What Kind of Cannabis Activities are Allowed Under the County Ordinance?

Cannabis cultivation and commercial cannabis activities are, with certain exceptions, banned in Calaveras County.

1. Personal cultivation - The County allows up to six plants to be grown per household (not per person) without submitting an application or receiving a permit from the County.

  • The six plant limit applies regardless of whether the cannabis is for medical or non-medical use.
  • The six plant limit also applies regardless of the size or maturity of the plants. In other words, you cannot have six large plants and additional seedlings; the total amount allowed is six plants.
  • Personal cultivation is not allowed within 75 feet of your neighbor’s property line.
  • No cultivation is allowed in the common areas of a multi-family dwelling, residential development, mobile home park, or similar residential arrangement.

(See §17.95.050.C for more information on “non-commercial cultivation.”)

2. Commercial Cultivation - The new ordinance allows certain eligible individuals or business entities to apply for the privilege to cultivate commercially on parcels of 20 acres or more zoned U, RA, A1, AP and GF. It also allows for consideration of a conditional use permit for cultivation on parcels between 10 and 20 acres in the same zones. Indoor cultivation is also permitted in the industrial zones of M1, M2 and M4. Limited indoor cultivation is also permitted in the CP zone as a part of a cannabis retailer operation, and permitted cultivators with self-distribution licenses will be allowed to transport their own cannabis in accordance with state law. Eligible applicants can apply for outdoor cultivation permits, indoor cultivation permits, mixed light cultivation permits, processor licenses, and nursery licenses. To find out if you are eligible to apply for a commercial cannabis permit see below.

(See §17.95.050.D of The County Code for more information)

3. Self-Distribution, Transport Only - Anyone who receives a permit for cultivation site, processing facility, or nursery is authorized by the County to apply for a Self-Distribution Transport Only license from the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

4. Cannabis Retail activities are governed by Chapter 17.91 of the County Code.

NOTE: No commercial cultivation activities are permitted until a permit has been VALIDATED by the County. A permit is not validated until the applicant has received both a state and local permit.

Am I Eligible to Apply to the Calaveras County Commercial Cannabis Program?

Eligibility requirements are specified in Chapter 17.95 of the County Code. You should carefully review the ordinance and, if necessary seek the advice of an attorney if you are going to apply for the program.

Pursuant to §17.95.050.D.1, In order to be able to apply, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. You registered with the Planning Department before June 30, 2016 under the urgency ordinance program; and
  2. You did not withdrawn the registration or have it denied; and
  3. You submitted an application for a temporary state license before June 7, 2018.
  4. You never had your state temporary license suspended or revoked by the CDFA.

However, if you cannot meet all four of the above requirements, you may be able to purchase or otherwise procure the right to apply from someone who does meet those requirements (see §17.95.050.D.15)

How do I Get Started with the Application Process?

The commercial cannabis application process is a two-step process. The first step is the pre-application phase. Once you have filled out and submitted your pre-application forms, staff will determine whether your business and your proposed cultivation premises are eligible for the program.

The pre-application forms, instructions, and required attachments are available for download here or by clicking the Application button on the Cannabis Control Website. Be sure to carefully review the pre-application instructions before completing the document and attachments.

NOTE: You do not need to fill out and submit the cash waiver form unless you are totally unable to pay your application fee with a check, money order, or cashier's check.

When can I Submit My Pre-application Documents?

The County will be accepting pre-applications beginning on December 23, 2019. NO FEES will be accepted with the pre-application forms.

Pre-applications and all other documents that you wish to submit to the Division of Cannabis Control can be submitted.

Pre-application documents will be processed in the order in which they are received. If you submit a complete set of pre-application documents, staff will contact you and make an appointment for you to come into the County offices and pay your application fee.

Can I Pay My Application Fee in Cash?

The Division of Cannabis Control has a non-cash policy. If you are totally unable to pay your application fee with a check, cashier’s check, or money order, then you can fill out a waiver form (downloadable from on the Division of Cannabis Control Website at “Registration Information/Applications” and select the DCC-1A Cash Policy Waiver document.

