Ask A Cannabis Lawyer: What Are The Zoning Laws In California?

Posted by Margolin & Lawrence on July 31, 2017

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Under S.B. 94, the 482 Cities and and 58 Counties within California have authority to regulate land use and zoning within their jurisdictions. The zoning for cannabis businesses depends on the activity - for example, dispensaries often have different zoning than cannabis manufacturing businesses. Our cannabis lawyers have found that many jurisdictions and ordinances allow for light industrial as one of the more popular zones for cannabis businesses, but it is important to check your local ordinance as it is a location-specific analysis for each city/county. (Moreover, counties or cities that have bans on cannabis activity in place will not provide any zoning information because they have not updated their municipal or county codes to do so).

The City of Los Angeles introduced a Draft Location Ordinance in June 2017. The Draft Location Ordinance specifies the zones where cannabis businesses will be allowed to operate, by activity.  Cannabis cultivation (indoor) and manufacturing will be allowed in limited commercial and industrial zones within the City of Los Angeles. There will also be designated special zones for cannabis businesses such as the Sports and Entertainment Specific Plan Zone and the Los Angeles International Airport Specific Plan Zone.

Retailers or cannabis dispensaries will be properly zoned if they are in the limited commercial and industrial zones in Los Angeles, and are also 800 ft. from recognized existing medical marijuana dispensaries, school, park, public library, rehab center, etc.

Note that for Delivery Operators who exclusively use a building for delivery, sensitive use distancing and buffer zones are not required.

Without the proper zoning, obtaining approval for your building is a non-starter.

Contact us to learn more about the draft Ordinance for the City of Los Angeles, or to discuss the zoning in any other jurisdiction in California with one of our cannabis attorneys.

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This blog is not intended as legal advice and should not be taken as such. The possession, use, and/or sale of marijuana is illegal under federal law.