Madera County Cannabis Overview

  1. California Cannabis
  2. Madera County Cannabis

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Madera County?

Madera County permits personal use cultivation of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes according to the Madera County Ordinance No. 687 (Madera Marijuana Ordinance) adopted on November 21, 2017. However, the ordinance prohibits commercial and cooperative cultivation of marijuana. The Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215), passed by California State voters in 1996, legalized the use of marijuana for the treatment of certain medical conditions. Furthermore, in 2016 the state voters passed the Proposition 64: Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) to allow adults (21 years and above) to access marijuana for recreational purposes. The state senate in 2017 passed the California State Senate Bill 94 called the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) to harmonize Proposition 215 and Proposition 64. MAUCRSA authorizes counties, cities, and towns to make laws to regulate the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sales of marijuana within their jurisdiction in conformity with the act. The law also permits medical marijuana patients to cultivate not more than six cannabis plants in their private residences.

The Madera County Ordinance restricts the cultivation of recreational and medical cannabis to the limits indicated in the state law (MAUCRSA) for personal use cultivation. The ordinance allows individuals (patients, caregivers, or adults 21 years and older) to plant no more than six cannabis plants. The cultivation site must be in a residence, attached garage, or accessory building if the property is a detached single-family residence. There is no need to apply for a permit/license for personal use cultivation of marijuana in the county. However, personal use cultivation of marijuana is subject to the following restrictions:

  1. The cultivation area must not exceed 100 square feet measured by the canopy and 10 feet in height per residence. This is without regard to the number of marijuana users within the residence.
  2. All alterations and additions to the residence, garage, or accessory building are subject to the county's applicable building, fire, plumbing, electrical, and zoning codes.
  3. The use of gas products such as CO2 and butane for marijuana cultivation and processing is prohibited.
  4. The marijuana cultivation lighting must not exceed a total of 1200 watts.
  5. The marijuana cultivation site must not be open to public view.
  6. The marijuana user must reside in the residence where the marijuana cultivation occurs.
  7. The individual must not be involved in the cultivation of marijuana in any other location in Madera County.
  8. The cultivation area must include ventilation and filtration systems designed to protect the residents' health and safety and ensure that the cultivation is not detectable beyond the residence.
  9. The residence must maintain the kitchen, bathrooms, and primary bedrooms for their intended use.
  10. Any chemicals used for marijuana cultivation must be stored outside of the habitable areas of the residence and away from public view of neighboring properties and public right of way.
  11. The cultivation area must be at least 1000 feet away from public institutions such as religious centers, schools, or public buildings.
  12. The cultivation area must not adversely affect the health and safety of nearby residents by creating dust, glare, heat, smoke, traffic, vibrations, etc.
  13. Where the cultivation is done on a rented property, the cultivator must obtain a written marijuana cultivation authorization document from the property owner.
  14. For medical marijuana cultivation, a copy of a physician recommendation or medical marijuana identification card must be posted at a conspicuous place in the cultivation area. For rented property, a copy of the authorization document must be posted at a conspicuous place in the cultivation area.
  15. Where cultivation is done in a garage or accessory building, the location must be secured, locked, and fully enclosed. It must be fitted with a burglary alarm, and the alarm must be monitored by an alarm company or security firm.

Cooperative or collective cultivation of marijuana is prohibited in the county. Outdoor cultivation of cannabis is also prohibited in the county. All the cities in Madera County prohibit the commercial cultivation of cannabis within their city limits.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Madera County?

Per the Madera Marijuana Ordinance, all commercial production of cannabis and cannabis products is prohibited in every part of the county.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Madera County?

The Madera Marijuana Ordinance prohibits all forms of cannabis retailing in the county. Commercial dispensaries are also prohibited. Exceptions are, however, made for the following facilities to provide medical marijuana to qualified patients:

  1. A licensed clinic
  2. A healthcare facility
  3. A licensed residential care facility for persons with chronic, life-threatening illnesses
  4. A licensed residential care facility for the elderly
  5. A licensed residential hospice or a licensed home health agency

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Madera County?

