Sutter County Cannabis Overview

  1. California Cannabis
  2. Sutter County Cannabis

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Sutter County?

Outdoor cultivation of marijuana in any quantity or amount is unlawful and deemed a public nuisance that may be abated in compliance with the provisions of the Sutter County Ordinance 1618. Also, the cultivation of marijuana in any quantity or amount on any premises located within 1,000 feet of any church, park, school, evacuation site, child care center, or youth-oriented facility is unlawful in Sutter County. Marijuana cultivation in the following locations is illegal and may also be abated:

  • Cultivation within a residence or a structure intended or used for human occupancy.
  • Any premises except those containing permitted residential uses and are occupied full-time by at least one qualified patient or primary caregiver. Sutter County defines permitted residential use to mean actual residential use of the premises conducted in a residential structure or manufactured home for which a final certificate of occupancy has been issued in accordance with Sutter County Ordinance Code Chapter 1300.

For marijuana cultivation to be legal in Sutter County, the following conditions are required to be satisfied:

  • Marijuana cultivation must be conducted in a cumulative area no larger than 80 square feet irrespective of the number of primary caregivers or qualified patients living at the premises or engaging directly or indirectly in cultivation.
  • Marijuana cultivation must be carried out in a detached wholly enclosed secure accessory structure complying with the following regulations:
  • The structure must be a building totally detached from any residence or structure used or intended for human occupancy. The structure must have a roof enclosure supported by connecting walls extending from the ground to the roof, a foundation, or a slab to which the floor is secured by bolt or similar attachments. The structure must be secure to forestall unauthorized entry and accessible only through one or more lockable doors. Roofs and walls must be constructed of solid materials. Exterior walls are required to be constructed with non-transparent materials.
  • Any structure, regardless of square footage, altered, constructed, or used for the cultivation of marijuana must obtain a building permit from the Development Services Department. Any conversion of an existing accessory structure, or portion thereof, for marijuana cultivation, will be subject to permit requirement from the Development Services Department for compliance with Ordinance 1618. Cultivation within any structure may not begin without the final approval of the Development Services Department.
  • The maximum electrical panel for the structure must be 60 amps. The use of generators to supply electrical power to any activity or system associated with marijuana cultivation is prohibited except for temporary use in case of emergency power loss
  • Light systems used in connection with cultivation may not exceed 1200 watts per fixture, comply with relevant provisions of Chapter 1300 of the county ordinance, be shielded, including adequate coverings on windows to confine glare and light to the structure's interior.
  • Marijuana cultivation may also occur in a prefabricated greenhouse structure constructed for agricultural or nursery purposes, which does not include any service systems but has a floor area that exceeds 80 square feet. The structure must be located within an area wholly enclosed by an opaque fence that is at least 6 feet in height.
  • Any structure wherein marijuana cultivation occurs must comply with setback requirements outlined in the Sutter County Zoning Code.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Sutter County?

According to the Sutter County Code, the county prohibits the manufacturing of medicinal and recreational cannabis in all zoning districts and all the unincorporated territories of the county. All commercial cannabis manufacturing activities are banned and considered a public nuisance.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Sutter County?

Per Section 1500-8033 of the Sutter County Code, no zoning designation in the county allows for the operation or establishment of a medical marijuana dispensary. Hence, Sutter County bans retail cannabis activities in all zoning districts and all of the county's unincorporated territory. Persons looking to buy cannabis may buy from commercial retail dispensaries outside the county. Cannabis dispensaries are not permitted in Sutter County.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Sutter County?

Sutter County prohibits cannabis delivery in all zoning districts and all unincorporated parts of the county. However, with Proposition 64 permitting cities and municipalities to enact their own laws, some Sutter County cities may allow cannabis dispensaries to operate within their jurisdictions.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Sutter County

Currently, Sutter County is the only county in California that does not issue medical marijuana identification cards (MMICs) to qualified patients. The MMIC is established under the California Medical Marijuana Program and is available to patients suffering from one or more California-approved medical conditions and their caregivers. It enables qualified patients to legally purchase cannabis-based THC and CBD products for treatment from state-licensed dispensaries.

For more inquiries about medical marijuana identification cards in Sutter County, contact:

Health and Human Services

1445 Veterans Memorial Circle

Yuba City, CA 95993

Phone: (530) 822-7215

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Sutter County?

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) maintains a record of sales income from the cannabis sector for all counties in the state. However, no record for Sutter County could be found on the CDTFA website. Sutter County's restrictions on cannabis activities have meant that cannabis legalization in California has had minimal impact on the county's economy.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Sutter County

In 2018, when California approved the sale of recreational cannabis, Sutter County recorded 137 DUI arrests, 1 arrest for marijuana possession, and 4 arrests for marijuana sales. In 2019, the county recorded 66 DUI arrests, 1 arrest for marijuana possession, and no arrests for marijuana sales. Sutter County recorded 44 DUI arrests, 3 marijuana possession and no marijuana sales arrests in 2020.

Note that in the years immediately preceding recreational marijuana sales, the county recorded 240 DUI arrests in 2015, 197 DUI arrests in 2016, and 151 DUI arrests in 2017. Hence, the legalization and sales of recreational cannabis in California seem to have positively impacted marijuana-related crime rates in Sutter County due to the decline in DUI arrest figures.

Sutter County Cannabis Overview