With a patchwork of marijuana laws spread throughout California, reporters from this news organization have been collecting policy information from cities and counties for months.
We wanted a way for individuals to be able to see the specific policies in the cities where they live, work and visit. And we wanted businesses to be able to see where they could open, how tax rates compare and more.
Readers can sort this local marijuana policy data alphabetically or by score (points) that show how lenient a city is (higher points) or how strict a city is with its marijuana regulations (low points). They can also filter searches by county or by which places allow which business types, from recreational sales to medical testing labs (more on those types below the database). And they can select certain cities for side-by-side comparisons of their policies.
And remember, each city’s regulations are likely to change over time as the state adapts to the new system. We will be updating this database as things change.
Here’s a look at what’s legal and what’s not when it comes to marijuana in California cities.
Glossary of terms
- Medical sales: Stores that can sell marijuana products to customers who have doctor’s recommendations
- Medical commercial grows: Cultivation facilities that grow cannabis for the medical market
- Medical testing: Labs that test medical marijuana products for purity and potency
- Medical distribution: Transports medical cannabis and cannabis products between licensees, such as from cultivators to retailers
- Medical manufacturing: Facilities that use raw cannabis to make medical marijuana products, such as edibles and concentrates
- Recreational sales: Stores that can sell marijuana products to anyone 21 and older with a valid ID
- Recreational commercial grows: Cultivation facilities that grow cannabis for the recreational market
- Recreational testing: Labs that test medical marijuana products for purity and potency
- Recreational distribution: Transports recreational cannabis and cannabis products between licensees, such as from cultivators to retailers
- Recreational manufacturing: Facilities that use raw cannabis to make recreational marijuana products, such as edibles and concentrates
About the database
Marijuana laws in California can vary widely from one city to the next, making it tough for residents to know where they can shop for legal cannabis, open a marijuana business or even what they can do in their own homes.
That’s because, while Californians have been free to carry up to an ounce of marijuana and consume it in private since Proposition 64 passed in November 2016, state law gives local governments full authority to regulate or ban most other marijuana activity in their borders.
We asked about local rules for all types of cannabis businesses, since cities (or counties, if the proposed address is in an unincorporated area) can choose to regulate these operations or ban them entirely.
We also asked cities and counties about regulations they’ve imposed on the right (per Prop. 64) of residents 21 and older to grow up to six marijuana plants per home out of public view, since local governments can ban outdoor gardens and add other “reasonable” regulations.
We then used this information to give cities and counties a score from zero to 100, with zero for cities that are as strict as they can be under state law and 100 for cities that are the most permissive. (Learn more about that methodology here.)
So far, for Southern California, this database includes all of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. And for Northern California, it includes Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
We’ll be adding to the database soon. And we’ll be updating it frequently, with cities and counties passing new cannabis regulations each week.
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