The cultivation of cannabis in California was legalized statewide in 2016 with the enactment of the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Cannabis Act. This Act enabled adults in California, aged 21 years and older, to grow cannabis for their personal use. Regulation of commercial cannabis cultivation was established under the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) in 2018, enabling commercial business operations to commence. Importantly, California cannabis laws also awarded local authorities with the control of whether to allow or ban commercial cannabis activities in their jurisdictions. Previously, oversight for the commercial cultivation of cannabis was with the California Department of Food And Agriculture (CDFA). However, all statewide cannabis activities were consolidated under the newly created Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) in 2021. Because local authorities get to dictate cannabis commerce policy in their jurisdictions, commercial cannabis activities are not allowed across the state. Several counties ban the cultivation of cannabis for commercial sales within their jurisdictions, and this includes Napa County.
Napa County does not allow the commercial cultivation of cannabis in zones in the unincorporated areas of the county. More residents in Napa County voted against the legalization of cannabis than for it and this may account for decisions taken by county authorities. The Napa County Board of Supervisors issued an ordinance banning all commercial cannabis activities in any zone of the unincorporated areas of the county. This effectively prohibited the commercial cultivation of cannabis in unincorporated areas of Napa County.
Despite the ban on commercial cannabis cultivation in unincorporated areas of Napa County, it is legal for adults, over 21 years, in these areas to cultivate cannabis for personal use. Eligible adults may grow up to six cannabis plants indoors, inside private premises, and they must reside in the premises where the cannabis is grown. Residents cultivating cannabis in unincorporated areas of Napa County must be in strict compliance with all applicable regulations regarding cannabis cultivation. Eligible adults that wish to cultivate cannabis outdoors must ensure the plants are not visible from any public right-of-way or in the front yard of the property. Adults cultivating cannabis outdoors on property within 300 feet of a school or public park may only grow up to two cannabis plants. If the property is not within 300 feet of a school or public park, then they may grow up to six cannabis plants on it. The property must be enclosed by a solid physical barrier (fence) that is a minimum of six feet high, with a lock sufficient enough to restrict access.
The legalization of recreational cannabis by the enactment of the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Cannabis Act also legalized the manufacture of cannabis-infused products in California. It also made it legal for adults of legal age to purchase and possess cannabis-infused products manufactured in the state. Cannabis laws in the state, however, put the decision of allowing or prohibiting commercial cannabis activities in local jurisdictions in the hands of the local authorities.
Napa County ordinances prohibit commercial cannabis activities, including the manufacture of cannabis-infused products, in unincorporated areas of the county. The County Board of Supervisors banned the manufacture of cannabis-infused products in its jurisdiction, despite the county's support for cannabis legalization. Notwithstanding that over 61% of Napa County residents voted to legalize adult-use cannabis in California, it is illegal to manufacture cannabis products in unincorporated areas of the county. Incorporated cities and towns in Napa County are also empowered to regulate commercial cannabis activities in their jurisdictions.
The retail of cannabis and cannabis-infused products was legal in California by the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Cannabis Act. This enabled storefronts and delivery services duly licensed by their local authorities to retail cannabis products to eligible persons. The framework for the regulation and taxation of cannabis retail in the state was established under the Medicinal And Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. Local authorities are granted control over their jurisdictions to decide if commercial retail of cannabis should be allowed or banned.
Despite over 61% of Napa County residents supporting Proposition 64 to legalize the use of adult-use cannabis by adults, commercial cannabis activities are prohibited. An ordinance issued by the Napa County Board of Supervisors banned commercial cannabis activities, including the retail of cannabis, in unincorporated areas of the county. Consequently, it is illegal to retail cannabis and cannabis-infused products in unincorporated areas of Napa County. However, incorporated cities and municipalities in Napa County also have local control to sanction commercial cannabis activities in their jurisdictions.
Cannabis delivery is legal in Napa County. The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation Act (MAUCRSA) makes it legal to deliver cannabis and cannabis products to "any jurisdiction" in the state. Also, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) issued regulations under which the delivery of cannabis and cannabis products to all locations in California was permitted. The ordinances issued by the Napa County Board of Supervisors that ban commercial cannabis activities implicitly allow for cannabis deliveries. The delivery of cannabis products by licensed services was not affected by the ban on commercial activities in Napa County, provided the deliveries comply with state laws. The cannabis industry was labeled as "essential" in March 2020, as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. This granted the industry special workforce dispensations that facilitate deliveries of cannabis products.
