Stanislaus County Cannabis Overview

  1. California Cannabis
  2. Stanislaus County Cannabis

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Stanislaus County?

Yes. Stanislaus County permits approved cannabis cultivators to operate within the borders of its jurisdiction. Generally, cannabis cultivation is legal in California following the approval of Proposition 215, which legalized recreational cannabis in the state, and Proposition 64, which initially legalized medicinal cannabis in 1996.

Prior to operating a commercial cannabis cultivation in Stanislaus County, the establishment must obtain a Commercial Cannabis Activity (CCA) Permit. The CCA Permit is required to operate a cannabis cultivation facility in any of the unincorporated areas of Stanislaus County. The Permit must be obtained from the treasurer-tax collector, according to the Stanislaus County Code provisions.

Upon obtaining the CCA Permit, all permittees must comply with the state and county agricultural commissioner's requirement for unique identifiers and Track and Trace programs. Per Stanislaus County Code, permittees must document all pesticides used in cultivation for presentation to the county agricultural commissioner. The county code also requires fertilizers to be appropriately labeled and stored to avoid contamination through leakage, erosion, or accidental damage from wildlife, pests, or rodents.

Per county code, cannabis cultivators in Stanislaus County must not have their cannabis plants visible from offsite. No visual markers showing that cannabis is cultivated on the facility may be visible from offsite. Cannabis cultivation activities must be fully enclosed by an opaque fence of uniform material and at least seven feet high. In order to prevent unauthorized entry, Stanislaus County also requires that the fence be secured by a locked gate. The county must approve both the design and construction materials used.

Stanislaus County requires that for commercial cannabis cultivation conducted within a greenhouse, any additional lighting used must not exceed 25 watts per square foot to be used up to one hour before sunrise or beyond sunset. Exceptions may be granted for greenhouses or facilities equipped with light-blocking measures to ensure no light escapes.

Stanislaus County prohibits outdoor cannabis cultivation in unincorporated areas of the county. The county also divides its jurisdiction into various zoning districts and only permits natural light or mixed light cannabis cultivation in its A-2 zoning district within:

  • Greenhouses
  • Accessory storage buildings granted certificates of occupancy before October 1, 2017, which are determined by the county planning commission to fulfill the criteria required to be considered a greenhouse subject to a change of occupancy.

The total canopy size of cannabis cultivated at any cultivation facility in Stanislaus County must not exceed the canopy size under the state permit or the county CCA Permit, whichever is lower.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Stanislaus County?

Commercial cannabis manufacturing activities are legal in Stanislaus County as long as they are conducted according to applicable state and local regulations. Cannabis manufacturing facilities in Stanislaus County are required to meet the county Department of Environmental Resources requirements. Per county law, the Director of the County Environmental Resources Department or the Director's designee will determine if commercial cannabis products manufacturing operations require local oversight.

Before commencing operations, cannabis manufacturing establishments must obtain a Commercial Cannabis Activity (CCA) Permit. CCA Permittees operating commercial cannabis manufacturing businesses producing edibles or products in the form of food to be consumed must obtain and maintain the appropriate approvals from the State. Operational standards required of cannabis manufacturing facilities are contained in Section 6.78.120 of the Stanislaus County Code. In addition, the following specific safety measures must be in place for cannabis manufacturing activities in the unincorporated parts of Stanislaus County:

  • Any compressed gases used in manufacturing cannabis may not be kept on any property within the county in containers that amount permitted by the local fire authority and approved by the regulatory permit.
  • Commercial cannabis manufacturers may use hydrocarbons N-butane, propane, isobutane, heptane, or other gases or solvents with minimal potential human-related toxicity approved by the local fire authority. The solvents used are required to possess a minimum of 99% purity. Any extraction process must use the solvents in a professional-grade closed-loop extraction system created to recover the solvents and function in an environment with adequate ventilation.
  • For extraction processes using a professional-grade closed-loop carbon dioxide gas extraction system, every vessel is required to be certified by the manufacturer of the vessel for safe use. The carbon dioxide must be certified to have at least 99% purity.
  • Closed-loop systems for compressed gas extraction systems are required to bear a permanently affixed and visible serial number. These systems are also required to be commercially manufactured.
  • Certification from a California-licensed engineer must be provided to the local fire authority for a professional-grade closed-loop system used by the cannabis manufacturer attesting that the system was commercially manufactured, safe for the proposed use, and was built to codes of recognized and widely recognized engineering practices, such as:
  • Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
  • American National Standards Institutes (ANSI)
  • The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
  • Cannabis manufacturing facilities may use food-grade ethanol, glycerin, and propylene glycol solvents to create or refine extracts. In refining extracts, ethanol must be removed in a way to recapture the solvent and safeguard that it is not released into the atmosphere.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Stanislaus County?

