Amador County Cannabis Laws
  • County seat: Jackson
  • Largest community: Ione
  • Incorporated: May 1, 1854
  • 2019 Population: 39,752
  • Total Area: 606 sq mi
  • Land Area: 595 sq mi
Amador County Cannabis Laws: Table of Contents

Commercial and Medical Cannabis in Unincorporated Amador County

Permitted Cannabis Uses

Per Chapter 19.84.050 of the Amador County Code, “all commercial or industrial cannabis activity including but not limited to manufacture, distribution, processing, storing, packaging, labeling, laboratory testing, transportation, deliveries, and sales are prohibited in all zoning districts in unincorporated Amador County.”

Furthermore, per Chapter 19.84.070 the County considers all commercial cannabis activities in violation of its code to be public nuisances, subject to abatement and enforcement actions.

Before codifying the current prohibition on commercial cannabis uses in the county code, in 2017, the Amador County Board of Supervisors passed Ordinance No. 1767  (full text below) intended to “to prohibit nonmedical marijuana activities to the fullest extent permitted by State law.”

Current Cannabis Permitting Status

Amador County, California currently prohibits all commercial and medical cannabis operations, including cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, retail and distribution.

City-Specific Cannabis Laws in Amador County

Cities within any California County, which are incorporated entities themselves, often have separate regulations, permitting applications, as well as permit limits.

Cities within any California County, which are incorporated entities themselves, often have separate regulations, permitting applications, as well as permit limits.

Amador County Proposition 64 Results

On November 8, 2016, a majority – 51.9% – of voters in Amador County voted against legalizing commercial cannabis in California under Prop 64: The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA). A breakdown of the Prop 64 vote in Amador County can be seen in the table below:

Cannabis Regulations in Unincorporated Amador County

Chapter 19.84: Restrictions on Cannabis and Related Activities

Amador County Non-Medical Use Ban Ordinance (Ordinance No. 1767)


The Board of Supervisors of the County of Amador ordains as follows:

SECTION 1. FINDINGS RELATED TO URGENCY. The Board of Supervisors finds and declares as follows:

A. On November 8, 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” (“AUMA”), which establishes a comprehensive regulatory scheme to legalize, control and regulate the cultivation, processing, manufacture, distribution, testing and sale of non-medical marijuana for use by adults 21 years and older.

B. The AUMA creates a state licensing system which will authorize businesses to legally cultivate, manufacture, process, store, distribute, transport and sell nonmedical marijuana and marijuana products with such licenses to be issued by the state no later than January 1, 2018, unless it violates the provisions of any local ordinances or regulations.

C. The AUMA permits a county to enforce reasonable regulations for the cultivation of nonmedical marijuana for personal use, including prohibiting outdoor cultivation and banning nonmedical commercial marijuana activities.

D. Significant concerns regarding the negative effects to the health, safety, and welfare of the public from unregulated medical and nonmedical marijuana activities include increased crime and associated violence, the nuisance presented by the strong odor of marijuana plants as they begin to flower to neighboring properties and the risk of burglary or robbery posed by the smell which can alert persons to the location of the valuable plants, as well as, the adverse environmental impacts from cultivation practices. In 2014, there was a robbery and attempted murder associated with a marijuana processing operation in Plymouth and in 2016, there was a marijuana related home invasion robbery. In neighboring Calaveras County, there has been a substantial increase in marijuana related crimes since the adoption of their 2016 urgency ordinance which allowed commercial medical marijuana cultivation and other uses.

E. There is an immediate need to prevent unregulated nonmedical marijuana grows and activities in the County, which has the potential to impact the health, safety, aesthetic, and community welfare of residents and businesses and this interim ordinance is necessary to prevent the potential for nonmedical outdoor marijuana cultivation to be grandfathered in the unincorporated areas of the County.

F. Regarding medical marijuana, Chapters 19.84 and 19.86 of the Amador County Code already prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries and commercial marijuana activities including cultivation, distribution, manufacture, nurseries, and laboratories, respectively.

