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


ACLL Can Help With MCLE Compliance

ACLL can help attorneys comply with MCLE requirements

Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) refers to the continuing legal education required of California attorneys throughout their professional careers.  Details can be found HERE.

The MCLE compliance deadline for California attorneys in MCLE Group 2  – last name beginning with H through M –  is fast approaching.  Attorneys in this group must complete and report their required MCLE credit hours by the February 1, 2018 deadline.

Here is a breakdown of the required credits for California attorneys:

  • Half of the 25 MCLE hours must be in activities approved for what are called “participatory” MCLE credit.
  • No more than 12.5 hours can be for self-study
  • Other special requirements:
    • At least 4 hours of legal ethics
    • At least 1 hour of competence issues
    • At least 1 hour in an area called the Recognition and Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession and Society

MCLE materials at ACLL

Alameda County Law Library, an official provider of MCLE for the State Bar of California,  maintains a large selection of current MCLE programs on CD in a range of topics.  These materials can be checked-out by registered borrowers for a fee.  The collection includes many programs in the required subject areas of ethics, competence issues (formerly called prevention/detection substance abuse), and elimination of bias.  The library also collects MCLE materials on the topics of law practice management, trial skills, and current developments in substantive practice areas.  The library can provide a portable CD player and headphones to attorneys who wish to use the materials in the library, or patrons can bring in their own laptop.

  • Materials available for circulation to registered borrowers that can be used for:
    • self-study 
    • but can also be used for “participatory” credit with ACLL staff supervision.
  • Fees – There is a fee schedule for the use of ACLL MCLE materials.
    • For self-study, materials checked out and taken from the library – the charge is $15.00 per hour of MCLE credit
    • For self-study for use within the library  –  the charge is $10.00 per hour of MCLE credit
    • Participatory – if the materials are used within the library for participatory credit, the charge is $20.00 per hour of MCLE credit.  You will need to complete paperwork for participatory.  More info HERE.


Links to listings of ACLL MCLE titles

Historical Volumes Of The United States Code – Federal Legislative History Internet Source

Historical United States Code volumes available online

The Library of Congress is making available online the collection of historical volumes of the United States Code, both main volumes and supplements.  The earliest volume was published in 1926 and covers the laws which were in force as of December 7, 1925.  The collection continues through the supplements to the 1988 edition.

The United States Code is a compilation of the general and permanent laws of the United States, arranged by subject.  Prior to the first edition’s publication, the only codification of laws was in the Revised Statutes of the United States.  The second edition was published 1934 and thereafter main editions have been published every six years with annual cumulative supplements in between.

The collection is both searchable and browseable.  To browse the collection, begin at // and click on the year for the edition of the code.  From there, select the title, and then sort the results set or narrow the search by using the facets on the left-hand side.  Full-text searching of the collection is also available via the search platform, and the results can then be narrowed by facets as well.

This version of the United States Code does not include the annotations that are provided by commercial publishers in their respective series –  Thompson Reuters’ United State Code Annotated or Lexis’ United States Code Service.

More information about this new resource is available on the Library of Congress’ In Custodia Legis page.

One Of The Many Dedicated Volunteers For Alameda County’s Lawyers In The Library Program

One of the many dedicated attorney volunteers for Alameda County’s Lawyers in the Library program – Ted Stalcup

We have recently heard from a staff member at the Pleasanton Public Library.  She wanted to be sure that ACLL gave a hat tip to an attorney – Ted Stalcup – who regularly stops by their library to meet with patrons seeking free legal advice offered as part of their Lawyers in the Library sessions. 

We, here at Alameda County Law Library, know Ted as one of the many dedicated volunteer attorneys who staff the Alameda County Lawyers in the Library program.  Volunteers provide free consultation and referrals on a wide variety of issues including landlord tenant disputes, probate matters, employment problems, and other general consumer issues.  These consultations take place at East Bay public libraries on a rotating basis throughout the month.  The Lawyers in the Library program is an important step in our library’s mission of providing access to justice to its community.

For more information about the Lawyers in the Library program including volunteer opportunities, please contact Emily at ACLL at or call the Reference Desk at (510) 208-4832.

Substance Abuse in the Legal Profession – MCLE – January 23, 2018

Substance Abuse in the Legal Profession

MCLE, Tuesday, January 23, 2018 Noon to 1:00 pm

Speaker: David Mann, Northern CA Consultant, The Other Bar

$25.00 advance registration, $35.00 day of event

Mann approaches this very serious topic in a manner that incorporates humor and irony and invites attorneys to engage in a bit of sometimes much-needed self-reflection. He incorporates his own situation as a case study of an addict.

Online registration at ACLL’s secured Eventbrite site –

Copy of the full flyer –

Parentage Law: Jeopardy, Bachelor in Paradise, or Father Knows Best? – MCLE – January 18

Parentage Law: Jeopardy, Bachelor in Paradise, or Father Knows Best?

MCLE Thursday, January 18 from Noon to 2:00 pm

2 hours Participatory MCLE credits

Register online at ACLL’s secure site –

Download program flyer –