Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Trinity County?
Yes. Cannabis cultivation is legal in Trinity County pursuant to all relevant state and local regulations and codes. Commercial cannabis cultivation in the county must meet the following conditions:
- The cultivation area must not be located within 1,000 feet of a school, church, youth-oriented facility, or any residential treatment facility as defined in county Ordinance No. 315-823, or within the distance established by California from an authorized school bus stop.
- Cannabis cultivation is prohibited without a permitted legal or housing structure or an active building permit.
- Cannabis cultivation is not allowed within the Trinity County jurisdiction of the Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area and within the lease lots in the Ruth Lake Community Services District.
- Cannabis cultivation is prohibited within R1, R2, R3, or TP (Timber Production) Zones.
- Cannabis cultivation is not permitted within the legal boundaries of the Weaverville Community Services District, Coffee Creek Volunteer Fire District, Trinity Center Community Services District, Bucktail Subdivision, and the Lewiston Community Services District: Mt. Diablo Meridian, Township 33N, Range 8W, Sections 17, 18, 19, 20, and Mt. Diablo Meridian, Township 33N, Range 9W, Section 24, 13.
- For specialty cottages, specialty and small licenses cultivation are not permitted within 300 feet of residential dwellings on any adjoining parcels. For medium licenses, cannabis cultivation may not be conducted within 500 feet of any adjacent property line.
Outdoor cannabis cultivation is legal in Trinity County. However, commercial cannabis cultivation must fulfill specific performance standards stated in Sections 17.43G.030 and 17.43G.040 of the county code. For instance, it is unlawful for anyone to use any parcel owned, leased, occupied in an unincorporated part of Trinity County for either outdoor or indoor cultivation in excess of the limitations imposed by the AUMA and Zoning Ordinance No 315-797.
Commercial cannabis cultivation may not exceed the noise level standards outlined in the county general plan. Cannabis cultivation may not result in erosion or contaminated runoff into any stream, creek, river, or body of water. Cannabis grown outdoors must be contained within wildlife exclusionary fencing that wholly encloses the designated area. Other requirements include that:
- Rodenticides requiring California Limited Materials permits are not permitted in cannabis cultivation.
- All lighting connected with the activity must be downcast, protected, and screened to prevent light from escaping or entering the sky.
- For mixed-light cultivations, those commercial cannabis cultivators using artificial lighting must protect greenhouses such that little to no light escapes. Between sunset and sunrise, no light must escape at a level observable from adjoining homes.
- Cannabis production must conform with CalFire and CDFW standards and any other resource agency with authority, including, but not limited to, clearance of land, stream crossings, water diversions, and riparian buffer zones.
Under Section 17.42 of the Trinity County Cannabis Code, medical cannabis cultivation is legal in the county. Note that Trinity County only considers cannabis activities conducted for personal use if they are conducted to provide for the medical needs of qualified patients living on the parcel where cultivation occurs. Trinity County makes a provision for when up to no more than one qualified patient lives off the parcel. In such a situation, the following conditions must be met:
- The cannabis activities are carried out only on a legal parcel of land on which a single-family residence is situated.
- The activities are only carried out by qualified patients or qualified caregivers.
- If the person carrying out the operations is not the legal owner of the parcel, the person must maintain a notarized letter from the legal owner(s) agreeing to the growing, harvesting, processing, drying, or assembly of marijuana on the parcel.
- Each building or outdoor area where marijuana is cultivated, harvested, processed, dried, or assembled must be set back from the property boundaries as far as possible from neighboring residences, but at a minimum under the applicable zoning regulations, including setback limitations, for the district in which the property is located.
- Marijuana that is being cultivated, harvested, processed, dried, or assembled must be kept out of sight of the public and must not be seen from the outside of the parcel. All marijuana cultivated outdoors must be kept within a wholly enclosed opaque fence at least six feet high. The fence may not be built or covered with plastic or fabric, except for shade cloth on the inside of the fence. Vegetative fences do not qualify as adequate fences under this clause. To prevent unlawful entrance, the fence must be well secured. To forestall theft occurrences, all processed marijuana must be locked away securely.
- Marijuana may not be cultivated, harvested, processed, dried, or assembled outdoors within 1,000 feet of any school, recreation center, youth center, church, library, child-care facility, drug rehabilitation center, other public gathering location, or within 500 feet of any school bus stop.