Per the Madera Marijuana Ordinance, delivery of cannabis is illegal in the county regardless of whether the delivery is initiated within or outside of the county. The law also prohibits cannabis delivery to medical marijuana patients.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Madera County

The Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) is an identification card issued to eligible patients and their primary caregivers under the Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) in California. The MMIC identifies the cardholder as a person authorized to be in possession of medical marijuana. A patient with any of the medical conditions below can be recommended by a physician to be issued the MMIC:

  • Anorexia
  • AIDS
  • Cachexia
  • Persistent multiple spasms
  • Seizures
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Migraine
  • Chronic pain
  • Cancer
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Severe nausea
  • Any other chronic or persistent medical condition for which marijuana provides relief

The MMP in the county is administered by the Madera County Department of Public Health (MCDPH). The MCDPH issues the Medical Marijuana Identification Card MMIC on behalf of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) as stipulated in the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA).

An interested applicant can schedule an appointment and make inquiries by calling (559) 675-7893. The applicant needs to have the following documents ready for submission:

  1. Original written recommendation from the physician or Written Documentation of Patient's Medical Records form
  2. Completed Application/Renewal (CDPH-9042) form
  3. Government-issued photo identification; any one of the following will suffice:
  4. California's State Driver's License
  5. California State ID Card
  6. United States Passport
  7. Proof of Madera County residency, which can be any one of the following:
  8. Current rent or mortgage receipt
  9. Recent utility bill
  10. California motor vehicle registration bill with current address in the county

The county is open for MMIC appointments on Mondays, 8:30 am - 11:30 am. An appointment for an MMIC will take place at:

Madera County Public Health Department

14215 Road 28

Madera, CA 93638

(559) 675-7893

A lawfully emancipated minor (under 18 years of age) or a minor that has declared self-sufficiency status may apply for themselves. Otherwise, their parents or legal guardian must be involved.

The application will be verified and approved or denied. An applicant can appeal a denial of application or renewal by filling the Denial Appeals Application form. The Medical Marijuana Identification Card is valid for one year.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Madera County?

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) provides data on Cannabis Sales by County for all counties in the state. There is no information on cannabis sales in Madera County. This results from the prohibition of all commercial cannabis businesses in the county. Therefore, there is no way of measuring the impact of cannabis on the county's economy. Voters in the City of Madera passed Measure R in November 2018. Measure R imposes a tax of 6% of gross receipts on marijuana retail businesses, 4% of gross receipts on other marijuana businesses, and no more than $10 per square foot for cultivation. Measure R is to become effective when the city council legalizes commercial cannabis in the city.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Madera County

Counties, towns, and cities in the US submit crime data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The crime data provided by the Madera County Sheriff's Office reveals that in 2016 there were six marijuana possession arrests and 31 marijuana sales arrests. This was a year before the passage of the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act in California, and the adoption of the Madera Marijuana Ordinance in the county. In 2017, there was no marijuana possession arrest and three marijuana sales arrests. There were two marijuana possession arrests and four marijuana sales arrests in 2018. In 2019, two marijuana possession arrests and two marijuana sales arrests were recorded. In 2020, marijuana possession arrests increased significantly to 20 and a single marijuana sales arrest. The figures above show that marijuana sales arrests reduced drastically from 31 in 2016 to three after the legalization became effective, and it has maintained a very low number since then. The same trend can be observed for marijuana possession except for 2020, when there was a spike.

The Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrests data provided by the Madera County Highway Patrol reveals that there were 750 DUI arrests in 2016, and in 2017, there were 816 DUI arrests. There were 822 DUI arrests in 2018, and in 2019, there were 742 DUI arrests. In 2020, there were 733 DUI arrests. The figures above show that the DUI arrests increased in 2017, the year marijuana was legalized, and it further increased in 2018. However, since 2019, it has become slightly lower than pre-legalization year's figures. The crime data show that the legalization of marijuana has drastically reduced the number of marijuana-related arrests. The rate of DUI arrests initially increased after the legalization of marijuana, but it is back to pre-legalization figures.

Madera County Cannabis Overview