FAQs                                                                                                                                            

GENERAL INFORMATION

Q:
The State of California has legalized cannabis; why doesn’t that apply to Riverside County?
A:
On November 8, 2016, the California voters approve Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (“AUMA”), which legalized adult recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21.  Under State law, adults may now use, posses, process, transport or give away 28.5 grams of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.  The AUMA further allows adults to cultivate six (6) plants inside a private residence or within a locked area on the grounds of a private residence.  While the AUMA allows local governments to ‘reasonably regulate’ indoor cultivation, local governments cannot outright ban indoor cultivation of six plants within a private residence or a locked accessory structure. However, AUMA does recognize local control to regulate or prohibit all outdoor cultivation and all commercial marijuana activities, including dispensaries, manufacturers, testing laboratories, and delivery services, as well as any other marijuana businesses that may develop as a result of the new law.

On June 27, 2017 the Governor signed Bill 94, the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”).  The MAUCRSA combined the medical and adult-use regulatory schemes to create one single regulatory structure at the state level.  The MAUCRSA continues to recognize local control and the state cannot approve licenses for cannabis businesses and cannabis activities if the license would not be in compliance with the local government’s ordinances or regulations. The MAUCRSA also continues to recognize the ability of local governments to prohibit all outdoor cultivation and any other cannabis businesses and/or activities. But local governments must still allow the cultivation of six plants inside a private residence or inside a fully enclosed and secure accessory structure.

Currently cannabis businesses and cannabis activities are prohibited within the unincorporated areas of the County of Riverside. These prohibitions will remain in place until such time that the Board of Supervisors approves a regulatory scheme for cannabis businesses and cannabis activates.
     
Q:   When will cannabis businesses be legal within the unincorporated areas within Riverside County?
A:   Currently, cannabis business and cannabis activities are prohibited within the unincorporated areas of the County of Riverside. These prohibitions will remain in place until such time that the Board of Supervisors approves a regulatory scheme for cannabis businesses and cannabis activities.
     
Q:   Does Proposition 64 impact medical marijuana and change my ability to possess marijuana in any way?
A:   Currently the County prohibits all medical or adult-use cannabis businesses and cannabis activities in all zone classifications throughout the unincorporated area of the County and no permit of any type shall be issued for cannabis businesses or cannabis activities until the County adopts a comprehensive regulatory framework for medical and adult-use cannabis.  Section 3.4 of Ordinance No. 348 also allows limited personal cannabis cultivation otherwise allowed by the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) and the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (Senate Bill 94 (2017)). Finally, Section 3.4 of Ordinance No. 348 continues to recognize a limited exemption from enforcement for violations of the ordinance for cannabis cultivation for medical use in certain zone classifications in conjunction with a one-family dwelling if such cannabis cultivation complies with the conditions and standards set forth in Ordinance No. 925.
     
Q:   What are some of the policy issues being considered as the county works to develop cannabis regulations?
A:   The County Board of Supervisors adopted a motion on August 29, 2017, which identified several high-level policy objectives to guide the development of cannabis regulations. These include protecting public health, protecting public safety, protecting quality of life, promoting equity and protecting the environment. Some of the other guiding principles that the Board included are:

- Providing a regulatory path to daylight underground industry 
- Preventing access by youth
- Reducing the size of the illicit market by creating a legal path and providing clear criteria for responsible businesses who wish to operate within the law
- Developing a sensible system of regulation and taxation that supports enforcement and public interest
- Providing flexibility and authority for modification or adoption of additional measures to ensure effective implementation
- Considering a cap on and select distribution of cultivation permits
- Strict selection criteria for permit issuance
- Directing a portion of cannabis-derived revenues to agencies specifically for inspections of cannabis related businesses and to enforce the law against illegal growers, manufacturers, and retailers
- Creating a system to track illegal cannabis cultivators and dispensaries and establish a mechanism to prohibit issuance of permits to these unlicensed entities for an established amount of time, to the extent permissible under law

CANNABIS INDUSTRY

Q: How do I permit a cannabis business within an unincorporated area of the County of Riverside?
A: Currently, cannabis businesses are banned in all unincorporated areas of Riverside County. This includes cultivating, manufacturing, processing, storing, testing, labeling, distributing, delivering, or selling medical or adult-use cannabis and cannabis products. This ban will remain in place until the County adopts a comprehensive regulatory framework for cannabis businesses and cannabis activities.

