COVID-19 UPDATE | The City is coordinating closely with our public health officials at the Santa Cruz County Health Department to prevent the further spread COVID-19. In an effort to protect you and our community, changes and measures have been adopted in daily operations and activities. For further details please click here for the City’s Response to COVID-19

Cannabis License & Regulations

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option


No results found.

Cannabis Retailer Application Process 

The Cannabis Retail License application period closed at 3:00 P.M. on  December 14, 2017. If issued a license, retailers will also have to obtain approval of an Administrative User Permit for the proposed location as well as a State cannabis license. Applicants will be notified of their status upon completion of the review. To find contact information or learn more about the process, feel free to call Mike Ferry, Senior Planner. 

State of California and City of Santa Cruz Regulations 

With the approval of Proposition 64 (AUMA) in November 2016, adult use of marijuana became legal in California.  Under AUMA, personal use and cultivation of up to six (6) plants per residence became legal immediately while commercial uses, including cultivation, testing, manufacturing, distribution and sales, will become legal once State licenses are issued beginning January 2018. 

Additionally, Santa Cruz City Council adopted Cannabis Regulations on November 28, 2017. Under this ordinance, the City will allow five (5) retail outlets in industrial and limited commercial zones.  Commercial cultivation is limited to 10,000 square feet of indoor growth in industrial zones. Manufacturing and distribution are also allowed in industrial zones. All commercial cannabis uses require the approval of an administrative use permit at a public hearing. Retail uses also require a cannabis retailer license. 

The City is not regulating personal use beyond what is allowed by state law.

Check out the City GIS map to find the restricted areas for cannabis and the required buffers for current dispensaries. You can find your address using the search feature. 

Cannabis Ordinance Restricted Area Interactive Map


  • What are the current medical cannabis regulations?
More FAQs

Free viewers are required for some of the attached documents.
They can be downloaded by clicking on the icons below.

Acrobat Reader Download Acrobat Reader Flash Player Download Flash Player Windows Media Player Download Windows Media Player Microsoft Silverlight Download Microsoft Silverlight Word Viewer Download Word Viewer Excel Viewer Download Excel Viewer PowerPoint Viewer Download PowerPoint Viewer