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Department of Health Services

Marijuana: Smoking and Vaping


Marijuana is now legal in California. Here are some things you need to know about smoking* marijuana in Sonoma County.

*Smoke means to inhale, exhale, burn or carry a lighted heated device, including the use of electronic smoking devices that creates an aerosol or vapor.

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Who is allowed to use medical and nonmedical marijuana?

Anyone age 21 or older can legally smoke, possess, purchase (see next section), give away, or consume marijuana. It is illegal to give marijuana to anyone under the age of 21, unless they have a valid medical marijuana card. It is illegal to sell marijuana to another person unless you are a permitted retailer.

When will retail sales of non-medical marijuana begin?

Retail sales for adult non-medical use will not begin until CA State licensed stores are in operation after January 1, 2018. Until then, individuals with a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana can continue to purchase at medical collectives or dispensaries. In Sonoma County (unincorporated), local permits (including a health permit) will be required of state licensed dispensaries.

Where can one smoke marijuana?

According to CA State law, one cannot smoke marijuana or marijuana products in any public place or in any location where smoking or vaporizing tobacco is prohibited. Sonoma County: Local laws regulating smoking may be stricter than CA law; this is true for most localities in Sonoma County. Read on for more information.

Is smoking marijuana permitted inside multi-unit housing (such as apartments, condos)?

Owners may forbid the possession or use of marijuana on their property; laws vary by city in Sonoma County.

Sonoma County laws regarding smoking in multi-unit housing whether one owns or rents:

  • Cotati, Petaluma, Sonoma and Windsor: no smoking or vaping medical marijuana as defined in the Municipal Code.
  • Rohnert Park and unincorporated County: smoking or vaping medical marijuana prohibited by state law.
  • Santa Rosa: vaping (not smoking) of medical marijuana is allowed.
  • Sebastopol: smoking or vaping of medical marijuana is allowed.
  • Cloverdale, Healdsburg and Windsor do not have multi-unit housing ordinances.

Is smoking medical marijuana in the workplace permitted?

No. Smoking medical marijuana is prohibited in any place where smoking tobacco is prohibited by law, whether state or local. Employers are not required by law to make accommodation of any medical use of marijuana on the premises of any place of employment or during the hours of employment.

Is smoking marijuana in outdoor public places permitted?

No. Smoking or vaporizing marijuana or any marijuana product is prohibited in public places and any place that is open to the public.

Is smoking marijuana in a car while driving or as a passenger permitted?

No. Smoking, consuming or possessing an ‘open container’ of marijuana while driving or riding as a passenger in any motor vehicle, boat, airplane or other vehicle used for transportation, including school busses, is prohibited.

Is smoking marijuana near a school or day care center permitted?

No. Smoking or vaporizing marijuana or marijuana products is prohibited in or within 1,000 ft. of schools, day care centers or youth centers.

Is smoking marijuana in a medical marijuana dispensary permitted?

No. Not unless authorized by local governments.

Is smoking marijuana permitted in hotels and motels in Sonoma County?

Owners may forbid the possession or use of marijuana on their property.

  • Sonoma County: The percentage of hotel rooms that must be smoke-free varies as follows:
  • Petaluma and Sonoma require 100% smoke-free.
  • Cotati, Santa Rosa and unincorporated County require 75% smoke-free.
  • Sebastopol requires 70% smoke-free.
  • Healdsburg requires 50% smoke-free.
  • Cloverdale, Rohnert Park and Windsor default to CA State law, which requires at least 80% smoke-free.

For more information please go to or call (707) 565-6680.