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The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors has provided a means for regulating the cannabis industry in a manner which balances the needs of medical patients and their caregivers, and adults over the age of 21 interested in recreational use, while promoting the health, safety and welfare of residents and businesses within the unincorporated territory of Santa Cruz County.

The Cannabis Licensing Office was originally formed to implement the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), which was approved by the State Legislature and signed into law by the Governor in 2015 (see Assembly Bills 243 and 266, and Senate Bill 643) and create a licensing and regulatory framework for medical cannabis. With the passage of Proposition 64, Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) in November 2016, the Cannabis Licensing Office has also taken on the task of developing local regulations to implement AUMA. The State’s Emergency Regulations, SB 94, have allowed the Cannabis Licensing Office to regulate both medical and recreational commercial cannabis businesses under the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA).

Read more about the approved legislation throughout the website on how unincorporated Santa Cruz County regulates the cannabis supply chain: cultivation, manufacture, distribution, and retail.

Thank you in advance for your support and patience as we work together to pioneer this new area of law.

Ordinance 5272 which amends Chapter 13.10 and Chapter 16.01 regarding the Non-Retail Commercial Cannabis Program, was certified by the Coastal Commission on 7/12/18 and in effect county-wide as of 7/17/18.


To regulate cannabis businesses in the County of Santa Cruz, the County has taken the following actions:

Adopted a Dispensary ordinance, County Code 7.130 for licensing medical cannabis dispensaries. There are 12 dispensaries currently licensed. No new dispensaries are being licensed at this time. For more information click here.

On May 8th, the County Board of Supervisors adopted final ordinances to regulate non-retail commercial cannabis businesses involving cultivation, manufacture and distribution. Regulations may be reviewed HERE. The application process may be reviewed HERE