G. The Federal Controlled Substances Act (21 USC §§ 801 et seq.) classifies marijuana as a Schedule I Drug, which is defined as a drug or other substance that has a high potential for abuse, that has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States , and that has not been accepted as safe for use under medical supervision. The Federal Controlled Substances Act makes it unlawful , under federal law, for any person to cultivate , manufacture , distribute or dispense , transport , or possess with intent to manufacture , distribute or dispense , marijuana. The Federal Controlled Substance Act does not exempt the cultivation, manufacture , distribution , dispensation , transportation , or possession of marijuana for medical purposes.

H. The California Attorney General ‘s August 2008 Guidelines for the Security and Non-Diversion of Marijuana Grown for Medical Use recognizes that the cultivation or other concentrations of marijuana in locations without adequate security increases the risk that surrounding homes or businesses may be negatively impacted by nuisance activity such as loitering or crime.

I. With respect to nonmedical marijuana activities authorized by AUMA, the Board of Supervisors finds that they present a current and immediate threat to the public health , safety , or welfare of Amador County residents until additional staff review has been completed and any necessary local regulations or code revisions have been adopted and made effective. It is the intent of this Ordinance to prohibit nonmedical marijuana activities to the fullest extent permitted by State law.


For purposes of this Ordinance , the following words and phrases have the following meanings:

A. “Indoor cultivation” shall mean cultivation inside a private residence or inside a fully enclosed and secure accessory structure to a private residence in accordance with Health and Safety Code section 11362.2(b )(2).

B. “Marijuana ” shall mean both “marijuana” as defined in Health and Safety Code section 11018 and “marijuana products ” as defined in Health and Safety Code section 11018.1

C. “Medical marijuana ” shall mean marijuana used for medical purposes m accordance with Health and Safety Code section 11362.7 et seq.

D. “Nonmedical ” or “recreational ” marijuana shall mean marijuana not used for medical purposes in accordance with Health and Safety Code section 11362. 7 et seq. E. “Outdoor cultivation” shall mean any cultivation that is not defined as indoor cultivation in Health and Safety Code section 11362.2(b)(2).

F. “Private residence ” shall mean “private residence ” as defined m Health and Safety Code section 11362.2(6 )(5).


A. Any commercial or industrial use involving marijuana including but not limited to manufacture, processing, laboratory testing, labeling, storing, wholesale, distribution and retail is prohibited in all zoning districts in unincorporated Amador County.

B. Outdoor planting, cultivating, harvesting, drying, curing , or processing of marijuana plants for nonmedical use is prohibited in all zoning districts in unincorporated Amador County.


A. Indoor planting, cultivation, harvesting, drying, or processing of marijuana plants for nonmedical use is limited to six (6) or fewer plants per private residence at one time and must be entirely for the personal use of a resident who is twenty-one (21) years of age or older.

B. This Ordinance does not affect the rights of individuals as established by State law to possess or use medical marijuana subject to a valid doctor’s recommendation.

C. It is not a violation of this Ordinance for any person employed by a licensed marijuana delivery service to travel on public roads within unincorporated areas of the County for the purpose of delivering marijuana to persons located in a city or county where the delivery of marijuana is not prohibited.


The Amador County Board of Supervisors finds that there is a current and immediate threat to the public safety, health and welfare of the County that requires the enactment of a prohibition on nonmedical marijuana activities as set forth in Section 1 of this Ordinance.


If any provision of this Ordinance is declared to be invalid, unlawful or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity, unlawfulness, or unconstitutionality shall not affect other ordinance provisions provided that they can be implemented without the invalid provision and severed from the remaining provisions of this Ordinance.


This Ordinance is not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) pursuant to sections 15060( c )(2) and 15061 (b )(3 ). In addition to the foregoing general exemptions, the following categorical exemptions apply: sections 15308 and 15321.


This Ordinance shall take effect immediately upon passage by a four-fifths vote of the Board of Supervisors based upon the findings that this Ordinance is adopted pursuant to California Government Code section 65858 for the protection of the public safety, health, and welfare and shall remain in effect for ten months and 15 days, or until February 26, 2018, unless extended pursuant to Government Code section 65858. The Clerk of the Board is hereby directed to publish this Ordinance as required by law.

The foregoing ordinance was duly passed and adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the County of Amador at a regular meeting thereof, held on the 11th day of April 201 7, by the following vote:

AYES: Richard M. Forster, Lynn A. Morgan, Brian Oneto, Frank U. Axe, Patrick Crew

NOES: None