Los Angeles County Cannabis Overview

  1. California Cannabis
  2. Los Angeles County Cannabis

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Los Angeles County?

Yes. Los Angeles County permits qualified persons to grow cannabis in the county. Cannabis was legalized for medicinal use in the State of California by Proposition 215 in 1996, while Proposition 64 legalized adult use cannabis for California residents aged 21 and older in 2018, provided possession and use are within the set limits.

PerSection 8.04.1310 of Title 8 of the Los Angeles County Code of Ordinances, before establishing or operating a cannabis cultivation facility in Los Angeles County, the cultivator is required to obtain a public health permit and other applicable permits and licenses from all state and local licensing agencies. Public health permits are non-transferable and must be posted in a conspicuous place at the cultivation facility. Note that a separate public health permit is required for each licensed commercial cannabis activity in the approved facility.

Los Angeles County permits residents to cultivate up to 6 cannabis plants in their private residences. However, the plants must be grown in locked spaces not visible to the public. The county has specific requirements and rules for personal cannabis cultivation in unincorporated areas of the jurisdiction. For outdoor cannabis cultivation in Los Angeles County, the rule differs from city to city; hence, it is recommended that you verify with the local jurisdiction where you intend to establish an outdoor cannabis cultivation facility to find out their specific rules.

Los Angeles County prohibits the cultivation of cannabis in unincorporated areas of the County.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Los Angeles County?

Cannabis manufacturing or production is legal in California. Per Title 4 of the California Code of Regulations, individuals or entities manufacturing cannabis products in the state must obtain and maintain valid manufacturer licenses. In Los Angeles County, cannabis and cannabis product manufacturing facilities are permitted to operate as long as they satisfy all health protection operation requirements for the manufacturing of cannabis and cannabis products stipulated by California law and regulations promulgated by the State Department of Public Health.

According to Section 11.37.040 of the Los Angeles Code of Ordinances, cannabis manufacturing facilities in the county must operate in a permanently constructed structure. Such establishments are prohibited from operating from a vehicle or temporary structure.

Per county law, unless specifically permitted by the Department, all TCS products, extractions, concentrates, and infusions intended for human consumption in Los Angeles County must be refrigerated at 41°F or below. Approvals are granted based on an assessment of the documented procedures used in the manufacturing of the product; the application of control measures; and any additional scientific proof presented by the manufacturer from a certified laboratory or process authority that proves the product's shelf stability.

Note that cannabis manufacturing is illegal in all unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Los Angeles County?

Yes. Medical marijuana dispensaries may operate in Los Angeles and provide medical marijuana products to qualified patients above the age of 21 or residents with designated caregivers. Patients are not required to obtain a medical marijuana identification card (MMIC) before purchasing medical cannabis at approved dispensaries. However, presenting an MMIC will help buyers avoid paying sales taxes on their purchases. Note that while medical marijuana users under the age of 21 can purchase medical cannabis from licensed dispensaries, they cannot buy marijuana from recreational outlets.

Pursuant to Section 7.55.010 of the Los Angeles County Code of Ordinances, medical marijuana dispensaries are required to meet the following requirements:

  • No medical marijuana dispensary may conduct any medical marijuana dispensary activity at any location requiring a license unless the required license has been issued and is valid.
  • The dispensary must post a recognizable and readable sign indoors with these warnings:
  • That marijuana diversion for non-medical reasons is a violation of state law
  • That medicinal marijuana use may impair a person's ability to operate a motor vehicle or equipment
  • That loitering around or on the dispensary site is not allowed under California Penal Code section 647 (e).
  • The provision, sale, or consumption of alcoholic beverages on the grounds of either the interior or exterior portion of the dispensary is prohibited.
  • The dispensary will not provide medical marijuana to any individual under 18 except when the individual is a qualified patient or primary caregiver with a valid identification card under Section 11362.7 of the California State Health and Safety Code.
  • The dispensary must have, at all times, a manager, as defined under Section 7.55.010, on the premises.
  • A dispensary may only provide specific devices, instruments, or paraphernalia for inhaling medical marijuana to qualified patients or primary caregivers according to Section 11364.5 of the California Health and Safety Code Section.
  • A dispensary may not grow marijuana on or at any section of its premises. However, cuttings of the marijuana plant may be maintained or kept on-site for distribution to qualified patients and primary caregivers.
  • Medical marijuana dispensaries must provide security in accordance with Section 7.55.300 of the Los Angeles County Code of Ordinances.