Each of the County’s 28 incorporated cities will set its own rules for cannabis businesses. If you are located within an incorporated city, please contact that city to inquire about the city's regulations.

     
Q: I am interested in applying for a license once the County adopts regulations for cannabis businesses. What steps should I be taking now? Is there a wait list?
A: The County does not maintain a “waitlist” of parties interested in cannabis licensing, and no specific steps need to be taken at this time. The County recommends that prospective business operators sign up to receive email updates here.
       
Q: What types of permits will be required to operate a cannabis business in the County?
A: A number of County departments will be involved in permitting or licensing cannabis businesses, including Planning, County Counsel, Fire, Public Health, Building & Safety, and Treasurer and Tax Collector. However, the details on which permits will be required for each business type have yet to be determined.
       
Q: Will the State be licensing cannabis businesses, in addition to the County?
A: Yes. In addition to any licenses required by a local jurisdiction, cannabis businesses must obtain a state license prior to operating. More information on state licensing is available here.
   
Q:   I am located in a City. Will I need to obtain permits from both the City and County?
A:   No. The County will be responsible for permitting in the unincorporated areas only. The city in which you reside will develop its own regulations for cannabis businesses.

PERSONAL CULTIVATION

Q: Can adults grow their own cannabis? Is a permit required?
A: Under Proposition 64, adults age 21+ can grow a maximum of six cannabis plants per residence for personal, nonmedical use. Adults who grow cannabis for personal use are responsible for knowing and obeying all applicable state and local regulations.

WHAT’S LEGAL?

Q: What is Prop 64?
A:

On November 8, 2016, the California voters approve Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (“AUMA”), which legalized adult recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21.  Under State law, adults may now use, posses, process, transport or give away 28.5 grams of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.  The AUMA further allows adults to cultivate six (6) plants inside a private residence or within a locked area on the grounds of a private residence.  While the AUMA allows local governments to ‘reasonably regulate’ indoor cultivation, local governments cannot outright ban indoor cultivation of six plants within a private residence or a locked accessory structure. However, AUMA does recognize local control to regulate or prohibit all outdoor cultivation and all commercial marijuana activities, including dispensaries, manufacturers, testing laboratories, and delivery services, as well as any other marijuana businesses that may develop as a result of the new law.

On June 27, 2017 the Governor signed Bill 94, the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”).  The MAUCRSA combined the medical and adult-use regulatory schemes to create one single regulatory structure at the state level.  The MAUCRSA continues to recognize local control and the state cannot approve licenses for cannabis businesses and cannabis activities if the license would not be in compliance with the local government’s ordinances or regulations. The MAUCRSA also continues to recognize the ability of local governments to prohibit all outdoor cultivation and any other cannabis businesses and/or activities. But local governments must still allow the cultivation of six plants inside a private residence or inside a fully enclosed and secure accessory structure.
Q: When does Prop 64 become effective?
A: The voters approved Proposition 64 on November 8, 2016, and it became effective immediately. However, the state will not begin licensing commercial cannabis activities until January 1, 2018.  Note that the MAUCRSA continues to recognize local control and the state cannot approve licenses for cannabis businesses and cannabis activities if the license would not be in compliance with the local government’s ordinances or regulations. The MAUCRSA also continues to recognize the ability of local governments to prohibit all outdoor cultivation and any other cannabis businesses and/or activities. Local governments must still allow the cultivation of six plants inside a private residence or inside a fully enclosed and secure accessory structure.
Q: How much cannabis can a person possess?
A: Under Proposition 64, adults age 21+ can possess up to 28.5 grams of dried cannabis flower and up to eight grams of concentrated cannabis. However, the MAUCRSA continues to recognize local control and the state cannot approve licenses for cannabis businesses and cannabis activities if the license would not be in compliance with the local government’s ordinances or regulations.
Q: Can people smoke cannabis in public?
A: No. Prop 64 prohibits adults from smoking cannabis in any public place and where smoking tobacco is prohibited. If you are a renter, or you live in subsidized housing, then your lease or rental agreement may prohibit you from consuming cannabis in your unit. Additionally, Ordinance No. 866 prohibits smoking cannabis in County owned, leased, or operated property.
     
