Adult Use of Marijuana Act

While the League of California Cities has no position on Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, in response to multiple inquiries from member cities, Cal Cities Staff have prepared a Memorandum and a Frequently Asked Questions document, explaining how the regulatory landscape for local governments, particularly cities, will change if Prop. 64 passes in November. The presence of this information on our website should in no way be construed as an endorsement of the initiative, but rather a pro-active effort by Cal Cities to keep our members prepared for and forewarned about various local regulatory contingencies, with a view toward maintaining local control.

NOTE:  Currently the only ordinances Cal Cities has received on recreational cannabis are bans. However, we do have resources providing guidance on local ordinances that regulate rather than ban recreational cannabis. Medical ordinances can provide helpful guidance on what recreational ordinances should look like and can be a useful tool until local jurisdictions begin enacting recreational ordinances.  Our medical cannabis ordinances webpage is therefore a helpful resource in this interim period which may last through January 2018.

A key fact to remember is that there is little appreciable difference between an ordinance that regulates medical marijuana, and an ordinance that regulates recreational cannabis. Both are agricultural products and are chemically identical for purposes of local regulation. For this reason, the ordinances on Cal Cities medical cannabis webpage provide a useful guide for those cities seeking to craft recreational marijuana ordinances.  

There are just two key differences to bear in mind in crafting a recreational marijuana ordinance, post-Proposition 64:

  1. Since the passage of Proposition 64, local governments can no longer ban indoor cultivation for personal use.  Such ordinances are now invalid, even if enacted before Prop. 64 took effect.  However, locals can “reasonably regulate” indoor cultivation for personal use. For example, local cultivation permits with an appropriate fee may be required if that is the will of the jurisdiction.
  2. Proposition 64 prohibits state and local governments from levying sales tax of any kind on medical marijuana. Excise taxes such as business license taxes, cultivation taxes, or manufacturing taxes on medical marijuana remain valid. And, sales taxes on recreational marijuana can still be levied by locals. 

With these governing principles, all that remains is to decide what you want the rules to be for both recreational and medical marijuana in your city. Cities are cautioned that their marijuana ordinances should be reviewed to be certain their scope specifically includes both recreational and medical marijuana.  At least one city is now in litigation because it relied on a purely medical marijuana ordinance to regulate recreational marijuana businesses.