Alameda County California Cannabis Regulation

Alameda County, California – regulation of adult-use of cannabis – research tool

The Fox and Hounds Daily said it best

Then there are California’s cities—which have tremendous discretion in whether to issue permits, but are in many cases still debating what to do. Those municipalities that have issued rules are creating so many different standards—some cities ban marijuana businesses of all kinds, while others might permit certain dispensaries, distribution, or labs—that California’s cannabis market will resemble a crazy-quilt.

The laws related to the sale and use of cannabis for the State of California and for individual California cities are currently being written and/or amended.  Many government entities are working under temporary regulations.  The federal government is also revising its cannabis policies and enforcement strategies.

In an attempt to help those who are researching the regulation of cannabis use in the East Bay, the Alameda County Law Library has put together a research guide for laws of the cities of Alameda County on this emerging area of law.  A quick comparison of code text shows that regulation varies greatly depending on the individual municipality.  Some cities are using temporary rules.  2018 will prove to be an interesting year for anyone examining how California cities deal with managing the activities involved in the business of adult-use cannabis.

Work in progress

This guide is a work in progress (like cannabis regulation itself) and for general information purposes only.  An attempt has been made to map citations for cannabis-related laws applicable to Alameda County.  Researchers should use the municipal code browser links provided for each local government entity to confirm the currency of any code sections cited.  When using municipal codes, remember that there can be a delay between a governing body’s decision making and the codification and publication of new laws and regulations – even on internet sites.  Most internet codes list the date of last update.  Researchers will need to review lists of recent ordinances.

This guide’s purpose is to help a researcher pinpoint within codes relevant language.  As the regulatory environment becomes stabilized, our plan is to add more text and/or links in the guide.  Another goal is to track activity related to regulatory and legislative history — using information from the governments’ websites and public news sources.   Researchers may also find the guide helpful when comparing the issues one city finds to be of regulatory importance versus another city’s focus of interest – for example – cannabis delivery services.

State and city

To sell recreational cannabis in California, a business has to be licensed by both the state and a local entity.  California has been working on the rules that will oversee the sale of all cannabis ever since the 2016 election, but the new Bureau of Cannabis Control only released its regulations in November of 2017.  It is issuing temporary permits while it finalizes permanent regulations and subjects them to public review, which should happen in the spring 2018, according to Lori Ajax, the chief of the Bureau of Cannabis Control.  Federal marijuana law enforcement policies are another important factor to consider as the legal situation settles down.


“Cannabis,” “marijuana,” and “pot” are being used by various governments and by professional commentators when discussing the topic.   Researchers should keep the alternative names in mind when doing any topic research, especially historical research.  With the change in California state law that now allows for legal adult-use,  the term “cannabis” has become the more frequently used name.  “Medical marijuana” was an alliterative phrase used in most prior legislation on this subject.

May I?

Two California news companies have quick search guides for the curious to see what is or isn’t allowed within individual California communities –

Can you buy? Can you sell? Can you grow? Readers can sort this local marijuana policy data alphabetically

What are the marijuana laws in your California city? Explore our database of local cannabis policies


Selected links for tracking and researching changes in regulation


California Bureau of Cannabis Control –

CEB’s website on state cannabis legal developments (CEB is one of the primary California legal publishers)

CA state proposed (11/16/17)

CA state emergency regulations

CA manufacturing license regulations

Prop 64  Information including link to full text,_Marijuana_Legalization_(2016)

California communities divided


January 4, 2018 Sessions Department of Justice Memo to US Attorneys General

League of California Cities, “Rescission of federal marijuana law enforcement policy sends shock waves through California” (January 8, 2018)


Legal information websites on the regulation of the cannabis industry.

Canna Law Blog  Harris Bricken Cannabis Business lawyers and civil litigators focused on helping legalized marijuana (medical and recreational) businesses in California, Florida, Oregon, and Washington

The Cannifornian 

CEB Marijuana Law   An educational hub for attorneys

Tracking Cannabis  Thompson Colburn law firm

A webinar – Rights, Opportunities, and Responsibilities for Municipalities Regulating Cannabis

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