Yes. Commercial cannabis retailers can operate in the unincorporated parts of Stanislaus County provided they operate according to the state and county regulations and have obtained Commercial Cannabis Activity (CCA) Permits from the treasurer-tax collector in the county. Stanislaus County requires storefront retailers and non-storefront retailers to maintain physical locations within the county. Licensed retailers in Stanislaus County may only operate between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time according to Section 6.78.070 of the Stanislaus County Code.

Stanislaus County requires licensed retailers to ensure that all cannabis and cannabis products held for sale by the retailers are grown, manufactured, transported, distributed, and tested by state-licensed facilities in full compliance with state and local regulations. Retailers may not provide free samples of any type to any persons nor allow any person to provide free samples on their premises.

Stanislaus county requires M-type retailers to verify each customer's age and all necessary documentation to prove that the consumer is not under the age of 18 and possesses a valid doctor's recommendation. A-type retailers are only required to ensure that customers below 21 are not allowed on premises.

Entrances to retailer premises are to be always locked with entry strictly controlled. An electronic or mechanical entry system must be used to limit access to and entry to the retailer to demarcate it from the lobby or reception area.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Stanislaus County?

Yes, cannabis delivery is legal in Stanislaus County and must be conducted in compliance with Section 26090 of the California Business and Professions Code or as may be amended periodically. Stanislaus County cannabis delivery establishments are only permitted to deliver to customers within a jurisdiction that does not expressly prohibit delivery within their borders.

Also, cannabis delivery establishments must obtain Commercial Cannabis Activity (CCA) Permits and have deliveries conducted by employees above the age of 21. All cannabis deliveries in Stanislaus County must be conducted physically to the address of the customer indicated on the delivery request. The county does not permit deliveries by drop-off or to any individual or person other than the requesting customer. Cannabis and cannabis products intended for delivery must be pre-packaged for sale and put in opaque packages before delivery. The county requires only the product to be delivered to be maintained in the delivery vehicle.

In Stanislaus County, cannabis and cannabis products meant for delivery must be held in a separately locked and secured area in the delivery vehicle always. The CCA permittee must electronically monitor the location of each delivery vehicle and must be able to identify the location of the vehicle within 50 feet of its actual location.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Stanislaus County

The Stanislaus County Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) was established by SB 420, permitting eligible patients and their designated caregivers to apply for and obtain identification cards. The MMIC protects the holder against wrongful arrest and prosecution for possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes in the State of California.

To qualify for an MMIC in Stanislaus County, the patient must provide the following:

  • Written documentation from the licensed physician certifying that the use of medical marijuana is required
  • Proof of residency. A valid state motor vehicle registration, current rent or mortgage receipt, or utility bill in the patient's name bearing the current address in the county is acceptable.
  • A government-issued photo identification, such as a current and valid state driver's license or ID card issued by the DMV bearing the patient's name and current address
  • Proof of Medi-Cal eligibility, if applicable. The proof must be submitted in person at the time of appointment.

The eligibility requirement for caregivers to obtain MMICs include that they:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a responsibility for the health, housing, or safety of the patient
  • Accompany the patient at the time of application.

An MMIC applicant must schedule an appointment with the Public Health Department by calling (209) 558-7191 to complete an application. The Department does not accept walk-in clients. The Department also requires applicants to complete their applications prior to appointments. You may download application documents from the county health department website.

Note that the applicant will be required to pay a non-refundable processing fee. The fee must be made payable to the Stanislaus County Public Health Department for each MMIC issued. The county gives a 50% discount for Medi-Cal beneficiaries and their caregivers. Payments can be made using money orders, cash, debit cards, Visa, and MasterCard only. Call the Department for the current price for the processing fee before scheduling an application appointment.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Stanislaus County?

The economy of Stanislaus County has been positively impacted since the legalization of cannabis in California. Following the approval of adult-use marijuana in early 2018, the county recorded per capita sales of $95.04 across the second, third, and fourth quarters of that year. A total taxable sale of $52,308,124 also accrued to the county government in the same period.

Sales significantly increased in the following years, with Stanislaus County recording a total of $161.99 in per capita sales and $89,613,479 in total taxable sales in 2019. In 2020, the county recorded $273.08 in per capita sales and $151,549,631 in total taxable sales. Between the first and third quarter of 2021, Stanislaus County recorded $229.54 in per capita sales and $127,623,212 in total taxable sales.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Stanislaus County

According to FBI crime data generated from incident reports from the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, the county recorded 12 DUI arrests, 4 marijuana possession arrests, and 7 arrests for marijuana sale offenses in 2018. In 2019, there were 13 DUI arrests, 20 arrests for wrongful marijuana possession, and 2 arrests for marijuana sales. In 2020, Stanislaus County recorded 6 DUI arrests, 46 arrests for marijuana possession offenses, and 7 arrests for marijuana sales. Hence, the legalization of cannabis cannot be said to have positively reduced crime rates in Stanislaus County.

Stanislaus County Cannabis Overview