Medical cannabis was legalized in California in 1996 by the Compassionate Use Act. This Act enabled qualifying patients with doctors' recommendations to use cannabis as an alternative treatment for debilitating medical conditions that did not respond to conventional medications. The Act was amended in 2003 by Senate Bill 420, which established the medical marijuana identification card and registry to properly identify participants in the program. The Compassionate Use Act was repealed and replaced by the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act in 2018. This Act consolidated the medicinal and recreational cannabis sector in the state and established the framework for the regulation of commercial cannabis activities statewide. The medical marijuana program issues identification cards to qualified patients in Napa County. This identifies them as participants in the medical cannabis program and enables them legally use cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Patients that wish to register for medical marijuana identification cards in Napa County must obtain written recommendations from physicians licensed in California. The physician can be a Medical Doctor or Doctor of Osteopathy duly licensed in the state by their professional board. To qualify to receive a recommendation to use medicinal cannabis, the patient must be diagnosed with any of the following medical conditions:
To register for the medical marijuana identification card in Napa County, the patient must submit a completed application form along with their supporting documents and the applicable fee to:
Office of Vital Statistics
2751 Napa Valley Corporate Drive
Napa, CA 94558
Medical marijuana identification card applications can only be submitted on appointment. Patients must call the Office of Vital Statistics on (707) 253-4506 to book their appointments. On the day of their appointment, the patient is required to provide:
Recommending physicians are required to comply with certain provisions and the submission of a physician's attestation form with the application fulfills this requirement. This is optional, as the physician can provide this information to the Office themselves. Medical marijuana identification cards cost $100 in Napa County. Recipients of Medi-Cal receive a 50% discount, while recipients of CSMP receive a 100% discount. Patients that require primary caregivers must ensure their caregivers fill out the appropriate section of the application form. The caregiver must be 18 years or older, a legal resident of California, and must provide a copy of their government-issued photo ID with the application submission.
Medical cannabis regulations dictate that the Office of Vital Statistics should complete the processing of applications and issue notifications to the applicants within 30 days. Patients whose applications are approved will have their information submitted to the State Medical Marijuana Program and their identification cards will be processed. Patients can pick up their identification cards from the Napa County Office of Vital Statistics or arrange to have them sent by mail. Patients that have their applications denied may appeal the decision to the State Program; to do so, they are required to submit a denial appeal form (english|spanish) within 30 days.
The California Department of Tax and Fees Administration (CDTFA) compiles and reports the total taxable cannabis sales figures from the different counties in the state. Napa County residents approved the legalization of recreational cannabis as over 61% voted for Proposition 64 in 2016. However, the County Board of Supervisors voted to ban commercial cannabis activities in unincorporated areas of the county, despite overwhelming support among residents.
Total taxable cannabis sales figures for Napa County are available from the CDTFA only for the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years. For 2020, cannabis sales totaled $4,678,249 and for 2021 total taxable sales figure for cannabis was $8,201,485.
The legalization of recreational cannabis in California saw arrests related to cannabis fall across several counties in the state. Typically, these drops in crime rates occurred in counties that allowed cannabis commerce, though not always. Cannabis regulations in Napa County ban commercial cannabis activities in unincorporated areas but enable cultivation and possession for personal consumption by adults 21 years and older. It is considered a public nuisance for residents of Napa County to engage in commercial cannabis activities in unincorporated areas of the county.
The Uniform Crime Reporting program of the FBI collates arrest statistics from local law enforcement agencies in the United States, including the Napa County Sheriff's Department. The Napa County Sheriff reported a total of 10 marijuana-related arrests in 2016, consisting of four arrests for possession and six for sales/manufacture. Cannabis legalization that year preceded a 40% drop in marijuana-related arrests in 2017 and a further 33.3% drop by 2018. There were only 3 arrests by the Napa County Sheriff in 2019, representing a 70% decrease in marijuana-related arrests between 2016 and 2019. In 2020, the Napa County Sheriff Department reported 0 arrests for marijuana-related offenses in their jurisdiction.