A dispensary may offer medicinal marijuana in edible form if the edibles comply with all relevant county regulations, such as the dispensary acquiring a public eating license according to Chapter 7.72 of the Los Angeles County Code of Ordinances. Additionally, any beverage or edible made, given, or sold at the facility that includes marijuana must have a conspicuous and clearly recognizable disclaimer on the package advising that the product contains marijuana and should be taken only with a physician's recommendation.

Retail activities both for medical and adult-use cannabis are not allowed in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Los Angeles County?

According to Section 11.37.060 of the Los Angeles County Code of Ordinances, cannabis delivery is legal if conducted by approved retail cannabis facilities. Marijuana consumers of legal age, including medical marijuana patients, can receive their purchases at their doorsteps.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Los Angeles County

The MMIC identifies the cardholder as a person covered by Proposition 215 (The Compassionate Use Act of 1996) and Senate Bill 94 (Chapter 27, Statutes of 2017). It is used to assist law enforcement in determining if the cardholder is legally permitted to possess specified quantities of medicinal marijuana under certain conditions. You can obtain a medical marijuana identification card in Los Angeles County in person or by mail. To obtain an MMIC in person, contact the Medical Marijuana Program to make an appointment. Note that applicants cannot process appointments after 4:00 p.m., and an applicant must at the time of the scheduled appointment:

  • Provide completed application package
  • Pay application fee
  • Be ready to be photographed

To obtain an MMIC by mail, an applicant must mail the completed and signed application package with the required documents along with a passport photo (colored and taken within the previous month) and the applicable fee to:

Attention: Medical Marijuana Program

Environmental Health Headquarters

5050 Commerce Drive

Baldwin Park, CA 91706

The MMIC application package in Los Angeles County includes:

  • Application Form
  • Physician Attestation
  • Medical documentation or written documentation of patient's medical records
  • Acknowledgment form
  • A valid and original government-issued photo ID
  • Proof of Los Angeles County residency. Acceptable proofs include California DMV vehicle registration, a copy of the current rent or mortgage agreement, or a recent utility bill. Note that the Medical Marijuana Program will not accept a P.O. Box address
  • If applicable, an original Medi-Cal or Los Angeles County Medical Services (No cost or Low-cost Health Care) Program card

The fee for obtaining an MMIC as a regular applicant without a caregiver is $100. Each caregiver up to 3 separate caregivers costs an additional $100. Consequently, a regular applicant with three designated caregivers will pay $400 for an MMIC. Medi-Cal beneficiaries without a caregiver are required to pay $50 for an MMIC. A Medi-Cal beneficiary with one caregiver, two caregivers, and three caregivers will pay $100, $150, and $200 respectively for an MMIC.

Appointments for in-person applications are available Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at:

Baldwin Park

5050 Commerce Drive

Baldwin Park, CA 91706

AND

Inglewood

9800 S. La Cienega Boulevard

850 Inglewood, CA 90301

For more information on obtaining medical marijuana identification cards in Los Angeles County, contact the county's medical marijuana program at (866) 621-2204 or mmip@ph.lacounty.gov.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Los Angeles County?

Pursuant to the Los Angeles Municipal Code Article 1, Chapter II Section 21.50, the county charges a business tax of 6% of gross receipts from medical cannabis sales. Also, the county levies a tax of 8% of gross receipts from adult-use marijuana sales.

Following the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2018, Los Angeles County generated $376.7 million in total taxable sales. In 2019 and 2020, the revenue accruing to the county government in taxable sales was $736.3 million and $973.6 million. In 2021, data obtained from the CDTFA (California Department of Tax and Fee Administration) show that the county generated a total $779.9 million between the first and second quarter of the year.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Los Angeles County

Data for arrest obtained from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) dates to 1996. In 1996, a total of 17,086 arrests were made for narcotics-related crimes in Los Angeles County. From the available reports on the LASD website, the arrest figures for narcotic-related offenses for 1998,1999, and 2000, were 17,911, 14,726, and 15,942.

Following the legalization of recreational marijuana in January 2018, Los Angeles County recorded 18,540 arrests for narcotic-related crimes in the same year. In the years preceding the legalization of recreational cannabis, the county recorded 14,850, 16,588, and 16,491 arrests in 2015, 2016, and 2017. After the legalization of adult-use marijuana, Los Angeles County recorded 22,936 and 19,999 arrests for narcotic-related crimes in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Los Angeles County Cannabis Overview