- All cultivation, harvesting, processing, drying, or assembly of marijuana must adhere to all relevant building, zoning, and environmental laws outlined in this section, as well as all other requirements of the county code and state law.
- The power supply for the activities must meet all applicable building and fire code requirements and permitting conditions. The fuel-storage facility must be evaluated and authorized by the competent authorities if a generator is employed. If public utilities are available, the location must be connected to them. Generator noise effects must be confined to between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
- The use of butane to improve or contribute to the processing of marijuana is prohibited.
Section 17.42.070 of the Trinity County Cannabis Code stipulates the maximum number of marijuana plants for medical cannabis cultivation. The marijuana cultivated on any parcel may not exceed the following number of plants or square footage:
- Parcels of 1 acre or less: 2 marijuana plants or 50 square feet
- Parcels of between 1 and 2.5 acres: 4 marijuana plants or 100 square feet
- Parcels of between 2.5 and 5 acres: 6 marijuana plants or 200 square feet
- Parcels of between 5 and 10 acres: 6 marijuana plants and 300 square feet
- Parcels of 10 acres or more: 8 marijuana plants or 400 square feet
Per Section 17.42.080, individual properties may also cultivate additional marijuana plants as long as they are immature. An immature marijuana plant contains no flowering part and has not revealed its sex. When coupled with the number of mature plants, the number of immature plants that may be cultivated must not exceed twice the number of plants authorized for each size category specified above.
Indoor cultivation of mature marijuana plants is restricted to the same maximum size limits as stated in Section 17.42.070 of the county code. Only in an authorized accessory structure suited for that use, as determined by current California Building and Fire Code regulations, may such cultivation take place.
Odor-related requirements and other provisions for medical cannabis cultivation in Trinity County are contained in Sections 17.42.100 and 17.42.110 of the Trinity County Cannabis Code.
Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Trinity County?
Yes. Cannabis manufacturing is legal in Trinity County per Section 17.43F of the county code, provided the facility complies with all state and county requirements for cannabis manufacturing. These requirements include regulations on product safety, edible standards, THC levels, timelines, packaging, and labeling standards.
The following types of cannabis manufacturing licenses are allowed in Trinity County:
- Type 6 nonvolatile license - For extractions using nonvolatile solvents or mechanical methods
- Type 7 volatile license - For extractions using volatile substances
- Type N - For infusions, including using pre-extracted oils to create edibles, beverages, capsules, water cartridges, tinctures, or topicals
- Type P - For cannabis product packaging and labeling only
- Type S - For conducting manufacturing operations at registered shared-use facilities
- Share use facility license - For operating a shared-use facility.
Cannabis manufacturing facilities in Trinity County may not be located within 1,000 feet of a school, church, youth-oriented facility, or residential treatment facility. These facilities may also not be located within 500 feet from any authorized school bus stop, except where a variance is obtained from the relevant authorities. Cannabis manufacturing facilities may only be located in the zones for which it is permitted but not on prime agricultural soil. Permitted zoning districts and other regulations for cannabis manufacturing in Trinity County may be found under Section 17.43F of the county code.
Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Trinity County?
No. Per Section 17.41.010 of the Trinity County Code, the construction, establishment, or operation of marijuana dispensaries are prohibited in the county's retail commercial, general commercial, highway commercial, heavy commercial, and industrial zones. No person is permitted to maintain or operate a marijuana dispensary in Trinity County. However, non-storefront retail services are permitted in Trinity County.
Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Trinity County?
Yes. Under Section 17.43D.020 of the county code, cannabis non-storefront retails are permitted and may obtain adult-use cannabis retail or medicinal cannabis retail licenses. Trinity County requires that cannabis non-storefront retail complies with the following:
- Sales and delivery must take place between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
- Before leaving the premises, all cannabis products must be packed in opaque exit packaging.
- Only staff of the retailer may make deliveries.
- Deliveries must be made to a private address and cannot be delivered to a post office box. The consumer's private habitation must be an off-site residence of the non-storefront retail licensee's location. Trinity County defines private habitation as a house, an apartment unit, a mobile home, or other similar housing.
