Inyo County Cannabis Overview

  1. California Cannabis
  2. Inyo County Cannabis

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Inyo County?

Yes. Per Inyo County Cannabis Ordinance 1221, cannabis cultivation is legal in the county pursuant to compliance with all relevant state and local laws, including the Inyo County Code Chapters 5.40 and 3.50. The Inyo County Cannabis Code requires entities looking to cultivate cannabis in the county to obtain conditional use permits for commercial cannabis cultivation in the open space, residential, heavy industrial and extractive, and light industrial zones.

Cannabis cultivation sites are required to have a minimum 600-foot buffer from a park, library, or from 123 School Road, Olancha CA 93545. Inyo County also requires that all cannabis cultivation activities be subject to setback requirements except those in industrial zoning and those identified in Section 18.21.040 of the county code. Cannabis cultivation in industrial zones must be conducted indoors and is subject to noise, odor, and visual resource mitigation requirements.

Per Section 18.12.040 of the Inyo County cannabis code, commercial cannabis cultivation in open space zones must be 300 feet from all parcel lot lines and other otherwise applicable yard requirements. According to Section 18.21.040, cultivation in rural residential zones on parcels greater than 12 acres must also be at least 300 feet from all parcel lot lines. In the rural residential zone, commercial cannabis cultivation on parcels greater than 2.5 acres may be permitted only in areas commonly known as Stewart Valley and Charleston View, and subject to any design guidelines and other conditions and regulations, including setbacks that county codes may require.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Inyo County?

Yes. In accordance with Inyo County Ordinance 1221, cannabis manufacturing is legal in Inyo County. Per Section 18.06.182 of the county code, Inyo permits Level 1 cannabis manufacturing for sites that manufacture cannabis products using nonvolatile solvents. Level 2 manufacturing is also allowed for sites manufacturing cannabis products using volatile solvents. Per the Inyo County Cannabis Zoning Chart, cannabis manufacturing using the nonvolatile extraction method is permitted in open space, heavy commercial, light industrial, and general industrial and extractive zones.

Cannabis manufacturing using the volatile extraction method is permitted only in the general industrial and extractive zone. Non-mechanized cannabis manufacturing may be conducted in the general commercial and retail zone and the light industrial zone. In accordance with the zoning chart, cannabis manufacturing using mechanized methods can only be performed in the light industrial and general industrial and extractive zones.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Inyo County?

Yes. Pursuant to Section 18.06.182 of the Inyo County Code, cannabis retail is legal in the county. Cannabis retail businesses are required to have a minimum 600-foot buffer from a park, library, or from 123 School Road, Olancha CA 93545. According to the Inyo County Commercial Cannabis Zoning Chart, cannabis retail businesses may be located in the central business, general commercial and retail, and highway services and tourist commercial zones.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Inyo County?

Yes. Cannabis delivery is legal in Inyo County in accordance with Inyo County Ordinance 1221 pursuant to compliance with all relevant local and state laws, including the Inyo County Code Chapters 5.40 and 3.50. Non-storefront retail businesses may be located in the general commercial and retail, heavy commercial, and light industrial zones in Inyo County.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Inyo County

The Inyo 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 Senate Bill 420 and Proposition 215. The MMIC assists law enforcement in determining if the cardholder is legally permitted to possess certain amounts of medicinal marijuana under specific conditions.

Any Inyo County resident whose physician advises marijuana use for one or more qualifying medical conditions can apply for an MMIC. The patient may designate a primary caregiver and obtain a caregiver identity card from the Inyo County Department of Health and Human Services. Note that you must schedule an appointment to obtain an MMIC from the Department. You may contact the Inyo County Department of Health and Human Services at (760) 873-7868 to schedule an appointment. The Office address is:

Health and Human Services

1360 North Main Street, Suite 203C

Bishop, CA 95314

The following are required at the appointment with the Department of Health and Human Services:

  • 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 government-issued photo ID, such as a military ID, driver's license, and passport.
  • Proof of Inyo County residency, such as water or electric bill, DMV car registration, and housing rental paperwork
  • Medi-Cal card, if applicable.
  • Application fee. Contact the Inyo County Department of Health and Human Services for the current application fee. The maximum fee a California resident may be charged for an MMIC is $100. Patients with valid Medi-Cal cards at the time of application are typically eligible for a 50% reduction in the application fee. Application fees are nonrefundable.

During the visit, the Department of Health and Human Services will take a digital photograph of the patient and primary caregiver, if applicable. As part of the review process, the Medical Board of California will validate the physician's license and recommendation for medical marijuana use. After verifying the information, an Inyo County Department of Health and Human Services officer will contact the state Department of Public Health to obtain the MMIC. When the Medical Marijuana Identification Card is available for pickup, the patient will be contacted by an Inyo County Department of Health and Human Services employee.

If the physician's recommendation for medicinal marijuana use cannot be validated within 30 days, the patient's application will be denied. In such cases, the Department will inform patients that their applications have been rejected. Within 30 days after the refusal of the first application, the patient may appeal the decision to the California Department of Public Health.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Inyo County?

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) keeps track of cannabis-related sales revenue in all counties in the state. However, there are no records for Inyo County on the CDTFA website. Still, with cannabis manufacturing, sales and delivery permitted, the cannabis sector in the county contributes to the county's economy through revenue accruing from taxable sales of cannabis within its jurisdiction.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Inyo County

In 2018, when California approved the sale of recreational cannabis, Inyo County recorded 8 DUI arrests, no arrest for marijuana possession, and 1 arrest for marijuana sales. In 2019, the county recorded 3 DUI arrests, no arrests for marijuana possession, and no arrests for marijuana sales. Inyo County recorded 1 arrest each for DUI, marijuana possession, and marijuana sales in 2020.

In the years immediately preceding recreational marijuana sales, the county recorded 28 DUI arrests in 2015, 2 DUI arrests in 2016, and 17 DUI arrests in 2017. Hence, the legalization and sales of recreational cannabis in California seem to have positively impacted marijuana-related crime rates in Inyo County due to the decline in DUI arrest figures.

Inyo County Cannabis Overview