California State law allows local governments to regulate commercial cannabis activities in their respective jurisdictions. The City of Santa Clara is currently taking steps to implement local cannabis health and safety regulations to protect citizens and conform with new state regulations.

The City will continue to update this webpage as part of our ongoing effort and encourages the public to participate throughout the process by attending meetings and offering constructive input.

Background: The Status of Medical/Recreational Cannabis

On June 27, 2016, the State enacted the Medical Cannabis Regulatory Safety Act (MCRSA) to protect residents’ use of medical cannabis and to establish regulations for personal and commercial medical cannabis activity.

On November 8, 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) to regulate personal and commercial non-medical marijuana activity. Proposition 64 passed by a State-wide margin of 57%, with 50.5% support in Santa Clara County, and 55.8% support in the City of Santa Clara.

Now, the State legislature SB 94, the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) combines and unifies regulations for both medicinal and non-medicinal commercial cannabis activities and the personal use of cannabis. Click this link to view SB 94:

On January 1, 2018 the State began issuing temporary commercial licenses for medicinal and non-medicinal cannabis. Many California cities and counties are now implementing local cannabis regulations. 

Current Efforts

The City of Santa Clara has taken several steps to address the complex and dynamic implementation process for limited and well-regulated local cannabis commercial activities. The City will continue to update its website to provide additional information and receive feedback. Please check the tentative schedule of the process below, as well as the News, Events, and FAQ sections of this webpage for more information.

In July, City Council took action to adopt Resolutions to call a Special Election to submit two ballot measures to the voters of Santa Clara. Measure M, also known as the "City of Santa Clara Commercial Cannabis Activity Measure" regarding a proposed cannabis business tax, was one of those two ballot measures. Measure M passed on November 6, 2018. The ballot question for Measure M read as follows:

Measure M
CITY OF SANTA CLARA COMMERCIAL CANNABIS ACTIVITY MEASURE: To maintain fiscal stability/essential city services, including rapid 911 emergency response times; preventing cuts to police officers/firefighters; repairing streets/potholes; maintaining library/youth/senior services, shall an ordinance be adopted establishing a tax on commercial cannabis up to 10% of gross receipts and up to $25 per square foot for cultivation, generating approximately $2,200,000 annually until ended by voters, with annual independent audits, and all funds used locally?

Below is additional information pertaining to Measure M:

Resolutions Submitting the Ballot Measure M to November 6, 2018 Special Election

Argument in Favor of Measure M

City Attorney's Impartial Analysis of Measure M

Tentative Timeline of the Process

  • February 12, 2018: Cannabis Community Outreach Meeting - Evening Session
  • February 15, 2018: Cannabis Community Outreach Meeting - Day Session
  • May 29, 2018: City Council Meeting
    • Report on Work Effort Related to New City Cannabis Regulations: Health & Safety Ordinance; Regulatory Fee and Tax Proposal; and Land Use Ordinance
  • May 30, 2018: Cannabis Community Outreach Meeting
  • June 14, 2018: Cannabis Community Outreach Meeting                
  • July 16, 2018: City Council Meeting     
    • City Council adopted a Resolution calling for a Special Municipal Election on November 6, 2018 for a vote on a ballot measure which would amend Title 3 "Revenue and Finance" of the Code of the City of Santa Clara by adding a new Chapter entitled "Cannabis Business Tax."    
  • November 6, 2018: Passage of Measure M
  • February 19, 2019: City Council Meeting
    • Public Hearing/General Business on Commercial Cannabis Policy Implementation Updates                
  • April 24, 2019: Planning Commission Meeting
    • Public Hearing/General Business on Action on an Amendment to Zoning Code Section 18.102.010 - Commercial Marijuana Activity Prohibited
  •  May 7, 2019: City Council Meeting
    • Action on an Amendment to Zoning Code Section 18.102.010 - Commercial Marijuana Activity Prohibited (First reading of Ordinance)
  • June 30, 2019: End of City's temporary ban on commercial cannabis activities, unless Council adopts Amendment to Zoning Code Section 18.102.010 to extend the temporary ban. 
  • City Council meetings dates to be determined:
    • First and second reading of Business Licenses and Regulations Ordinance
    • First and second reading of Health and Safety Ordinance
    • First and second reading of Zoning Ordinance
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