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For Immediate Release

Board of Supervisors strengthens penalties for illegal cannabis, establishes grace period for zoning violations by permitted operators

SANTA ROSA, CA | May 14, 2024

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted today to align civil penalties for unpermitted cannabis operations in unincorporated Sonoma County with state law, including a penalty of $1,000 per violation, separate violations for each plant above the personal cultivation limit, and escalated penalties for violations on multiple properties. The Board also approved a correction period of three calendar days to provide licensed and license-exempt cultivators, such as patients and caregivers, an opportunity to remedy zoning violations before civil penalties are imposed. 

The amended Cannabis Code Enforcement Ordinance, which is scheduled to go before the Board of Supervisors for a second reading on June 4, would, upon final approval, take effect July 4. 

“These amendments align the County’s daily penalty scheme with state law while maintaining prior penalty amounts,” said Supervisor David Rabbitt, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “It also provides a grace period for licensed individuals operating in good faith, consistent with state guidelines.”

Civil penalties for unpermitted cannabis land use range from $1,000 per violation up to a maximum civil penalty of $10,000 per day. The amount of the penalty depends on the seriousness of the violation, environmental impact, culpability of the violator and the impact on surrounding properties. Cannabis violations discovered on a separate property are treated as a second or additional violation, which escalates the civil penalty to up to $25,000 per day and then $50,000 per day when the violations occur within two years.

For more information about Sonoma County’s revised Cannabis Code Enforcement Ordinance, or other questions related to cannabis operations in Sonoma County, please email or visit:

Media Contact:
Dan Virkstis
(707) 565-3040