Note: Questions were formulated by Enterprise staff. Answers were accumulated from industry leaders and Calaveras County staff.
Calaveras Enterprise: Have supervisors banned growing marijuana for medical use or only for recreational use?
Response: The recent vote banned commercial farming of marijuana for medical purposes. Commercial farming for adult recreational use (ages 21 and older) was never permitted in Calaveras. The prohibition does not affect growing small amounts for personal use. All adults can grow up to six plants per residence.
CE: Does the ban have any effect upon growing for personal use within the limits permitted by state law?
R: Supervisors can regulate where and how individuals grow their six plants. In Calaveras, personal-use growers can house their six plants indoors in an enclosed and lockable area. It can be within a dwelling, but must be outside the common living area.
CE: Have the supervisors addressed any zoning or other restrictions upon growing for personal use?
CE: Does the ban apply to dispensary sales in Calaveras of either medical or recreational marijuana grown outside Calaveras?
R: No. Medical dispensaries are covered under separate provisions adopted by the county in 2005. Dispensaries are limited to the sale of medical cannabis only. Adult-use retailers have not been permitted in the county.
CE: Where is the nearest place outside of Calaveras to buy cannabis for medical or recreational purposes at this time?
R: There are permitted medical marijuana dispensaries in Modesto and Stockton. Adult-use (recreational) retailers can be found in Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland and the Los Angeles area, among other locations.
CE: Despite the ban, can medical cooperatives still grow up to 99 plants for medicinal purposes?
R: The “99 plant” exception, relating to immunity from criminal prosecution for state-controlled substance violations, was never formally sanctioned in the county. Outside what was allowed to serve dispensaries per local custom, medical marijuana farming was not approved in the county before the urgency ordinance was adopted in May of 2016. Despite the historic immunity from criminal enforcement, under the ban, the only marijuana growing permitted in Calaveras County will be limited to six plants for personal or adult-use purposes under the ban.
CE: Does the ban have any impact upon the amount of marijuana an individual can legally possess for personal use at any time?
R: No. Anyone 21 or older can possess up to an ounce of physical marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis products.
CE: What have adjoining counties done about regulating or banning the cultivation or sale of medical or recreational marijuana?
R: All surrounding counties have banned commercial cultivation, manufacturing and retail operations, but some have taken recent steps to regulate. Tuolumne, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties have all opened discussions to consider permissive ordinances. Incorporated areas like Stockton and Modesto have adopted rules independent of the unincorporated sectors that have permitted commercial farming in certain sectors and medical marijuana retailers.
CE: Could the current board change its mind?
R: Yes. It would take a reconsideration proposal from any of the three supervisors who recently voted to enact the ban ordinance.