Cannabis Business Regulations

City Council Meeting - Commercial Cannabis Ordinance

At the regularly scheduled November 21, 2017 City Council meeting, the City Council will consider introducing a Commercial Cannabis Ordinance based on the City Council's input from the October 3, 2017 study session.  The agenda for the meeting is available here.

City Council Study Session - October 3, 2017

On October 3, 2017 the City Council held a study session to discuss and hear public input regarding a draft of an ordinance regulating cannabis businesses in El Cerrito.  

community meeting regarding regulations for cannabis-related businesses -- SEptember 13, 2017

On September 13, 2017 at 6:30 p.m., in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, the City of El Cerrito will hold a community meeting to receive public input regarding an update to the City’s regulations for cannabis-related businesses. 

This community meeting will provide an opportunity for interested parties to share input about what regulations are appropriate for El Cerrito.  After the meeting, staff will develop a draft ordinance based on the City Council’s direction, public input, and best practices.  The City Council will conduct a study session on the draft ordinance in October. 

If you are not able to attend the September 13th community meeting, you may send comments to Senior Planner Sean Moss.

Council Presentation and Possible Direction on Marijuana Regulation -- April 18, 2017

Last year, the City began a process to evaluate whether the City Council should lift and/or modify the City’s ban on medical marijuana dispensaries (enacted in 2006) and ban on cultivation and delivery of marijuana (enacted in 2016).

On April 18, 2017 the City Council will hear a presentation and provide direction to staff regarding regulation of marijuana in the City of El Cerrito.

Download the meeting agenda.

At the meeting, the Council will be presented with a preliminary potential framework for regulation of marijuana. If the City Council favors the framework—with or without modifications—staff will prepare an ordinance to implement the City Council’s direction, after holding an additional public workshop to obtain feedback about the framework.

Download the presentation (PDF), which includes
  • a background of regulation of marijuana in the United States
  • a summary of the recent public process related to marijuana regulation in El Cerrito
  • poses questions for the City Council for discussion of possible changes to the City’s regulation of marijuana.

Public Comments

The City Council encourages public participation in City matters and welcomes public comment on any matter under the City Council's jurisdiction.

If you wish to speak at the meeting, please submit a speaker card at the beginning of the meeting. Remarks are limited to 3 minutes per person, however, the Mayor may reduce the time limit per speaker depending upon the number of speakers. If you plan to submit written materials during the council meeting, please bring 10 copies for distribution.

If you cannot attend the Council meeting, you can watch it live, either online on our Streaming Media page, or on Comcast cable television channel 28.

Council meetings are rebroadcast on channel 28 on Thursday of the same week at 12:00 noon, and again the following Monday at noon. The online video is usually archived within 3 business days of the meeting and available on our Streaming Media page.

Community Meeting - Fall 2016

Thank you to everyone who attended the community meeting on September 12, 2016 to provide information and give feedback.
Download the presentation
Download the notes from the group exercises
Download summary of comment cards from meeting

On December 6, 2016, staff presented an informational update to the City Council including a summary of the community meeting.

Overview of Marijuana Business Regulations


: California’s Medical Marijuana Program Act established possession limits for medical marijuana, a voluntary medical marijuana ID card program at the county level, and the right of patients to cultivate marijuana collectively. The act resulted in the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state.

Licensed medical marijuana dispensaries currently operate in the nearby cities of Richmond and Berkeley, as well as elsewhere in the east bay area.


The El Cerrito City Council prohibited medical marijuana dispensaries in El Cerrito.


California’s Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) established the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation and created a State and local permitting process for medical marijuana businesses and cultivation and also regulated physician recommendations for medical marijuana.


California Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, was passed by California voters, which:
• Legalizes marijuana under state law, for use by adults 21 or older.
• Imposes state taxes on sales and cultivation.
• Provides for industry licensing and establishes standards for marijuana products.
• Allows local regulation and taxation.

Under the new State law, as of November 9, 2016, it is legal for individuals to use and grow marijuana for personal use. However, the AUMA requires a state license to engage in commercial nonmedical marijuana activity and licensing authorities will not begin issuing licenses before January 1, 2018.

City can adopt business or land use regulations prohibiting or regulating commercial nonmedical marijuana businesses, which will be honored by the state. (State licensing authorities will not issue a license to a commercial nonmedical marijuana business if operation of the business violates a local ordinance of the jurisdiction in which the business will operate.)

Cities can ban the delivery of commercial nonmedical marijuana within their jurisdiction.

Cities can also ban commercial cultivation, personal outdoor cultivation, or retail sales of marijuana, however, this would make the city ineligible to receive state grant monies funded through the new state excise taxes established by AUMA.

Note: Marijuana use and cultivation remains illegal under federal law.

Keep Informed

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