In Madera County, the Code of Ordinances Chapter 18.87 prohibits the commercial cultivation of medical and adult-use cannabis. Although the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) of the State of California legalized licensed medical and adult-use cannabis cultivation in the state, it requires applicants for the commercial cannabis cultivation license to comply with local county ordinances.
Madera County, however, allows the individual cultivation of medical or adult-use cannabis at home for own use only in accordance with MAUCRSA and Chapter 18.87 of the County Code of Ordinances. Cannabis cultivation by a cooperative or collective is prohibited.
Medical cannabis cardholding patients in Madera County are allowed to grow, only in their primary residence, a maximum cannabis canopy of 100 square feet with a height limit of ten feet, regardless of the number of cardholders living together. A caregiver may grow cannabis for a patient but only in the patient’s residence. A copy of the patient’s physician’s recommendation or medical cannabis card must be posted in the cultivation area.
Individuals not younger than 21 are only allowed to grow a maximum of six plants, only in their primary home, regardless of the number of qualified adults residing there.
All other rules that cover individual cannabis cultivation in Madera County are the same for both medical and adult-use cannabis. There must be more than 1,000 feet between the home where cannabis is to be cultivated and any public or institutional building such as a school or church. If the cannabis grower does not own the home, the homeowner’s authorization must be obtained and posted in the cultivation area.
Cultivation is only allowed indoors, within the residence, or in a fully enclosed and locked building within the residential property’s grounds. The building must comply with all county codes for zoning, buildings, fire, electricals, plumbing, parking, and other applicable standards. The building must have enough durability to prevent intrusion and must have a burglar alarm. The structure must be opaque and all cannabis cultivation activities must be hidden from any public vantage point.
No gas products like CO2 or butane must be used in cannabis cultivation. Individual cannabis growers must ensure that the safety and health of their neighbors are protected by using a filtration system to stop noxious gases, odors, dust, and smoke from escaping. They must prevent heat, glare, and noise from escaping the building and not store any hazardous materials. They must also set up a ventilation system to prevent the development of mold that will be a hazard to residents.
The Madera County Code of Ordinances Chapter 18.87 prohibits the commercial manufacturing of medical and adult-use cannabis products. While the MAUCRSA of the State of California legalized licensed medical and adult-use cannabis product manufacturing in the state, it also compels applicants for the commercial cannabis manufacturing license to abide by local county ordinances.
Madera County, however, allows qualified personal growers of medical or adult-use cannabis to process their cannabis plant harvest into cannabis products such as concentrates, edible goods, or topical preparations, among others. Personal growers are prohibited from using gas products such as butane or CO2 in cannabis processing. They must also ensure that their cannabis processing does not negatively impact their neighbors’ safety and health by preventing the emission of odors, noxious gases, smoke, heat, and dust, the creation of noise, glare, and vibration, and the storage of hazardous materials.
Chapter 18.87 of the Madera County Code of Ordinances prohibits the commercial retail selling of medical and adult-use cannabis and cannabis products by licensed dispensaries. Even if the State of California’s MAUCRSA legalized licensed medical and adult-use cannabis retail in the state, it also subjects applicants for the commercial cannabis dispensary license to local county ordinances.
However, in compliance with the Medicinal Cannabis Patients’ Right of Access Act of the State of California, Madera County allows the following facilities to act as licensed medical cannabis dispensaries serving only patients and caregivers who are medical cannabis cardholders:
A Madera County-licensed clinic
A Madera County-licensed healthcare facility
A Madera County-licensed facility for the residential care of the elderly
A Madera County-licensed facility for the residential care of individuals suffering from chronic life-threatening illnesses
A Madera County-licensed home health agency or residential hospice
The consumption of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products only by patients who are medical cannabis cardholders is also allowed in these listed facilities.
The facility acting as a licensed medical cannabis dispensary is authorized to sell medical cannabis and medical cannabis products by retail. Cannabis is defined by the MAUCRSA as dried cannabis plant parts, resins, or salts, while cannabis products are identified by Section 11018.1 of the Health and Safety Code of the State of California as concentrates, edible preparations, topical formulations, and other cannabis-infused items. The MAUCRSA restricts the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of edible cannabis products to 10 milligrams for each serving.
