FAQs Regarding Medical Marijuana Cultivation in Yolo County

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Revised: November 6, 2017

Below are questions and answers concerning current County regulations related to the outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana in the unincorporated area of Yolo County with the intent to address neighbor complaints, limit harmful environmental impacts, and protect patient access to medical marijuana. Link here to view Yolo County Code related to Medical Marijuana Cultivation.

Is the cultivation of medical marijuana permitted in Yolo County?

Cultivation of medical marijuana in Yolo County is currently allowed under the following conditions:

  • For personal use - qualified patients (pursuant to Section 11362.5 of the Health & Safety Code). Requirements & Restrictions:
    • The area of cultivation cannot exceed 100 square feet, at full plant maturity, per legal parcel.
    • The 100 square feet limitation is imposed regardless of the number of qualified patients residing on the property, participating directly or indirectly in or benefitting from the cultivation.
    • Cultivation is for personal medical use only; not for sale, distribution, donation or provision to any other person or entity.
  • For commercial cultivators by permit. Requirements & Restrictions:
    • Cultivation is allowed in compliance with Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (CVRWQCB) Order No. R5-2015-0113.
    • All cultivating by CVRWQCB permit shall provide the Yolo County Department of Agriculture a copy of a submitted Notice of Intent (to obtain regulatory coverage as a Tier 1, 2 or 3 cultivator, Monitoring Self-Certification and other documents demonstrating compliance) which must be complete and have been received with full payment by the CVRWQCB no later than 5:00 p.m. on October 11, 2016.
    • Garden canopy must be between 1,000 and 43,560 square feet; cultivation by permit of less than 1,000 square feet is prohibited.
    • Must be a lessee of the property or, as of October 11, 2016 be the record owner of the property or have a fully executed sales and purchase agreement for the purchase of the property, on which the medical marijuana is cultivated, and for which the Notice of Intent with CVRWQCB was filed by October 11, 2016.
    • Participation in track and trace program required by the County.
    • Provision of written consent to reasonable on-site compliance inspections.
    • Agreement to indemnify and hold harmless the County of Yolo.
    • Those owning, leasing, occupying or having charge of the property who have been convicted of certain felonies in any jurisdiction are prohibited from cultivating medical marijuana in Yolo County.          

Is the cultivation of industrial hemp permitted in Yolo County?

No, Yolo County does not allow cultivation of industrial hemp.

Are there limitations on the location of medical marijuana cultivation?

Cultivation, in any amount, is not allowed:

  • Outdoors, within 1,000 feet of a youth-oriented facility, school, school bus stop, park, church or tribal lands.
  • Outdoors, within 75 feet of any occupied legal residential structure located on a separate parcel.
  • In any location not fully enclosed by an opaque fence at least 6 feet in height. The fence must be adequately secured by a locked gate and evidence of cultivation shall not be visible from a public right-of-way or publicly traveled private roads.

Are there residency requirements?

Whether by patient qualification or permit, those cultivating medical marijuana must own the premises or have entered into a written lease with and have obtained written permission (including notarized signatures) from the property owner.

What is the maximum grow size allowed in Yolo County?

Outdoor grows can be up to 43,560 square feet per parcel.

What are the requirements and restrictions on the cultivation of medical marijuana?
Note: Greenhouses are considered to be outdoors and medical marijuana cultivation is not considered to be “ag exempt”.

Requirements and restrictions on the cultivation of medical marijuana include:

  • The use of light assistance for outdoor cultivation shall not exceed a maximum of 600 watts of lighting capacity per 100 square feet of growing area.
  • All lights shall be shielded and downcast or otherwise positioned in a manner that will not shine light or allow light glare to exceed the boundaries of the parcel upon which they are placed.
  • Cultivation shall not utilize water illegally diverted from any stream, creek, river, ditch or other body/source of water.
  • All buildings in which marijuana is stored shall be properly secured.
  • Registration with the Yolo County Department of Agriculture is required.

What does the requirement of registering with the Yolo County Department of Agriculture entail?

Within 60 days of adoption of the ordinance related to cultivation of medical marijuana (adopted November 22, 2016), or prior to commencing cultivation, entities commercially cultivating medical marijuana within the unincorporated area of Yolo County must apply for a business license from the Yolo County Department of Community Services, and pay applicable fees.

Are there fees related to the cultivation of medical marijuana?

Yes. Below are the current fees charged to cover the costs associated with the regulation of commercial medical marijuana cultivation:

$1,500 per Application Fee
• Covers costs associated with receiving and processing applications for commercial cultivation permits

$7,600 Initial Permit Fee
• Covers costs associated with initial issuance of commercial cultivation permit
• Includes full initial site inspection, site and zoning clearance, initial testing of product type
• Includes initial case establishment, inspection documentation and site inclusion on County GIS

$1.60 per sq. ft. (CBD Dominant) / $2.48 per sq. ft. (THC Dominant) Annual Certification Fees
• Covers costs associated with track & trace program to monitor produce yields
• Different fees depending on whether product is CBD or THC dominant as THC dominant strains have higher “street” value and public safety risk, requiring additional time and resources

$142 Hourly Enforcement Fee
• Covers costs to inspect non-permitted, non-compliant and non-responsive sites
• Calculated for all hours of effort required until cultivator complies with permitting process

Is cannabis considered an agricultural crop in California?

California defines medical cannabis as an agricultural product. The identification as an agricultural crop, however, does not extend to other areas of the law. For example, marijuana is not an agricultural crop with respect to local “right to farm” ordinances.

Can I commercially cultivate non-medical marijuana in Yolo County?


What other laws apply to cultivation of medical marijuana in the unincorporated areas of Yolo County?

Cultivators in Yolo County must comply with all applicable state and federal laws, including the California Attorney General’s 2008 Guidelines for Security and Non-Diversion of Marijuana Grown for Medical Use.


Are Yolo County’s marijuana regulations permanent?

Yolo County’s present marijuana regulations will be in place until the Board of Supervisors takes further action to change them. However, the County of Yolo intends to continue review and consideration of a more comprehensive medical marijuana licensing and regulatory program and to consider developing revised regulations that most effectively regulate and license all facets of marijuana activities. The intent is to develop permanent policy and regulations related to marijuana before the State begins issuing licenses in early 2018.

Can I use or cultivate non-medical marijuana?

Subject to all applicable restrictions contained in Proposition 64, an adult 21 years or older may grow up to 6 plants and use non-medical marijuana inside their own residence.

Can I engage in commercial activities involving non-medical marijuana?

No. All commercial activities involving non-medical marijuana are prohibited in the unincorporated areas of Yolo County.

Yolo County Board of Supervisors Ordinances, date and Item Number
3/22/2016, Item 12
10/25/2016, Item 35
11/22/2016, Item 42
1/10/2017, Item 31
2/7/2017, Item 27

For more information, please contact the Task Force Office at (530)406-4800.  Please leave a message and they will return your call as soon as possible

Where can I get a list of all the licensed Commercial Cultivators?-Please click on the link below.
Approved Commercial Cannabis Grows as of  8/21/2017

Additional Links:

Cannabis Cultivation Waste Discharge Regulatory Program
Cannabis Cultivation Complaint Page