Medical and adult-use marijuana cultivation for commercial and personal use is legal in El Dorado County following Title 130 Article 4 Chapters 130.41 and 130.42. County regulations define cultivation as activities involving propagating, growing, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, and trimming any part of a marijuana plant indoors or outdoors. Artificial lights with a rate of 25 watts per square foot in a permanent structure are required for indoor commercial cultivation. On the contrary, outdoor cultivation is conducted in a site that is not fully enclosed but is accessible through locked doors. It can be in a greenhouse, hoop, glass, conservatory, or hothouse. A lot area of 10 acres is required for outdoor commercial cultivation.
In addition to the required State of California licenses, a valid Commercial Cannabis Use Permit and Commercial Cannabis Annual Operating Permit are needed to conduct commercial cannabis activities in El Dorado County. Issuance of permits by the Planning and Building Department will require a three-step process for applicants to accomplish – pre-application, full application, and commercial cannabis operating permit and monitoring program. After approval, applicants must obtain an Eldorado County business license to operate. Canopies of commercial cultivators may not be within 1,500 feet of schools, school bus stops, worship places, parks, child care centers, youth-oriented facilities, public libraries, licensed drug or alcohol facilities, and licensed sober living facilities. Screening must be done to prevent marijuana plants from being seen by the public. Retail sale is strictly prohibited within the cultivation premises.
El Dorado County residents are also given the authority to cultivate medical and adult-use marijuana in their residences personally. However, cultivation areas should be 1,000 feet away from schools, school bus stops, worship places, parks, child care centers, and youth-oriented facilities. No more than six plants may be cultivated indoors or outdoors at any time. Residents must note that outdoor cultivation is not permissible in multi-unit residential zones. Additionally, marijuana may only be dried, cured, processed, or stored in fully enclosed structures upon harvest. Lastly, all homegrown marijuana may not be sold to anyone following the state’s Proposition 64.
As per Chapter 130.41, El Dorado County allows the commercial manufacturing of marijuana. It involves processing, preparing, holding, storing, packaging, and labeling marijuana and marijuana products such as concentrates, edibles, or topicals. Regulated by the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), five types of manufacturing licenses may be granted depending on the facility used, activities performed, and chemicals used during extraction and processing. The following licensees may operate in the county’s zone districts:
Type 7 (Volatile Solvent Manufacturing) - zone districts classified as Industrial High (IH), Industrial Low (IL), and Meyers Industrial (MAP-2)
Type 6 (Non-volatile Solvent Manufacturing) - zone districts classified as IH, IL, MAP-2, General Commercial (CG), and Research and Development (R&D)
Type N (Infusion of Products): zone districts classified as CG, IH, IL, R&D, MAP-2, Planned Agricultural (PA), Limited Agricultural (LA), Agricultural Grzazing (AG), Meyers Community Center (MAP-1), Community Commercial (CC), and Regional Commercial (CR)
Type P (Packaging and Labeling): similar zone districts as Type N licensees
Type S (Manufacturers in a Shared-Use Facility): issued in a zone district where Type 7, Type 6, Type N, or Type P licensees are authorized to manufacture in a shared-use facility
Manufacturing marijuana is unlawful in any residential area or any structure connected to a residential area. In compliance with Proposition 64, manufactured marijuana may contain up to 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per serving and must not be appealing to children. Products should be packed in child-resistant and tamper-evident packaging unattractive to children. It must also have clear and legible labels containing the manufacturing date, source of materials used, warning labels, net weight, and a list of ingredients.
Retailers are allowed to operate in El Dorado County if they have a valid Type 9 or Type 10 License from the state, on top of the Commercial Cannabis Use Permit and Commercial Cannabis Annual Operating Permit issued by the county. Type 9 licensees, referred to as Non-Storefront Retailers, sell marijuana through delivery alone. Meanwhile, Type 10 licensees or Storefront Retailers have a registered physical location where marijuana is sold. They are also given the authority to deliver marijuana to customers. Following Chapter 130.41, Type 10 Licencees may sell commercial marijuana in CC, CR, CG, IL, and MAP-1 zone districts daily from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
Adults may possess 28.5 grams of marijuana or up to eight grams of concentrate. Medical marijuana patients and their designated caregivers may be given higher possession limits depending on their physician’s recommendation. A valid identification card must be presented by all customers when purchasing marijuana from retailers.
Licensed retailers offer flowers, pre-rolls, edibles, drinks, tinctures, capsules, concentrates, and vapes. El Dorado County residents may use the Cannabis Unified License Search developed by the DCC to search for licensed retailers.
Yes. Type 9 licensees with a Commercial Cannabis Use Permit and a Commercial Cannabis Annual Operating Permit may deliver marijuana to El Dorado County residents at least 21 years old or medical marijuana patients. Customers must initiate deliveries by 7:00 PM, while deliveries may be conducted between 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
The following regulations must be followed during deliveries as stipulated in the DCC Medicinal and Adult-Use Commercial Cannabis Regulations:
Carry a copy of the establishment’s valid license
Employees conducting the delivery must have a valid government-issued ID card
Enter into the Track-and-Trace System all information needed before the delivery
Keep a copy of the delivery request at all times
Delivery vehicles must be equipped with GPS and not be identified as carrying marijuana
All products to be delivered must be stored in a locked, enclosed container
The value of products to be delivered must not exceed $5,000 at any time
The customer must sign a delivery request receipt upon delivery
Marijuana may not be delivered to publicly-owned land or buildings a public agency leases. This includes schools, daycare centers, and youth centers.
El Dorado County implemented the Medical Marijuana Program in 2007 after its establishment by the state. Residents with medical conditions such as anorexia, arthritis, AIDS, cancer, cachexia, chronic pain, migraine, glaucoma, severe nausea, persistent muscle spasms, and seizures may be eligible to use medical marijuana. Medical marijuana may also be recommended to those who have chronic medical symptoms that limit their ability to perform major life activities or those symptoms that may lead to serious harm to health and safety.
Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) application involves these steps:
Accomplish the MMIC application form
Make an appointment with the El Dorado County MMIC Processing Location
931 Spring Street Placerville, CA 95667
Gather and provide the following documents during application: proof of residency, government-issued ID with a photo, and physician’s recommendation.
Pay the application fee worth $100.00, $50.00, if the applicant has Medi-Cal eligibility.
Applicants may have to wait up to 35 days for their application to be approved. Once approved, MMIC holders are reminded to be responsible cardholders.
Pursuant to state laws, El Dorado County implements Commercial Cannabis Activities Tax for all commercial cannabis activities conducted in the county. As of April 2023, the state executes the following tax rates:
Cultivation: $2.00 per square foot (outdoor), $4.00 per square foot (mix light), $7.00 per square foot (indoor)
Nurseries: $4.00 on gross receipts
Manufacturing: 2.5% on gross receipts (Level 1)
Retail: 4% on gross receipts
Distributor: 2% on gross receipts
Testing Laboratories: 0.5% on gross receipts
Based on the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration data, cannabis tax revenues in El Dorado County significantly grew from $3,243,200 in the Fourth Quarter of 2018 to $13,649,084 in the Fourth Quarter of 2022.
Crime rates related to marijuana in El Dorado County have improved since California legalized medical marijuana in 1996 and adult-use marijuana in 2016. This is evident in the records of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office on the FBI Crime Data Explorer:
Marijuana possession: 125 arrests in 1995, 79 in 1997, 85 in 1998, 82 in 2000, 64 in 2015, and 16 in 2020
Marijuana sales: 66 arrests in 1995, 60 in 1997, 75 in 1998, 58 in 2000, 60 in 2015, and 94 in 2020