San Bernardino County Cannabis Overview

  1. California Cannabis
  2. San Bernardino County Cannabis

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in San Bernardino County?

San Bernardino County prohibits all cannabis cultivation for medical or recreational purposes in the county's unincorporated areas. This prohibition remains in place regardless of gain, profit, or benefit. However, the county creates an exception for primary caregivers who own or operate state-licensed health facilities to conduct commercial cannabis activities. Such licensed health facilities include:

Before conducting any such activity, the licensed facilities are required to register with the San Bernardino County Land Use Service Department. Outdoor cannabis cultivation is prohibited for any of the listed health facilities in San Bernardino County.

California voters legalized cannabis for recreational and medical purposes through Proposition 64 and Proposition 215 respectively. However, Proposition 64 does not require California counties and cities to permit commercial cannabis cultivation in their jurisdictions. Precisely, Section 2 of Proposition 64 declares that the law safeguards local authority, allowing counties and cities to regulate cannabis-related activities, subject cannabis establishments to zoning requirements, and prohibit cannabis businesses.

Pursuant to Section 84.30.040 of the San Bernardino County Code of Ordinances, approved primary caregivers or qualified patients cultivating cannabis for personal medical use:

  • May not sell, distribute, donate, or provide cultivated cannabis to any other entity or person
  • May only receive compensation in compliance with Subdivision C, Section 11362.765 of the Health and Safety Code
  • Must limit cultivation to 12 cannabis plants per person with an identification card or primary caregiver per private resident. Cultivation must also be limited to an aggregate total of 24 cannabis plants per private residence when more than one person, with a medical marijuana ID card, or primary caregiver resides at the private location

Section 84.30.040 of the San Bernardino County Code of Ordinances also stipulates that a private dwelling used for cultivation must be completely enclosed, with solid walls and a ceiling, roof, or top. In compliance with the outlined restrictions, the cultivation of cannabis plants must take place in a separate designated cultivation space within the private residence. The specified production space must be secured and locked separately from all other uses of the private house, ensuring that all cannabis plants are sufficiently protected against theft and unwanted entry by children or other unauthorized individuals. The cultivation must not be visible from the outside of the private residence. The rules defined public visibility as, including, but not limited to:

  • Typical visual observation, including all forms of signs
  • Odors, scents, aromas, or any other olfactory stimulant produced during cultivation
  • Light pollution, glare, or the intensity of artificial light used in cultivation

San Bernardino county's prohibition of commercial cultivation activities does not apply to jurisdictions of the incorporated cities and towns in the county. It is recommended that you check with the specific town or city where you propose establishing your cannabis cultivation in San Bernardino County to determine whether commercial cannabis cultivation is prohibited or permitted.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in San Bernardino County?

In San Bernardino County, establishing or operating a cannabis manufacturing business is illegal in any of the county's unincorporated areas. As stated in Section 84.34.040 and 83.34.050 of the San Bernardino County Code of Ordinance, a commercial cannabis manufacturing business may not be considered permitted, or conditionally permitted, in any land use zoning district. Any individual who violates the provisions of these sections of the county code will be considered to have committed a misdemeanor and is subject to the penalties set out in Chapter 86.09 and Chapter 2 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the county code.

San Bernardino County's prohibition of cannabis manufacturing activities does not apply in the incorporated cities and towns of the county. Still, it is advised that you check with the cities and towns to verify whether commercial cannabis manufacturing activities are permitted or prohibited.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in San Bernardino County?

It is unlawful to conduct any cannabis retail business within the jurisdiction of unincorporated cities and towns of San Bernardino County. As expressly stated in Section 84.34.040 and 83.34.050 of the San Bernardino County Code of Ordinances, commercial cannabis activities, including retail, are not permitted or conditionally permitted in any land use zoning district. Retail cannabis activities may go on within any of the jurisdictions of the county's 24 incorporated towns and cities. You may seek further clarification on the legitimacy of cannabis retail business operations by checking with the relevant San Bernardino County city or town in which you intend to locate a cannabis retail business.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in San Bernardino County?

