427 in total taxable sales in 2018. In 2019, the figures were $100.32 in per capita sales and $19,034,258 in total taxable sales.
In 2020, El Dorado County accrued $146.32 in per capita sales and $28,319,598 in total taxable sales. Between the first and third quarters of 2021, El Dorado County generated $139.98 in per capita sales and $27,348,714 in total taxable sales. Steadily, the cannabis sector in El Dorado County has boosted the county economy in increased revenue from sales and the provision of direct and indirect job opportunities to county residents.
Did Legalizing Cannabis Affect Crime Rate in El Dorado County?
Crime data from El Dorado County Sheriff's Office is submitted to the FBI using the Summary Reporting System (SRS). From this data, El-Dorado County recorded 61 DUI arrests, 2 arrests for marijuana possession, and 4 arrests for marijuana sales in 2018. In 2019, 61 DUI arrests, 7 marijuana possession arrests, and 8 marijuana sale arrests were recorded. In 2020, the record was 100 DUI arrests, 16 marijuana possession arrests, and 94 marijuana sales arrests. Hence, since the sale of recreational marijuana went into effect in 2018, marijuana-related crime rates have gone up in El Dorado County.