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County Administrator's Office

Sonoma County Cannabis Program


Sonoma County Cannabis Program 750

Required Permits and Inspections

Cannabis cultivation sites include locations where cannabis is planted, grown, harvested, dried, cured, graded, or trimmed. Those interested in operating a cannabis cultivation site will require the following:

Cannabis Land Use Permit

Indoor and Mixed Light Zoning Permits

Outdoor Zoning Permits – Up to and Including 10,000 Square Feet

  • The Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures issues outdoor cottage permits in the agricultural zones (Land Intensive Agriculture or LIA, Land Extensive Agriculture or LEA, and Diverse Agriculture or DA) and outdoor grows up to 10,000 square feet in the LEA and DA. Zoning permits are ministerial and will be issued once it can be verified that the operation meets all the standards within the ordinance.

    See Cannabis Permits from Agriculture, Weights & Measures

Outdoor Use Permits – 10,001 Square Feet or More

  • A use permit is a discretionary permit and Permit Sonoma will review each application and condition on a case-by-case basis. Each permit is subject to public notification and environmental review. A minor use permit may be approved administratively without a public hearing if one is not requested by the public.

    Application: Cannabis Cultivation Permit Application PJR-123

Building, Well and Septic Permits

As applicable, from Permit Sonoma

Trip Generation Form

As applicable, from Permit Sonoma

Fire Prevention Permits, Review, and Inspection 

As applicable, from Permit Sonoma

Fire Prevention will review all Cannabis Cultivation applications with structures meeting certain criteria and be responsible for inspecting and monitoring for compliance. This also includes:

Cultivation Inspection 

The Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures is responsible for inspecting all cultivation sites, whether the operator’s permit is issued by Permit Sonoma or the Department of Agriculture.

Business or Operator Requirements

 The following is true for all cannabis permits:

  1. Operators and employees must be at least 21 years of age
  2. Operators shall be subject to background searches
  3. Local hiring preference for business
  4. Compliance with occupational safety requirements (Cal/OSHA, wage and hour laws, etc)

Site Development Criteria

  1. Required adherence to Building Code and Grading Ordinance
  2. Property Setbacks (outdoor and mixed light) - 100 feet from property lines, 300 feet from occupied residences and business on adjacent properties, 1,000 feet from a school providing education to K-12 grades, a public park, childcare centers, or an alcohol or drug treatment facility (park setback may be reduced with a use permit when a physical equivalent separation exists.)
  3. Property Setbacks (indoor) - setback 600 feet from a school providing education to K-12 grades
  4. Biotic Assessment required for sensitive habitat areas
  5. Cultivation shall not be located on slopes that exceed 15%
  6. No tree removal (unless subject to a use permit)
  7. Protection of prime farmlands- no conversion of agricultural land unless mitigated
  8. Cultural and historic resource protection- avoid or mitigate impacts to resources
  9. Vegetation and fencing required for screening

Pre-Operational Requirements

  1. Site Security Plan required
  2. Odor filtration systems required (indoor/mixed light)
  3. All lighting shall be fully contained and not visible from neighboring properties
  4. Stormwater Management Plan and Erosion and Sediment Control Plan required
  5. All scales must be registered by the Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures
  6. Fire Prevention Plan required
  7. Waste Management Plan required
  8. Waste Water Discharge Management Plan required
  9. Renewable Energy requirements- must be 100% renewable (via power company or on site) or carbon offsets purchased (generators are prohibited)
  10. Water Supply- on site water provided by municipal, surface, or well water. Within zone 4 there shall be no net increase in water use through implementation of conservation methods

Ongoing - Operational Requirements

  1. Annual permit requirement
  2. Annual inspections required
  3. Groundwater monitoring required
  4. Noise Limits - must not exceed noise limits within the General Plan

Pesticide Use

In accordance with the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has updated its guidelines for the use of pesticides in the cultivation of cannabis. The updated guidelines provide criteria for: (1) pesticides that cannot be used in cannabis cultivation, and; (2) pesticides that are legal to use on cannabis under state law.

To view DPR’s updated guidelines for cannabis cultivation, please see:

For additional information on DPR and cannabis, including updated contact information for county agricultural commissioners and important information for hydroponics stores, please visit: