Medical Cannabis


On March 15, 2016, the Santa Rosa City Council adopted an interim ordinance to allow Commercial Cultivation of Medical Cannabis. The ordinance can be found in Chapter 20-46 of the City Code. Per the ordinance cultivation may be allowed, subject to a Minor or Major Conditional Use Permit (depending on size) in specific zoning districts. 

Personal Cultivation

– Outdoor, mixed light and indoor personal cultivation is allowed in the City of Santa Rosa.  Guidelines for quantity allowed are as follows:

            Medical Use (per the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act)
                   -    Qualified patients – may cultivate up to 100 sq. ft. of aggregate vegetative
                          area on single premises for personal medical use only.
                   -    Primary caregivers – may cultivate up to 500 sq. ft. of aggregate vegetative area on      
                          single premises for up to five qualified patients.

            Non-Medical Use (per Adult Use of Marijuana Act, Prop 64)
                   -   Persons 21 years and older may cultivate up to six cannabis plants and possess the          
                         cannabis produced by the plants.
                   -   No more than six plants per private residence regardless of number of adults.

Outdoor Commercial Cultivation

- Per Council action on May 23, 2017, an urgency ordinance was passed to place a moratorium (prohibition) on outdoor commercial cultivation of medical and adult recreational (non-medical) cannabis. 

Limited Light Industrial (-LIL) Combining District

- Per Council Policy Subcommittee direction on May 25, 2017, staff is preparing an urgency ordinance for Council consideration which will remove the -LIL Combining District from the list of eligible districts for medical cannabis commercial cultivation.  


Support Uses

 On August 2, 2016, the Santa Rosa City Council directed the Zoning Administrator to issue a Zoning Code Interpretation to address the support uses that connect a licensed cultivator with a licensed dispensary. The Interpretation was issued the following day, and became effective immediately. The interpretation will remain in effect until such time as it is replaced by Council Ordinance as part of the comprehensive policy effort currently underway.


In 2005, the City of Santa Rosa adopted its initial regulations for Medical Cannabis Dispensaries. The ordinance can be found in Chapter 10-40 of the City Code. The City is not considering new applications at this time. The issue of dispensaries will be addressed as part of the City's comprehensive medical cannabis policy effort that is currently underway.

Comprehensive Cannabis Policy Development


The City Council listed development of a comprehensive Medical Cannabis Policy as one of the top 5 goals in the last goal setting process. The City has been working on developing this policy over the past year using the City Council Cannabis Policy Subcommittee. The policy will be multi-faceted in addressing all aspects of the industry and provide guidance to those looking to do business in Santa Rosa. The current schedule for policy adoption (subject to change):

  • Draft Comprehensive Policy Development – Underway
  • Publication of the Draft Comprehensive Cannabis Ordinance – June 2017
  • Council Cannabis Policy Subcommittee – June 2017
  • Public Meetings to get input – Multiple dates in June/July 2017
  • Review public feedback on Draft Ordinance with Council Subcommittee – July 27, 2017
  • Planning Commission public hearing and review – Aug 2017
  • City Council public hearing and action – Sept/Oct 2017
  • Effective date of Ordinance – Dec 2017

Cannabis Business Tax

The Santa Rosa City Council has unanimously voted to submit to the voters on June 6, 2017 an ordinance that would authorize the City to impose a business tax on the Cannabis Industry.   Details on the proposed tax and initial rates are below.