What Happens at My Appointment?

County staff will accept your $12,561.00 application fee and if you have met certain requirements, you will be issued a “letter of conditional authorization.”

The letter of conditional authorization will indicate that your application process is underway or “pending” and that you are in the process of complying with the requirements of Calaveras County’s ordinance.

If you then submit an application for a cultivation application with CalCannabis, the County will confirm that your local status is “pending” and the State will be able to process your application. 

(see §17.95.030.B for more information)

NOTE: The Issuance of a Letter of Conditional Authorization Does Not Authorize You to Engage in Commercial Cannabis Activities.

When can I Begin Cultivating?

No one is authorized to cultivate cannabis or engage in any other commercial cannabis activities until their permit has been validated by the Division of Cannabis Control.

Your permit will not be validated until you have satisfied all of the requirements of the County Code and the Division of Cannabis Control has received a copy of your Provisional License or Annual License from the CDFA.

Carefully review the application requirements, the permit requirements, validation requirements, and operating restrictions found in Chapter 17.95. (See in particular §§17.95.060, 17.95.070, 17.95.080, and 17.95.090.)

In addition to meeting all of the requirements in Chapter 17.95 you will have to undergo a site inspection and demonstrate compliance with all other applicable County Codes and State laws, including but not limited, to the Building Code, Fire Code, Public Resources Code §§4290 and 4291, and applicable provisions of the Health and Safety Code, Business and Professions Code, and Agricultural Code that are administered by the various County Departments.

County staff will assist you in complying with the many laws and regulations that you will have to comply with.

If I am Not Eligible, Can I Obtain Eligibility from a Person or Business that is Eligible?

Yes. Pursuant to §17.95.050.D.15, any individual or business entity that meets the requirements of §17.95.050.D.2-14 can obtain the right to apply to the County’s cannabis program from anyone who meets the requirements that are listed above (see also §17.95.050.D.1). 

BUYER BEWARE: If you are going to purchase the right to apply to the program you need to ensure that the person from whom you are receiving the right to apply meets the requirements of §17.95.050.D.1. You should seek the advice of an attorney throughout the process of purchasing or selling the right to apply to the County’s Commercial Cannabis program.

Where is the Division of Cannabis Control Office Located?

The Division of Cannabis Control is located in Building A at the Calaveras County Government Center. Due to limited staff, the Division of Cannabis Control is only open from 10AM-1PM Monday through Friday.

How Much are the Rim Fees?

No commercial cannabis permit can be issued until the applicant has paid RIM fees pursuant to Chapter 12.10 of the County Code (§17.95.070.d).

Road Impact Mitigation Fees (RIM) fees are fees that are paid by every business or development project to cover the costs of maintaining county roads. These fees have been established pursuant to a resolution of the Board of Supervisors and chapter 12.10 of the County Code.

The amount of RIM fees that you will be charged will depend on the number of employees that your commercial cannabis operation will have during peak levels of activity. Fees can range from $10,000 to more than $20,000 depending upon the number of workers who travel to your cultivation premises. 

RIM fees are a one-time fee that can be paid at the Department of Public Works counter, in Building D at the County Government Center located at 891 Mountain Ranch Road.

Can I Use Hoop Structures for My Cultivation Site?

Yes, you may use a hoop structure (hoop house) as a part of your cultivation site. Information regarding hoop structures can be found here.

How Can I Show That I’ve Remediated My Former Cultivation Site?

Pursuant to §17.95.070.H and §17.95.130, no permits can be issued until an applicant has demonstrated that their former cultivation site has been remediated.

Call (209) 754-6336 to arrange for the inspection of your former cultivation site. Once your inspection is complete, Code Compliance will notify the Division of Cannabis Control that you have either passed your inspection or if further remediation work is necessary.

How Much is the Application Fee?

The application fee is $12,561.

How Much is the Continuation Fee and When is it Due?

The continuation fee is $2,606 and is due 12 months after a permit is issued.