Preliminary Questions What you need to know before getting started

These are some questions you need to answer before deciding on the most appropriate pathway to a new ordinance in your city or county:

  1. Are you in a city or on county land? The rules about opening any kind of business will be set by the City Council, if you want to open inside the city limits. The rules about opening any kind of business in the unincorporated areas of the county will be set by the County Board of Supervisors. The unincorporated areas are those in any given county located outside the borders of any city.  Check online or contact the County Clerk’s office if you are unsure whether or not you are inside a city or in the unincorporated areas of the county.
  2. What are the rules for medical cannabis in your community? Most cities and counties now have the municipal code, county code, and zoning ordinances online. Locate these through the jurisdictions website and search for the term “medical marijuana” (local ordinances rarely use the term “cannabis). If your city or county does not have this information online, contact the City Clerk or County Clerk to ask where you can find any laws related to medical cannabis businesses. 
  3. If your city or county has a ban on some or all medical cannabis businesses, when did it become effective? This matters if you want to overturn the ban using a referendum, as described in Pathways to a New Ordinance.