Q:   What about driving under the influence of cannabis?
A:   Prop 64 does not change existing laws making it illegal to drive while under the influence of cannabis.
     
Q:   How can I report cannabis businesses operating illegally in the unincorporated areas?
A:   All cannabis business and cannabis activities are currently prohibited within the unincorporated areas of the County of Riverside. To report an unpermitted business or activity, please contact the Riverside County code Enforcement Department at (951) 955-2004 or email: code@rivco.org                         .


PARENTS AND YOUTH

Q: Can children legally use or grow non-medical cannabis under Proposition 64?
A: No. It remains illegal for persons under 21 years of age to grow, use or possess cannabis for non-medical purposes. If a minor under 18 years of age is cited for using, growing or possessing non-medical cannabis, Proposition 64 requires him or her to perform community service and undergo counseling.
Q: Are there rules about advertising to kids?
A: Yes. Proposition 64 prohibits the marketing and advertising of cannabis to minors and within 1,000 feet of schools, day care centers and youth centers. It establishes strict packaging/labeling standards, including warning labels and child-resistant packaging to keep cannabis products out of the hands of children.
Q: Are cannabis businesses required to locate a certain distance away from schools, churches or parks?
A: Yes. Proposition 64 sets a default buffer of 600 feet from schools, day care centers and youth centers. Local jurisdictions may modify this distance to be larger or smaller and may designate additional “sensitive uses” that trigger the distance requirement. The County will be seeking community input on this topic.
Q: Is cannabis smoking restricted in and around schools?
A: Yes. Proposition 64 prohibits smoking cannabis within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center, or youth center while children are present. This prohibition does not apply to smoking upon the grounds of a private residence, unless such smoking is detectable by others on the grounds of such a school, day care center, or youth center while children are present. (Health and Safety Code §11362.3.(a)(3))

STATE REGULATIONS

Q: Will products be required to have warning labels and dosage information?
A: Yes. The state is in the process of developing detailed requirements for product labeling and packaging. At a minimum, these will include warning labels and/or symbols, dosage information and child-resistant packaging.
Q: Will there be any regulations as to what is in substances?
A: Yes. The State is developing regulations for testing products to ensure they are not contaminated or have mislabeled contents or potency. County agencies, such as the Department of Public Health, are likely to play a role in enforcing these regulations.
Q: What will the state tax revenues on cannabis sales be used for?
A:

Proposition 64 established a 15% State excise tax on all retail sales of medical and nonmedical cannabis. State tax revenue will be used to cover the State’s costs to administer and enforce cannabis regulation. Then:

$2 million per year to the University of California at San Diego Center for Medical Cannabis Research to study medical cannabis

$10 million per year for 11 years for public California universities to research and evaluate new nonmedical cannabis laws

$3 million per year for five years to the California Highway Patrol to establish and adopt protocols to detect impaired driving

$10 million per year, increasing each year by $10 million reaching $50 million in 2022, for grants to local health departments and community-based nonprofits supporting “job placement, mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, system navigation services, legal services to address barriers to reentry, and linkages to medical care for communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policies

Remaining revenues will be distributed as follows:

60% to youth programs, including drug education, prevention, and treatment

20% to prevent and alleviate environmental damage from illegal marijuana producers

20% to programs designed to reduce driving under the influence of cannabis and a grant program designed to reduce negative impacts on health or safety resulting from the legalization of cannabis

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