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Resource Management Agency


Planning Services
1441 Schilling Place
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 755-5025
(831) 757-9516

Although every effort is made to provide complete and accurate information on this website and all its documents, users are advised to contact applicable County Resource Management Agency staff before making project decisions and fee estimates.

Cannabis Permitting Information

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To learn more about the Monterey County Cannabis Program, please visit the official Monterey County Cannabis Program website.

Outdoor Cannabis Cultivation Pilot Program

The County has begun preparation of an outdoor cannabis cultivation pilot program.
The pilot program under development would establish permit requirements and regulations for limited outdoor commercial cannabis cultivation activities in the Big Sur Land Use Plan area, Carmel Valley Master Plan area, and Cachagua Planning areas only.

Additional limits and qualifications within the program are being considered for incorporation within the program.
Information about efforts associated with the program are provided in the links below.

Disclaimer: Preparation of this pilot program does not authorize any new commercial cannabis uses or activities at this time. Anyone caught engaging in commercial cannabis activities without the required permits will be subject to enforcement and could be disqualified from permitting in the future.


Draft Outdoor Cannabis Cultivation Pilot Program Ordinances


Documents and Information:

Upcoming hearings:

  • June 18, 2019 Board of Supervisors Hearing (Coming Soon)

Anyone interested in receiving notice of hearings on this matter should email Craig Spencer at With your email please include your name, a written request for notice of pilot program hearings, and an email address and/or mailing address at which you can be contacted.



Permit Information

For permits for cannabis activities in Monterey County, there are two main categories: Personal use (not for sale) and Commercial use (for sale).

Personal Cultivation

Chapter 7.95 of the Monterey County Code requires an annual permit for the personal cultivation of cannabis by any qualified patient or primary caregiver. Personal cultivation may not exceed 100 square feet of canopy area on any one parcel. To obtain a permit for personal cultivation, an applicant must submit an application with the following information:

  1. Contact information (phone, email, and mailing address);
  2. A 24 hour or nighttime contact phone number;
  3. Written proof that the applicant is 18 years old or older;
  4. A site map showing the location, size, and setback from property lines of the cultivation on the property including the Assessor’s Parcel Number;
  5. Evidence of ownership of the parcel or permission to cultivate on the parcel from the property owner; and
  6. Evidence demonstrating where the cultivation is to occur, including information that the cultivation will take place in an area 100 square feet total canopy area or less, and will not exceed 10 feet in height (note: plants shall not be visible from off-site and should be located within a lockable fenced area or enclosed accessory structure on the site).

Annual renewal of the Personal Medical Cannabis Permit is free provided there are no changes or violations from the previous year. The State does not require a permit for personal medical cultivation. With the adoption of Proposition 64 (Adult Use of Marijuana Act), up to 6 plants may be grown for personal use. The County may subsequently adopt policies for personal recreational/adult use cannabis cultivation under the new state law.

Please Note: Monterey County will comply with all relevant laws regarding public records and protection of sensitive information.


Commercial Cannabis

 All cannabis businesses within the unincorporated areas of the County must obtain and maintain the following permits:

  1. A Use Permit (in the Inland zones) or Coastal Development Permit (in the Coastal zone) from the Monterey County Resource Management Agency – Planning Division;
  2. A Commercial Cannabis Permit pursuant to Chapter 7.90 of the Monterey County Code from the Monterey County Resource Management Agency;  (Type "A" for adult-use, Type "M" for medicinal use.)
  3. A Business License if and when applicable, from the Monterey County Treasure/Tax Collector; and
  4. All applicable State licenses.


Use Permit/Coastal Development Permit
Typical Use Permit and/or Coastal Development Permit applications, procedures, and fees apply. Cannabis related land use permits will begin with a Development Review Committee (DRC) application. Materials submitted with the application should address those items listed in Section 21.67.100 of the Inland zoning ordinance (Title 21) or Section 20.67.100 of the coastal zoning ordinance (Title 20). Application materials must also address requirements specific to the type of cannabis business activity requested.

