Summary of Recreational Marijuana Regulations by Jurisdiction

Courtesy City of Healdsburg*

County of Sonoma

The County of Sonoma regulates possession and cultivation of marijuana, and regulates the use of marijuana in its Zoning Code. The County Zoning Code, like many Zoning Codes, is permissive, which means that any use not allowed by the Code is not permitted. The County has guidelines that limit possession and cultivation 3 pounds of dried marijuana and 30 plants per patient, above the state limits of 8 ounces and 6 mature or 12 immature plants.

State and County rules limit the area of cultivation to 100 square feet per patient. A limited number of dispensaries are permitted, and an urgency ordinance was adopted to allow time to address cultivation uses and other businesses in response to the new cultivation and adult use legislation. The County held community meetings and formed committees specifically to study and discuss the issue of cultivation and impact of marijuana businesses. In December the County approved the following actions:

  • Passed a Resolution excluding cannabis cultivation from the definition of agricultural use and allowing cultivation in agricultural preserves.
  • Adopted a tax ordinance and authorization to place the tax ordinance on the ballot.
  • Adopted amendments to its Zoning Code to allow personal cultivation in residences (but excluding multi- family units), to permit cultivation of commercial medical cannabis, medical cannabis businesses, medical cannabis dispensaries and edible cannabis manufacturing plants, with new definitions and special use regulations.

The City of Santa Rosa

In 2005, the City of Santa Rosa adopted an ordinance to permit medical marijuana dispensaries. In March 2016, the Santa Rosa City Council adopted an interim ordinance to allow Commercial Cultivation of Medical Cannabis with a Minor or Major Conditional Use Permit (depending on size) in the Light, Industrial, General Industrial, and Limited Light Industrial Zoning Districts.

On August 2, 2016, the Santa Rosa City Council directed the Zoning Administrator to issue a Zoning Code Interpretation to allow cannabis support businesses in appropriate existing commercial zones; such as lab testing, oil production and transportation services. The interpretation will remain in effect until such time as it is replaced by a Council Ordinance as part of the comprehensive policy effort.

The City defers to state law for personal cultivation for medical and nonmedical purposes. The City has reconvened a subcommittee to investigate ways to integrate cannabis regulations into the city’s existing codes and guidelines, while they develop comprehensive cannabis ordinance.

Town of Windsor

Windsor has adopted moratoria similar to Healdsburg in response to AUMA, to allow more time to study impacts to public health and safety, neighborhood crime and security, odor control and neighborhood livability.

City of Cloverdale

Cloverdale currently bans commercial cultivation uses and dispensaries, and permits 3 marijuana plants outdoors per lot for medical cannabis cultivation. A permit can be obtained for larger grows of up to 30 plants indoors and possess up to three pounds, only in residential zones occupied by the individual resident. Further, the City has adopted restrictions to regulate deliveries. The City Council wants to move toward allowing a dispensary and limited commercial cultivations. Currently, no specific regulations have been established in response to the AUMA.

City of Cotati

In 2007 the City adopted regulations to permit dispensaries. The City position on commercial marijuana cultivation is that it is a prohibited use as it is not listed in the land use code. In December 2016, the City took a similar approach as Healdsburg and Windsor and adopted a moratorium in response to AUMA to prohibit outdoor and limit indoor nonmedical marijuana cultivation. Extension of the moratorium is scheduled for January 24, 2017

Rohnert Park

In February 2016, the City adopted regulations prohibiting marijuana related uses including cultivation, processing, delivery and dispensaries.


In 2007, the City adopted an ordinance to prohibit marijuana dispensaries, commercial activity and medical marijuana cultivation. The City allows cultivation for a patient limited to an area of 100 square feet (indoor or outdoor), not to exceed three mature plants which must be screened from view and not detectable by odors. In January 2016 the City amended its ordinance to preclude commercial cannabis cultivation and business activities.

City of Sonoma

The City has adopted a prohibition on dispensaries, deliveries and cultivation businesses. A use that is not listed within the zoning code is considered to be prohibited.

* Summary of Recreational Marijuana Regulations by Jurisdiction was prepared by the City of Healdsburg