Modoc County Cannabis Overview

  1. California Cannabis
  2. Modoc County Cannabis

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Modoc County?

Modoc County prohibits the commercial cultivation of marijuana in the county. The Modoc County Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance was adopted following the passage of Proposition 64: Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) in the State of California. Proposition 64 allows adults (21 years and above) to access marijuana for recreational purposes. The California State voters passed the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215) in 1996, legalizing the use of marijuana for the treatment of certain medical conditions. 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 Modoc County Ordinance allows personal cultivation of marijuana within the county with the following conditions:

  1. No person owning, leasing, occupying, or having charge of any parcel of land within the unincorporated area of the county may allow their land to be used for the cultivation of marijuana in violation of the ordinance.
  2. The cultivation of marijuana plants in a residence being used for habitation, or in greenhouses, or in non-detached unpermitted structures, or any combination of the above, or in any other way not in conformity with the ordinance is declared a public nuisance.
  3. The cultivation of marijuana within the unincorporated area of the county is only allowed in a properly permitted residence, such as an ancillary detached structure that is locked and not opened to the public.
  4. The person cultivating marijuana on a legal parcel must be the owner of and residing in a lawfully constructed structure on the property. However, if the person is not the legal owner of the parcel, a notarized letter from the legal owner consenting to the cultivation of marijuana on the parcel must be submitted. The notarized letter must contain a provision that states that "the owner of the parcel will be responsible for all administrative penalties owed the county and not paid by the lessee for violations of any of the provisions of section 18.175 et seq of the Modoc County Code". The person cultivating the marijuana must reside on the property in a lawfully constructed structure.
  5. A primary caregiver can cultivate a maximum of six medical marijuana plants on behalf of a qualified patient in either the qualified patient's primary residence or the caregiver's primary residence.
  6. Cultivation of marijuana is limited to a maximum of six plants per parcel for both medical and recreational purposes.
  7. Indoor cultivation of marijuana can only be done in a properly permitted, detached structure that is an accessory to and located on the same parcel as the residence. Cultivation within a residence or any other structure lawfully used or intended for human occupancy is prohibited.
  8. Marijuana cultivation area must be at least 1,500 feet from sensitive areas such as public schools, parks, daycare facilities, youth centers, churches, school bus stops, or any establishment that caters primarily to persons under 18 years of age.
  9. Fertilizers, chemicals, or any other products or equipment used to cultivate marijuana must be used, stored, and discarded in a manner consistent with the manufacturer's instructions or any law governing the same. All gas products such as CO2 and butane are prohibited.
  10. Marijuana cultivation must not adversely affect the health, safety, or general welfare of persons at the cultivation location or nearby properties by creating dust, noise, noxious gasses, glare, heat, smoke, toxic substances, odor, traffic, or vibration.
  11. Commercial cultivation and processing of marijuana are prohibited in the county. No use variance, permit, building permit, or any other entitlement, license, or permit will be approved or issued for the cultivation of marijuana.
  12. Delivery and transportation must strictly comply with provisions of relevant state laws.
  13. Lights used for indoor cultivation must comply with all applicable laws and must not interfere with the use of a radio or other communication device.

Outdoor cultivation of marijuana is prohibited within the unincorporated area of the county. Alturas, the only incorporated city in the county, also prohibits the commercial cultivation of cannabis.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Modoc County?

Per the Modoc Marijuana Ordinance, the commercial production of cannabis and cannabis products is prohibited within the county.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Modoc County?

Cannabis retail is prohibited in the county according to the Modoc Marijuana Ordinance. Marijuana dispensaries are not permitted within the unincorporated area of the county.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Modoc County?

Per the Modoc Marijuana Ordinance, delivery of cannabis is illegal in the county. Medical marijuana delivery to Medical Marijuana ID cardholders is also prohibited.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Modoc County

The Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) is issued to eligible patients and their primary caregivers under the Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) in California. The MMP in the county is administered by the Modoc County Department of Public Health. The department 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). The MMIC identifies the cardholder as a person authorized to possess medical marijuana. A patient with any of these medical conditions below can apply to get an 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

An interested applicant must schedule an appointment by calling (530) 233-6311. The applicant is required 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 Modoc County residency, which can be any one of the following:
  8. Recent utility bill
  9. Current rent or mortgage receipt
  10. California motor vehicle registration bill with current address in the county

The county's health department is open for MMIC appointments from Monday to Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm. An appointment for an MMIC will take place at:

Modoc County Department of Public Health

441 North Main Street

Alturas, CA 96101

(530) 233-6311

Lawfully emancipated minors (under 18 years of age) or minors that have declared self-sufficiency status may apply for themselves. Otherwise, their parents or legal guardians 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 only valid for one year.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Modoc 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 Modoc County. This is due to the prohibition of all commercial cannabis businesses in the county. Therefore, there is no way of measuring the impact of cannabis on Modoc County's economy. There is also no information on cannabis sales in Modoc's only incorporated city, Alturas City, because of the city's ban on commercial cannabis.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Modoc County

The crime data provided by the Modoc County Sheriff's Office to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reveals that there were no marijuana possession and sales arrests in 2016. In 2017, there was one marijuana possession arrest and no marijuana sales arrest. In 2018, there was still no marijuana possession arrest, but there were two marijuana sales arrests. In 2019 and 2020, there was neither a marijuana possession arrest nor a marijuana sales arrest. The Modoc County Highway Patrol also provided data for marijuana sales and possession arrests for the years 2016, 2017, and 2019. The figures reveal that there were two marijuana possession arrests and no marijuana sales arrests in 2016. In 2017, there was one marijuana possession arrest and no marijuana sales arrest. In 2019, there was neither marijuana possession arrest nor marijuana sales arrest. The figures above reveal that marijuana possession and sales arrest in the county is very low; there were no recorded arrests in 2019 and 2020. The marijuana laws have had no effect on marijuana-related offenses.

The Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrest data provided by the Sheriff's office reveals that there were 3 DUI arrests in 2016. In 2017, there were 6 DUI arrests. In 2018, there were 10 DUI arrests. In 2019, there were 8 DUI arrests. In 2020, there were 4 DUI arrests. There has been a gradual increase in DUI arrests since the legalization of cannabis. The Modoc County Highway Patrol also provided DUI arrest data for the years 2016, 2017, and 2019. The data reveals that in 2016, there were 35 DUI arrests. In 2017, there were 29 DUI arrests. In 2019, there were 19 DUI arrests. The figures show a steady decline in DUI arrests by the highway patrol since the legalization of marijuana.

In conclusion, the legalization of marijuana has had no effects on marijuana sales and possession arrests in the county, but the rate of DUI arrests has decreased since 2016.

Modoc County Cannabis Overview