- At any moment, delivery trucks may not hold more than the amounts permitted by the State Code of Cannabis Goods.
- At all times, the licensee must be able to locate all delivery trucks.
- Non-storefront retail licensees are not permitted to package or label cannabis products.
- Cannabis non-storefront retailers must be closed to the public. Orders for cannabis products must be placed by facsimile, phone, mail, or internet.
- Non-storefront retail premises are only permitted in zones where cultivation licenses are allowed. These premises may not be located on prime agricultural soil.
- Cannabis non-storefront retail premises in Trinity County may not be located within 1,000 feet of a school, church, youth-oriented facility, or residential treatment facility. These facilities may also not be located within 500 feet from any authorized school bus stop, except where a variance is obtained from the relevant authorities.
How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Trinity County
A Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) identifies the bearer as an individual protected under Proposition 215. The card confirms that the cardholder is legally permitted to possess limited quantities of medicinal marijuana under specific circumstances. If you have a chronic illness or suffer from a qualifying medical condition that allows you to use medical marijuana for treatment, you may be eligible for a Medical Marijuana Identification Card.
To apply for a Medicinal Marijuana Identification Card in Trinity County, you must provide written documentation from a qualified physician stating that medical marijuana is required to treat your medical condition, proof of residency, a government-issued picture ID, and a nonrefundable application fee. To complete an application, the following items are required in the application:
- A completed MMICP application
- A Recommendation Letter was signed and dated by the attending physician within the previous 12 months.
- A copy of a government-issued photo ID
- Proof of Trinity County residence with a clearly stated Trinity County address. The following proofs are accepted:
- A current DMV registration in the name of the applicant
- A recent rent or mortgage receipt or current utility bill in the name of the applicant
- A California driver's license or ID card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicle. If the address listed is not current, the applicant may submit a DMV-issued Change of Address Certification Card (DL 43) detailing the applicant's current address.
- Medi-Cal or CMSP (County Medical Services Program) card, if applicable.
- Application fee. Contact the Trinity County Department of Health and Human Services for the current application fee. The maximum fee a California resident may be charged for an MMIC is $100. Medi-Cal beneficiaries and their caregivers at the time of application are eligible for a 50% reduction in the application fee. Application fees are nonrefundable. Application fees are also usually waived for applicants with active CMSP cards at the time of application.
After submitting the MMIC application, the County Health and Human Services agency will verify the physician's license with the State Medical Board or Osteopathic Medical Board and the physician's recommendation. Typically, MMICs are available to patients or caregivers approximately 2-3 weeks after the interview or appointment at the County Health and Human Services Agency. For further inquiries about the MMIC or scheduling an appointment, contact:
Department of Health and Human Services
1 Industrial Parkway
Weaverville, CA 96093
Phone: (530) 623-8209
How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Trinity County?
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) maintains a record of cannabis sales revenue for nearly all counties in the state. However, the CDTFA portal only contains records for the fourth quarter of 2019 and the third and fourth quarters of 2020. According to figures obtained from the portal, Trinity County generated $6.67 in per capita sales and $91,071 in total taxable sales in the fourth quarter of 2019. In the third quarter of 2020, the county generated $9.78 in per capita sales and $132,595 in total taxable sales. In the fourth quarter of 2020, the county generated $18.47 in per capita sales and $250,369 in total taxable sales.
The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Trinity County
Trinity County has witnessed a steadily declining crime rate for marijuana-related offenses since the sales of recreational cannabis began. In 2018, Trinity County recorded 88 arrests for DUI offenses, 5 arrests for marijuana possession, and only 23 arrests for marijuana sales. In 2019, the record was 72 arrests for DUI offenses, 14 arrests for marijuana possession, and 23 arrests for marijuana sales. In 2020, the county recorded 63 DUI arrests, 3 marijuana possession arrests, and 29 marijuana sale arrests.
Note that in the years preceding adult-use cannabis sales, the record was 107 DUI arrests, no marijuana possession arrests, and 20 marijuana sales arrests in 2017. In 2016, Trinity County recorded 158 DUI arrests, 7 marijuana possession arrests, and 81 marijuana sales arrests. In 2015, the record was 122 DUI arrests, 2 arrests for marijuana possession, and 88 arrests for marijuana sales.