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NEVADA CITY Calif. December 8, 2016 – The Nevada County Board of Supervisors will consider amending the existing marijuana cultivation regulations at their Dec. 13th meeting. The proposed amendments will bring the current general code into alignment with new Prop. 64 standards.

The county’s current ordinance addresses the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes only. With the passage of Prop. 64, non-medical use and personal cultivation up to six living marijuana plants has been legalized, starting January 1, 2017. The proposed changes to the code would add provisions to comply with the new state law.


Indoor growing of up to six (6) marijuana plants in a private residence will be allowed. Indoor cultivation can take place in a permitted, permanent residence or an “accessory structure.” Cultivation “may occur in any area which is not occupied by, or easily accessible to, children, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in Subsection G-IV 5.4.D.”

Subsection 5.4.D currently includes this sentence: “Cultivation shall not take place in a kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, common areas or any other space in the structure which is used as, designed or intended for human occupancy.”

Limit of 6 plants per residence

Any Prop. 64 indoor cultivation is limited to 6 plants, not matter the number of people living in the residence.

Setback for setbacks

Current required setbacks do not apply if they would prevent cultivation completely. Current code lists the required setbacks as follows:

F.     The following setbacks shall apply to all Indoor and Outdoor Cultivation areas and shall be measured in a straight line from the nearest border of the Outdoor staked grow area or Indoor Cultivation area to the property line of any adjacent Legal Parcel under separate ownership.

1.     For all Parcels or Premises:

a.     Parcels of greater than 2 acres up to 5 acres:                 100 ft.

b.     Parcels of greater than 5 acres up to 10 acres:               150 ft.

c.     Parcels of greater than 10 acres up to 20 acres:              200 ft.

d.     Parcels of greater than 20 acres:                                    300 ft.

2.     In a mobile home park as defined in Health and Safety Code Section 18214.1, 100 feet from a mobile home that is under separate ownership.

G.     Cultivation of Marijuana is prohibited on any Parcel or Premises located within the following areas:

1.     Upon any Premises located within 600 feet of any School, School Bus Stop, School Evacuation Site, Church, Park, Child Care Center, or Youth-Oriented Facility. Such distance shall be measured in a straight line from the Fence or other enclosure required by this Article to the nearest boundary line of the Premises upon which the School, School Bus Stop, School Evacuation Site, Church, Park, Child Care Center, or Youth-Oriented Facility is located.

2.     In any location where the Marijuana would be visible from the public right-of-way or publicly traveled private roads at any stage of growth.

3.     Within any setback area required by Section G-IV 5.4(G).

Greenhouses could qualify as accessory structures

Accessory structure is defined as “separate and legally permitted building or structure located on the same Legal Parcel as a Primary Place of Residence.” County Counsel Alison Barratt-Green stated that greenhouses can be considered as accessory structures if they conform with the county’s guidelines. This includes a provision that the greenhouse must be fully enclosed, secure and not visible from a public space, like a road.

Cultivation definition

For purposes of the County’s ordinance, the term “Cultivation” includes cultivating,
planting, harvesting, drying, processing or storing of marijuana. All other activities, including transportation or distribution “which are not expressly permitted by this Article are prohibited in the County of Nevada.

Limited update to comply with Prop. 64

Barratt-Green stated the update is only designed to comply as quickly as possibly with new state law. The ordinance will take effect 30 days after adoption, leaving a grey area between Jan. 1st and the date the ordinance becomes effective. However, “we will not enforce the [existing] ordinance,” Barratt-Green said.

She emphasized work on a permanent cultivation ordinance has not begun yet. The Board subcommittee, consisting of Supervisors Hank Weston and Richard Anderson, will present their plan for a stakeholder process to the full Board in early 2017. As of yet, no plans exist and no members of the public group have been selected.

The Board of Supervisors will hear the item on Tuesday, December 13, starting at 1:30 pm. A simple majority vote is required. The agenda item and supporting documents can be found here.