The facility acting as a licensed medical cannabis dispensary is only allowed by the MAUCRSA to sell each medical cannabis cardholder a daily limit corresponding to eight ounces of dried cannabis flowers or their equivalent. A patient needs to have a physician’s recommendation allowing a higher limit to be able to purchase more.
The delivery of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products even to medical cannabis cardholders, and adult-use cannabis and adult-use cannabis products even to persons aged at least 21 is prohibited by Chapter 18.87 of the Madera County Code of Ordinances. The MAUCRSA of the State of California allows local governments to prohibit it even if medical and adult-use cannabis delivery has been legalized elsewhere in the state.
Medical cannabis cardholding patients or their caregivers in Madera County must purchase medical cannabis and medical cannabis products from the facilities allowed to act as licensed medical cannabis dispensaries.
Residents of Madera County who need medical cannabis treatment can obtain a medical cannabis card from the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program (MMICP) of the State of California’s Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) but they must go through the Madera County Health Department.
First, the patient’s primary care doctor must determine if the patient has one of the following illnesses:
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
Persistent muscle spasms
A chronic illness that restricts the life activities of the patient or endangers the safety and mental and physical health of the patient
Once the patient has been diagnosed, the doctor will issue a signed physician’s recommendation for the use of medical cannabis. If the patient needs more than the current limit, the doctor must indicate how much the patient is allowed to purchase per day.
The patient must then print and fill up the application form. If the patient is younger than 18 or is an adult who is not able to make medical decisions, a primary caregiver must be identified in the same application form. The attending physician who provided the recommendation must likewise be identified.
The patient and the caregiver must make a single appointment with the MMICP office for the County of Madera by contacting the following:
County Public Health Department
14215 Road 28
Madera, CA 93638
Mondays, 8:30 am - 11:30 am
The patient and the caregiver must go together at the appointed hour, bringing the following:
A copy of the physician’s recommendation
A valid government-issued ID of the patient and the caregiver, respectively
A valid proof of state residency for the patient and the caregiver, respectively
The application fee of $100 each
The fee is discounted to $50 for MediCal beneficiaries and is completely waived for beneficiaries of any healthcare service program for indigents.
The medical cannabis card of the patient and the caregiver will each be issued by the county’s health department after approximately 35 days.
From January 1, 2023, the State of California imposed a 15% excise tax on the gross receipts from retail sales of cannabis and cannabis products. This is collected by the licensed retailer from the purchaser.
Moreover, every sale of adult-use cannabis and adult-use cannabis products is subject to the sales and use tax that the retailer must pay to the state government. It is the option of the retailer to charge this to the purchaser or not. The sales and use tax in the State of California as of May 2023 is 7.25%. In addition, Madera County has a sales tax of 7.75% as of April 1, 2023. Purchases of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products by medical cannabis cardholders are exempted from the sales and use tax.
Medical cannabis was first legalized in Madera County in 1996 by the Compassionate Use Act of the State of California, while adult-use cannabis was legalized in 2016 by the MAUCRSA.
Data sent by the Madera County Sheriff's Office to the FBI’s Crime Explorer page shows that in 1995, a year before medical cannabis was legalized, there were 17 arrests for marijuana offenses, comprised of seven arrests for possession and 10 arrests for sales.
In 1997, a year after medical cannabis legalization, there were 48 arrests for marijuana offenses, comprised of 41 arrests for possession and seven arrests for sales.
In 2017, a year after adult-use cannabis legalization, there were 3 arrests for marijuana offenses, all for sales.
The latest data available, which is from 2020, shows 21 arrests for marijuana offenses, comprised of 20 arrests for possession and one arrest for sales.
Data sent by the Madera County Highway Patrol to the same page shows the number of DUI arrests in those years as follows:
1995: 600 arrests
1997: 492 arrests
2017: 816 arrests
2020: 733 arrests