Mono County Cannabis – Is It Legal & Where To Buy 2024

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Mono County?

Yes. Cannabis cultivation is permitted in the unincorporated parts of Mono County, subject to obtaining all licenses, permits, and other entitlements required by the Mono County General Plan, the Mono County Code, and other applicable state regulations and laws. The following restrictions apply to cannabis cultivation in Mono County:

  • The canopy area used for cannabis cultivation must not exceed the limits stated in the use permit issued under the Mono County General Plan, where applicable. The cooperation permit must specify the canopy limit allowed by the permit.
  • All indoor, mixed-light, and greenhouse cultivation operations and packaging facilities must be equipped with odor-control filtration and ventilation systems to control odors, humidity, and mold in compliance with the approved odor mitigation plan.
  • Pesticide use must comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
  • Greenhouses must have valid building permits issued by the relevant authorities.
  • A hoop-house or any similar structure must have an emergency escape opening on one or more sides, be easily removable for seasonal variations, be made of somewhat flexible material, and have a cloth type membrane or other similar membrane covering the frame that is no thicker than six mils (1/1000 inch). Without a building permit, permanent or temporary service systems such as electricity, plumbing, gas, and mechanical systems, as well as a permanent foundation or anchoring systems, are not permitted.
  • Permittees are accountable and liable for the waste management on and around the cannabis operation. They must follow the waste management plan prepared and executed in accordance with 3 CCR 8308 and authorized by the county.
  • Permittees are accountable and liable for the safety and security of the cannabis operation. They must comply with the security plan prepared and executed in accordance with 16 CCR 50425047 and authorized by the county.
  • Outdoor cultivation areas shall be set back 300 feet from
  • The boundary of any adjacent lot with a different land use category.
  • Any private or public road or other vehicular path of travel that serves, or is intended to serve, as a means of access to multiple properties;
  • Existing livable space under separate ownership, measured from the agricultural area's closest border line to the habitable space's nearest point
  • Any public or identified multi-modal or non-motorized pathway

Other setback requirements and regulations on cultivation areas, lighting, use of hazardous materials, and dust control are contained in Section 13.080 of the Mono County Cannabis Code. Other general standards and operational requirements applicable to cannabis cultivators in Mono County are outlined in Section 13.070 of the county code.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Mono County?

Yes. Cannabis manufacturing is legal in Mono County and must be conducted in accordance with all applicable state and local laws. Mono County stipulates specific operational regulations for cannabis manufacturing in the county. Per Section 5.60.150 of the county code:

  • Hazardous, flammable, or explosive substances may not be used to manufacture or process cannabis products on manufacturing sites unless all necessary permits have been obtained from the Mono County Health Department and all other appropriate agencies.
  • Extraction equipment used in manufacturing facilities must be listed or otherwise certified by an authorized third-party testing organization or licensed professional engineer and approved for the intended use by the County Building Official and, if applicable, the local Fire District Chief.
  • All cannabis-infused edible products, their storage sites, and associated utensils, equipment, and materials must be authorized, utilized, managed, and handled in compliance with California Health and Safety Code sections 113700-114437, as well as the California Retail Food Code. All cannabis-infused edible products and materials must be kept clean at all times.
  • A licensee must design, produce, manufacture, distribute, package, and sell or distribute edible cannabis products in conformity with Section 26130 of the California Business and Professions Code.

In addition to these requirements,Section 13.100 of the county code also requires that cannabis manufacturing premises be accessible to the general public. Cannabis manufacturers using volatile solvents in cannabis manufacturing must use closed-loop systems certified by qualified engineers and approved by the County Building Official and local Fire District Chief.

Additional requirements and regulations for cannabis manufacturing are contained in Section 5.60.105 and Section 13.070 of the county code.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Mono County?

Yes. Pursuant to Section 5.60 of the Mono County Cannabis Code, cannabis retail is legal in the county. However, in addition to the basic regulations for cannabis businesses operating in the county contained in Section 5.60.120 of the county code, additional regulations for cannabis retail businesses in Mono County are contained in Section 5.60.140 of the county code.

Cannabis retail operations in Mono County are required to comply with the following:

  • The hours of operation must be between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
  • Cannabis or cannabis products may not be visible from the exterior of the retail premises.
  • Retailers must verify the age of the recipient through acceptable methods. Retailers with A-permits may not sell to persons under 21. In contrast, retailers with M-permits may not sell to a person below 18, except when such persons are accompanied by their parents or guardians.
  • Retailers, supervisors, or employees involved with face-to-face cannabis retail sales must complete a training program on cannabis retailing best practices and health education.
  • Retailers must not hold or maintain permits as food service establishments or cottage food establishments from Mono County.
  • Retail sales by means of a self-service display are prohibited
  • Cannabis retailers with A-permits may not use in its name any phrases or words implying therapeutic benefits, including but not limited to "clinic," "wellness," or "health."
  • Retailers must have approved premises which are physical locations from which commercial cannabis activities are carried out. Cannabis retail is not allowed from a vehicle or non-permanent structure.

Note that the restriction of cannabis retail sales and dispensing to on-site premises does not prohibit the transportation of cannabis or its products on public roads by state-licensees transporting cannabis or cannabis products in compliance withSection 2600 of the California Business and Professions Code.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Mono County?

