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Sonoma County Gazette

Sonoma County Targets Unpermitted Cannabis Operations

Sep 21, 2018


As Sonoma County’s cannabis industry moves into the regulated commercial market, the County’sCode Enforcement staff has increased its efforts to halt unpermitted cannabis operations. The County delivers quick turnaround times to respond to cannabis complaints and bring these operations into compliance with County ordinances.

Since January 2017, the County shut down more than 600 unpermitted cannabis operations, mandated environmental remediation, and billed over $435,797 in related fines.

Within the last two years, the County increased the number of code enforcement staff to respond to the large volume of cannabis complaints. There are currently two full-time code enforcement inspectors and one clerical staff dedicated to cannabis enforcement. Six additional code inspectors are available as backup.

Since January 2017, the County has received 682 complaints of private property cannabis production.

To date, staff have physically inspected 662 of these properties. Of these properties, 24 continue to operate with a use permit in process. For the remaining 638 inspected, staff have confirmed that they are no longer cultivating and no further complaints have been received on those properties. The remaining 20 uninspected properties have inspection dates scheduled in the near future.  

Existing cannabis businesses that plan to operate legally under the new local cannabis ordinances were required to submit complete permit applications to the County by June 1, 2018. Since this date, Code Enforcement has responded to 21 active cannabis growing properties without permit applications. All of these properties removed the cannabis within the five days specified as required by the cannabis use ordinance. Each of those properties were penalized per the code up to $10,000 per occurrence. 

To learn more about the County’s Code Enforcement program, visit



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