No. San Bernardino County does not allow commercial cannabis delivery businesses to operate within the county's unincorporated areas. However, the county does not prohibit anyone from driving through its jurisdiction on public roads for the purpose of delivering cannabis to and from other jurisdictions that permit commercial cannabis activities.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in San Bernardino County

The Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) enables qualified patients to legally purchase cannabis-based THC and CBD products for treatment from state-licensed dispensaries. To obtain an MMIC under the California Medical Marijuana Program, you must schedule an appointment with the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health to apply for the card. Completed applications for MMICs are accepted by appointments only. The county Department of Public Health only schedules appointments for Monday to Wednesday, between 8:30 a.m. and 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. To schedule an appointment for an MMIC, contact the county department of health at (800) 782-4264.

Before scheduling an appointment with the Department, you are required to have obtained certification or written documentation from a physician or doctor licensed as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) in California. The certification must attest that you suffer from one or more approved qualifying medical conditions and that medical cannabis would be an appropriate treatment for the condition.

In the certification, the doctor must attest that the use of cannabis will ease the symptoms and that the potential benefits of medical cannabis use likely outweigh the risk to your health. The licensed MD or DO may use the Written Documentation of Patient's Medical Record form (CDPH Form No. 9044) or official letterhead to complete the required written documentation. MMIC applicants are also required to have completed the Application Form (CDPH Form No. 9042) before proceeding to the scheduled appointment with the county department of health. You may also contact the Department at (800) 782-4264 to have the MMIC application packet mailed to you.

After confirming your appointment, you must take the following to the appointment:

  • Completed original CDPH Form No. 9042
  • Original written documentation from your physician recommending medical marijuana use (CDPH Form No. 9044 or official letterhead)
  • Your doctor or physician's name, contact information, and California medical license number
  • A government-issued photo identification, such as a United States passport, state-issued driver's license, state-issued ID card, or a veteran's administration ID card
  • Proof of San Bernardino residence, such as current utility bill or mortgage or rent payment receipt. The County Department of Public Health will not accept a P.O. Box address for address verification.
  • An application fee of $100 or $50 for Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Note that this fee is non-refundable. Payment may be in cash, cashier check, or money order. For payment to be accepted in cash, it must be in the exact required amount.
  • Current Medi-Cal card for Medi-Cal participants

It may take up to 35 days to receive an MMIC after submitting an application at the county department of public health. The Department will contact you for pick up when the card is ready to ensure delivery. For more information about obtaining an MMIC in San Bernardino County, contact:

San Bernardino County Department of Public Health

Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program (MMICP)

340 N. Mountain View Avenue

San Bernardino, CA 92415-0010

Phone: (800) 782-4264

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of San Bernardino County?

The economy of San Bernardino has received a boost since the legalization of cannabis in California. In 2018, the county recorded per capita sales of $4.97 across the second, third, and fourth quarters of that year. A total taxable sales of $10,724,961 also accrued to the county government in the same period.

Sales significantly increased in the following years, with San Bernardino County recording $17.38 in per capita sales and $37,657,078 in total taxable sales in 2019. In 2020, the county recorded $43.03 in per capita sales and $93,653,317 in total taxable sales. Between the first and third quarter of 2021, San Bernardino County recorded $42.31 in per capita sales and $92,106,220 in total taxable sales.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in San Bernardino County

According to an FBI crime report generated from the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department in 2018, there were a total of 868 DUI arrests in the county in that year and 50 arrests for marijuana possession. In 2018, San Bernardino County also recorded 37 arrests for marijuana sale offenses. In 2019, the county recorded 692 DUI arrests, 157 arrests for marijuana possession, and 23 arrests for marijuana sales. In 2020, the record was 367 DUI arrests, 39 marijuana possession arrests, and 17 marijuana sales arrests in San Bernardino County. Hence, there has been a significant decrease in DUI and marijuana sale arrest rates in the county since the legalization of recreational marijuana.

San Bernardino County Cannabis Overview