Commercial Cannabis

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While California legalized cannabis (marijuana) with the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016, it is up to each municipality to decide if and how commercial cannabis retail, manufacturing, cultivation, events, and testing should be conducted in their communities. To date, the City of Monterey has not allowed for commercial cannabis retail, manufacturing, or cultivation. In our region, the cities of Seaside, Del Rey Oaks, and Marina, and the County of Monterey (unincorporated areas of Carmel, Big Sur, Moss Landing, et al.) have allowed commercial cannabis operations. In 2020, the City of Monterey began to consider a change in policy that

While California legalized cannabis (marijuana) with the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016, it is up to each municipality to decide if and how commercial cannabis retail, manufacturing, cultivation, events, and testing should be conducted in their communities. To date, the City of Monterey has not allowed for commercial cannabis retail, manufacturing, or cultivation. In our region, the cities of Seaside, Del Rey Oaks, and Marina, and the County of Monterey (unincorporated areas of Carmel, Big Sur, Moss Landing, et al.) have allowed commercial cannabis operations. In 2020, the City of Monterey began to consider a change in policy that could allow commercial cannabis activity.

At the December 1, 2020 City Council Meeting, staff provided a Roadmap to Cannabis, with the goal of "Getting it Right the First Time." The sections and links on this page provide an outline for commercial cannabis in the City of Monterey and are based on the road map foundation.

On December 15, 2020, the City Council passed a new ordinance amending the City Code to allow agricultural testing laboratories (including cannabis testing) as a conditionally permitted use in the I-R Zoning District. Basically, this will allow prospective testing laboratories to apply for a conditional use permit for cannabis testing labs. The City Planning Commission reviews use permits through a public hearing process that includes public noticing and meetings. This new law is effective on January 14, 2021.

For more background on California Cannabis Legislation, please visit the California Cannabis Portal at https://cannabis.ca.gov/ While the legislation begins at the state level, each City has the opportunity to enact its own Cannabis laws and regulations based on many factors, including what's the best for a particular community as a whole. The City of Monterey began this process in 2018.


  • The City of Monterey has undertaken a phased approach to developing and implementing regulations to allow for various types of commercial cannabis businesses within the City.  The City currently allows cannabis testing sites in the Ryan Ranch Industrial Zone only but is now considering revisions to its municipal code and zoning code that would allow for storefront “walk-in” retailers.  There are currently no storefront retailers in Monterey, but these are all located in industrial zones where storefront retailers may not be allowed to operate.  Storefront cannabis retailers could be located one or more different business districts in Monterey. 

    The City

    The City of Monterey has undertaken a phased approach to developing and implementing regulations to allow for various types of commercial cannabis businesses within the City.  The City currently allows cannabis testing sites in the Ryan Ranch Industrial Zone only but is now considering revisions to its municipal code and zoning code that would allow for storefront “walk-in” retailers.  There are currently no storefront retailers in Monterey, but these are all located in industrial zones where storefront retailers may not be allowed to operate.  Storefront cannabis retailers could be located one or more different business districts in Monterey. 

    The City is seeking input from the community to help guide this process.  This survey should take about 5 minutes to complete.  Data from the survey will be compiled and the overall results will be used to assist the strategic planning process.  Please submit your completed survey by 11:59 p.m. on February 7, 2021.  All responses will remain anonymous.  A separate postcard survey (no postage necessary for return) is also being sent to Monterey voters around January 30, 2021.  We encourage residents to take both surveys.

    For each question, please select the answer that best reflects your position, values or beliefs regarding potential commercial cannabis businesses in the City of Monterey.  Thank you for taking the time to have your say!

    Take Survey
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