Cannabis operations must be located in the appropriate zoning district and may not be located within 600 feet of a school, park, or drug recovery facility. Please note: all cultivation must be within an existing warehouse or greenhouse that was legally established before January 1, 2016, and all operations and development must comply with all relevant County land use and development standards.

Inland requirements can be found here:


Commercial Cannabis Business Permit
Chapter 7.90 of the Monterey County Code requires all cannabis businesses located in the unincorporated areas of the County to obtain and maintain a Commercial Cannabis Business Permit. This is an annual permit with requirements similar to the State licensing requirements. A Commercial Cannabis Business Permit may only be issued to a business operating on a property approved for cannabis uses through a Use Permit or Coastal Development Permit. Background checks, hazmat or food handling permits, and specific security measures will be addressed as part of this Permit. The Permit must be renewed annually and any new business partners, employees, or land owners that were not included in the previous year’s permit renewal process will need to pass background checks for the annual renewal. As part of the regular compliance inspections, the County may conduct site inspections to ensure compliance with relevant regulations, laws, and permits.

Application materials for a Commercial Cannabis Business Permit must contain all of the information required by Section 7.90.050 of the Monterey County Code. Chapter 7.90 can be found here:

The fee for a Commercial Medical Cannabis Permit application is a deposit fee. The County will track time invested on each permit application and refund the amount of the deposit not used or bill the applicant if County costs for processing the permit exceeds the deposit amount. A fee for renewal of a Commercial Cannabis Business Permit will be due annually.The most current fee schedule for all permits can be found here:


Business License
The Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance requiring an annual business license. Business Licenses are not issued until all required County approvals (Use Permit/Coastal Development Permit and Commercial Medical Cannabis Permit) and State licenses, when applicable, have been obtained. Fees and application requirements are established by the Treasurer/Tax Collector for Business Licenses and may be found on their website here.

State License(s)
Pursuant to State Law, a license to operate a commercial cannabis business became required starting January 1, 2018. Commercial Cannabis Business Permits will not be approved or renewed without evidence of a state license.For more information on unincorporated Monterey County cannabis permits, visit our frequently asked questions. For information regarding State Licensing, please visit the frequently asked questions on the State of California website:



On November 8, 2016, Monterey County voters approved a tax on cannabis businesses in Monterey County (Measure Y). Pursuant to Chapter 7.100 of the Monterey County Code, commercial cannabis businesses (medical or adult/recreational) will be required to pay taxes as of January 1, 2017, as detailed below. Paying the cannabis tax does not permit a cannabis business operation under state law or the Monterey County Code. Tax rates within Chapter 7.100 are summarized below. These rates are subject to change through action by the Board of Supervisors but maximum tax rates cannot be exceeded without voter approval.

County Cannabis Business Tax




All Other Cannabis Businesses

Year 1 (1/1/2017)

$15/square foot

$2/square foot

5% of Gross Receipts

Year 2 (7/1/2018)

$15/square foot

$2/square foot

5% of Gross Receipts

Year 3 (7/1/2019)

$15/square foot

$2/square foot

5% of Gross Receipts

Year 4 (7/1/2020)

$20/square foot

$3.50/square foot

7.5% of Gross Receipts

Year 5 (7/1/2021)

$25/square foot

$5/square foot

10% of Gross Receipts

Year 6 (7/1/2022)

$25/square foot + CPI

$5/square foot + CPI

10% of Gross Receipts (No CPI)

Year 7 Onward

Prior Year + CPI

Prior Year + CPI

10% of Gross Receipts (No CPI)


Board Adopted Cannabis Regulations 
A permit is required for all cannabis activities in Monterey County. Permit applications for cannabis activities began being accepted on December 7, 2016.


Updates to Regulations for Cannabis Setbacks

  • Title 21 Inland Zoning Ordinance Amendment
  • Resolution of Intent for Coastal Areas


New Registration Required for All Cannabis Businesses Currently Operating


Related Information: