Out of Date Information: County Policies

Guidelines Adopted in Various Counties

The information on this page is not likely to be current and some is definitely out-of-date, due to all the changes that have occurred in the past few years. This page is stored as an archive of policies circa late 2011.

For information about current policies, please visit California Norml’s website.

Notice: These guidelines are subject to change at any time. This site is updated by volunteers and may not be fully current. You should conduct further research and perhaps contact an attorney before taking any actions exceeding the statewide safe harbor.

California Health and Safety Code 11362.77.(a) created the statewide safe harbor quantities of 6 mature or 12 immature plants and 8 ounces of dry, processed bud or conversion per patient. These quantities were rejected as limits on a defense but affirmed as creating a safe harbor of qualified immunity from arrest and prosecution by the California State Supreme Court’s People v Kelly decision. Chris Conrad testified as expert witness in that landmark case.

Alameda County: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Alpine Co.: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Amador Co.: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Butte Co. Sheriff and DA jointly stipulate: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants and one pound of processed. (Formerly 6 plants at any stage). Butte County DA and Sheriff’s Policy. The official webpage notes that they consider a plant to be mature “when the sex of the plant is apparent.” Likewise it advises getting the doctor to specify the amount of marijuana he considers in line with your medical use, but adds that the doctor’s “number of plants is not a recognized recommendation.” These have no botanical or legal basis, but should be taken as a warning to patients.

Calaveras Co. Board of Supervisors ordinance: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud.

Formerly: Two pounds, dropped by Supervisors’ vote 3/27/06.

Colusa Co. 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud OR No firm policy on quantity; case by case review up to 1.5 pounds processed.

Formerly: Two plants outdoors or 4 plants indoors.

Contra Costa: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Del Norte Co. Current status remains unclear, may default to 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud. A move to throw out the original guidelines (below) was put into limbo and the amended county code left hanging when the People v Kelly ruling went into effect, so SAN is advising everyone to follow the statewide minimum guidelines for maximum safety.

Originally: County Resolution 2002-029, adopted April 2002 allowed up to 100 square feet with no more than 99 plants and up to one pound dried bud.

El Dorado: Outdoors: 20 plants March 1 through July 31; 10 plants through October (end of season) and 2 # bud from 9/1 to 2/28; 1 # from 3/1 to 8/31. Indoors: 10 vegetative plants, 1 mother plant, 10 flowering plants and1 # bud per patient. Formerly 6 plants and / or 2 pounds processed. Caregivers can take care of household plus three outside patients. Also see the DA policy here El Dorado County DA Policy

Fresno: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Glenn: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Humboldt: County Board of Supervisors policy as a PDF file (220k) approved taskforce proposal of three pounds of bud or conversion plus 100 square feet of garden canopy, no limit on plant numbers or lamp wattage. Caregiver amounts calculated per patient served.

Original DA policy: Up to 99 plants with up to 100 square feet of canopy and up to 3# of bud. Indoor gardens limited to 1500 watts total illumination.

Download the current County policies from the Supervisors’ website.

Imperial: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Inyo: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Kern: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud.

King: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Lake: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Lassen: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Los Angeles: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Madera: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Marin: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud, county ID cards honored by all law enforcement.

Formerly: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud (lowest in the state and apparent basis for HS11362.77).

Mariposa: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Mendocino: Recently- elected DA David Eyster (2010) has not yet promulgated any new enforcement policies but has been reviewing all cases filed by the former DA. In 2008, County voters passed Measure ‘B’ to revert to the statewide minimum guidelines of 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud. For more information, click here for analysis.

Originally: Sheriff and DA policy based on Voter Proposition G: 25 plants with up to 100 square feet of canopy and two pounds of processed bud. In August, 2004, the DA announced that the county would no longer enforce plant limits, only square footage.

Merced: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Modoc: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Mono: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Monterey: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Napa: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Nevada Co.: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants any size, or in the alternative, 75 square feet of total canopy area AND up to 2# bud. Collectives to keep copies of all patient’s recommendations available for inspection. Download the Nevada County Policy (404k PDF) or read info for patients online at this site: co.nevada.ca.us/dsweb/Get/Document-434511

Orange: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Placer: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Plumas: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Riverside: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Sacramento: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

San Benito: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

San Bernardino: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

San Diego: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

San Francisco: Municipal Code §3302 adopted in 2005 set the immunity threshold per patient at 8 oz plus 24 plants, with a 25 sq. ft. canopy, and 99 plants per collective. §3302.a “A qualified patient, person with a valid identification card, or primary caregiver may possess no more than eight ounces of dried cannabis per qualified patient. In addition, a qualified patient, person with a valid identification card, or primary caregiver may also maintain no more than twenty-four (24) cannabis plants par qualified patient or up to 25 square feet of total garden canopy measured by the combined vegetative growth area.” Click here to download in PDF format.

San Joaquin: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

San Luis Obispo: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

San Mateo: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud.

San Mateo County also has County Business Code Chapter 5.148 guidelines for collectives, defined as: “Medical marijuana collective” or “collective” means a facility or location at which qualified patients, persons with identification cards, and the designated primary caregivers of qualified patients and persons with identification cards, associate within the unincorporated area of the County of San Mateo in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate and/or store marijuana for medical purposes, as provided in Health & Safety Code section 11362.775.” This chapter does not apply to individual cultivation of marijuana for consumption or use of an individual at his or her residence, or for consumption by another individual or individuals regularly residing at said residence, if such consumption is otherwise permitted by state law.

Santa Barbara: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Santa Clara: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Santa Cruz: Board of Supervisors PDF file (188k) approved physician’s taskforce proposal of three pounds of bud or conversion plus 100 square feet of garden canopy, no limit on plant numbers or lamp wattage.

Shasta: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud OR 1.33# processed. Formerly: Sheriff, DA and local police chiefs: 2 plants outdoors or 6 plants indoors (3 flowering/3 vegetative)

Sierra: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud OR quantity approved by physician Formerly: 3 plants outdoors OR 6 plants indoors .

Siskiyou: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Solano: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Sonoma: County policy: Up to 30 (formerly 99) plants with up to 100 square feet of garden canopy and up to 3# of bud.

Implementation guidelines were adopted by the Sonoma County Law Enforcement Chiefs Association, which includes the DA, Sheriff, and police chiefs from several towns and cities in the county. The guidelines were later ratified by the Santa Rosa and Sebastopol city councils. Protocol to review recommendations through Sonoma Medial Association. Caregiver amounts calculated per patient served. Physician’s approval if more is needed. Document included law enforcement investigation procedures. For more information contact Sonoma Alliance for Medical Marijuana.

A. Possession. A qualified patient, or a person holding a valid identification card, or the designated primary caregiver of that qualified patient or person, may possess amounts of marijuana of up to three (3) pounds of dried cannabis or conversion per year.

B. Cultivation. A qualified patient or a person holding a valid identification card or a designated primary caregiver, or primary caregivers or qualified patients whom associate collectively or cooperatively, may also cultivate cannabis in an amount not to exceed more than one-hundred (100) square feet total garden canopy, per qualified patient, as measured by the combined vegetative growth area.

C. Plants. A qualified patient or a person holding a valid identification card or a designated primary caregiver, or primary caregivers or qualified patients whom associate collectively or cooperatively, may cultivate cannabis in an amount not to exceed more than thirty (30) plants per qualified patient. The authorized thirty (30) plants must be grown within the one-hundred (100) square foot total garden canopy per qualified patient.

Stanislaus: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Sutter: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Tehama: The County Board of Supervisors adopted Resolution No. 98-2005 that reiterates the statewide immunity threshold of 12 seedlings or 6 flowering or mature plants and 8 ounces dried marijuana on Sept. 27, 2005. If the above quantities are not exceeded, the documented medicinal marijuana cultivator and possessor is in compliance with the standards set forth by this (sheriff’s) agency and the investigation will not be submitted for prosecution. Click here for PDF of full policy. Click here for forms posted on the County website.

Original Sheriff’s policy: 18 immature plants OR 6 mature plants, and up to 3 pounds processed.

Trinity: On 6/12/08 the board of Supervisors voted to revert to the state minimum threshold of 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud.

Originally, on 9/4/07 the Trinity County Board of Supervisors had adopted a more reasonable policy allowing for possession of 3 pounds of dried, processed marijuana and cultivation of 12 mature and/or 24 immature plants. That policy is no longer in effect.

Tulare: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Tuolumne: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud.

Originally: Not more than  three plants and 8 ounces: the Tuolumne County limits were the ones that were rejected by the California Supreme Court in the Mower decision. Chris Conrad testified as expert witness in that landmark case.

Ventura: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud. County Supervisors reverted to statewide threshold.

Originally: Sheriff and DA policy of 6 plants with 3 mature, 3 immature and 1 pound dry bud or conversion

Yolo: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud

Yuba: 6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud.

Informal policy: up to 1.5# processed marijuana.

Originally: 5 plants.

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  6. Jared says:

    Question: “6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud”

    Does this mean 6 plants or the other two, or does it mean you can have 8 ounces of bud no matter how much bud,

    6 mature plants OR, 12 immature plants AND 8 ounces of bud
    6 mature plants OR 12 immature plants, AND 8 ounces of bud

    As you see, the placement of the comma changes the sentence. I’m just reading this like a lawyer would. Thanks.

    • san_admin says:

      There is no comma.

      11362.77. (a) A qualified patient or primary caregiver may possess no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana per qualified patient. In addition, a qualified patient or primary caregiver may also maintain no more than six mature or 12 immature marijuana plants per qualified patient.

      You can have 8 ounces of bud no matter what, but only 6 mature OR 12 immature plants to be within the statewide safe harbor. If you have a legal problem anyway, you can argue to defend any “reasonable” amount. If your doctor notes on your recommendation that you can have 99 plants the yield still has to be “reasonable.” So you can fight it, but you may not always win. Good luck.

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