No. Pursuant to Section 5.60.140(L) of the Mono County Code, all sales and dispensing of cannabis and cannabis products must be conducted in-person and completely within the licensed premises of the cannabis retailer. The delivery of any cannabis or cannabis products by licensed retailers to consumers is prohibited within the unincorporated parts of Mono County.

Per Section 13.120 of the county code, cannabis retailers must operate in permanently constructed, fixed structures. Cannabis retailing is not permitted from vehicles or non-permanent structures.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Mono County

The Mono County Medicinal Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) is established under the California Department of Public Health's Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) program. According to Proposition 215 and Senate Bill 420, MMIC holders are protected from arrest for holding specific quantities of marijuana under certain conditions.

An MMIC is available to Mono County residents of legal age whose physician recommends marijuana use for one or more approved medical conditions in California. The patient may designate a primary caregiver and obtain a caregiver identification card from the Mono County Health Department for such a person. You are required to schedule an appointment with the Mono County Health Department to receive an MMIC. To schedule an appointment, call the Mammoth Lakes Office or the Bridgeport Office of the Department at (760) 924-1830 or (760) 932-5580. The addresses are:

Mammoth Lakes Office

1290 Tavern Road, Suite 246

PO Box 3329

Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546

Phone: (760) 924-1830

Fax: (760) 924-1831


Bridgeport Office

37 Emigrant Street

PO Box 476

Bridgeport, CA 93517

Phone: (760) 932-5580

Fax: (760) 924-1831

The following are required at the appointment at the County Health Department:

  • A completed medical marijuana application form
  • A completed Physician Attestation form. Your physician must complete this form.
  • A driver's license.
  • Proof of Mono County residency, such as lease, phone bill, water, electric bill, and a paycheck stub.
  • Medi-Cal or CMSP (County Medical Service Program) card, if applicable.
  • The application fee. The fee is $100 for non-Medi-Cal beneficiaries or $50 for Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Applicants who intend to receive the Medi-Cal discount must take their Medi-Cal cards to the application appointment. The designated caregiver is also required to accompany the applicant during the application. Note that the fee for a primary caregiver is the same as the patient's fee. The application fee may only be paid by cash and is nonrefundable.

To obtain the primary caregiver ID card, the caregiver must be present at the appointment and provide:

  • Completed Section 4 of the application form
  • Proof of identity
  • The application fee is $100 for non-Medi-Cal patients and $50 for Medi-Cal patients with Medi-Cal cards.

All documents must be completed before the MMIC appointment. After submitting all required documentation, the application will be reviewed for completeness, and a photograph will be taken during the 10 – 15-minute appointment session. The Mono County Health Department will verify the attending physician's prescription or recommendation by phone or fax and confirm that the physician is licensed and in good standing with the State Medical Board or Osteopathic Medical Board.

If the physician's recommendation for medicinal marijuana use cannot be validated within 30 days, the patient's application will be denied; In such instances, 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.

If additional information or paperwork is requested after the review of the MMIC application by the Mono County Health Department, the health department will notify the applicant. The applicant has 30 days from the notification date to provide any missing information or documentation.

After verifying all documentation and approval of an MMIC application, the MMIC will be mailed to the Mono County Health Department from the California Department of Public Health. A Public Health Nurse will contact the applicant by phone when the card arrives. MMICs must be picked up in person at the Mono County Health Department by the person named on the card. Cards are not mailed out to successful applicants.

Typically, MMICs are available to patients or caregivers approximately 2-3 weeks after the interview or appointment at the Mono County Health Department. Note that obtaining an MMIC may take an additional 1-2 weeks during peak periods.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Mono County?

Records for marijuana sales for each county in California, including Mono County, are available on the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) website. From these records, it is evident that the cannabis industry in Mono county has contributed substantially to the economy of the County. Records for Mono County on the CDTFA website are only available from the second quarter of 2019.

In 2019, Mono County recorded $77.21 in per capita sales and $1,044,292 in total taxable sales in the second quarter. In the third quarter, the county recorded $95.67 in per capita sales, and generated $1,293,868 in total taxable sales. In the fourth quarter of 2018, the county accrued $64.30 in per capita sales and $869,606 in total taxable sales. In total, Mono County recorded $237.18 in per capita sales and $3,207,766 in taxable sales between the second and fourth quarters of 2019.

In 2020, Mono County recorded $365.82 in per capita sales and $4,920,167 in total taxable sales. Between the first and third quarters of 2021, Mono County recorded a total of $334.63 in per capita sales and $4,449,096 in taxable sales during the same period.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Mono County

The crime report submitted by the Mono County Sheriff's Office to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reveals the impact of cannabis legalization on crime rates in Mono County. In 2018, the year recreational cannabis sales began, the Mono County Sheriff's Office reported no arrests for marijuana possession and marijuana sale. In 2019 and 2020, the county also recorded no arrests for marijuana possession or sales.

According to the record obtained from the FBI crime data portal, marijuana-related crime rates were higher before cannabis legalization went into effect. For instance, the arrest figures for marijuana possession and sales in 2013 were 14 and 7, while the 2014 figures for the same offenses were 8 and 5, respectively.

The Mono County Highway Patrol report submitted to the FBI shows 122 arrests from Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in 2018, while DUI figures reduced to 86 in 2019, the year after adult-use marijuana sales started. In 2020, the number of DUI arrests fell to 58.

The crime data for marijuana-related arrests and DUIs in Mono County shows that the marijuana-related crime rate has declined since the legalization of marijuana in California.

In this section:
Mono County Cannabis Overview