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Board of Supervisors Department

For Immediate Release

Cannabis Penalty Relief Program Extended

Santa Rosa,CA | September 14, 2017

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution on September 12, 2017, to modify and extend the Temporary Code Enforcement Penalty Relief Program for Cannabis businesses. This extension allows existing cannabis businesses to remain operational and avoid land use fines while providing additional time to meet the standards required to successfully obtain a local commercial cannabis cultivation permit.

“The extension of the Penalty Relief Program was approved by the Board in order to enhance compliance with the County’s Cannabis Program, and draw a bright line between those that want to join the regulated market, and those that do not,” explained Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Shirlee Zane. “Cannabis businesses that do not submit a penalty relief application form by October 31, 2017 will face code enforcement and stiff penalties."

The deadline for submitting an application and qualifying for the Penalty Relief Program has been extended from August 31, 2017 to June 1, 2018. However, in order to obtain penalty relief, eligible cannabis businesses are required to submit the one-page penalty relief application form by October 31, 2017. The extension of the Penalty Relief Program does not include an extension for operators on non-permit eligible parcels such as Agriculture and Residential District (AR) and Rural Residential District (RR) zoned properties. Cannabis businesses on these properties must cease all operations by January 1, 2018.

Supervisors Susan Gorin and Lynda Hopkins, who serve on the Board’s Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee, recommended the extension to the full Board of Supervisors.

“Extending the Penalty Relief Program provides the cannabis industry with a substantial incentive to come into the regulated market,” commented Supervisor Gorin. “We received significant feedback from the Cannabis Advisory Group as well as individuals that this extension is critical to the success of the Sonoma County Cannabis Program.”

“We believe there are a significant number of cannabis farmers who want to be compliant, but haven’t been able to meet our strict permit requirements under existing timelines,” added Supervisor Hopkins. “This extension will provide those who were unable to submit a permit by the original deadline another opportunity to join the regulated market, increasing the number of lawful operations in the County.”

Information on the Cannabis Program may be found by visiting the project website: For more information, please contact Sonoma County Cannabis Program Manager Tim Ricard, by phone at (707) 565-7257 or email at


Contact Information

Public Information Office, County Administrator's Office
County of Sonoma
(707) 565-3040