Cannabis (Marijuana) Regulations

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With the passing of Proposition 64 legalizing the use of cannabis for both medicinal and non-medicinal use in California, the City has begun the process of determining what the future of cannabis will look like in Novato. Our goal is to collect information through workshops, surveys and public hearings that will help shape the policies and regulations related to cannabis.

As of January 1, 2018, all non-medicinal cannabis businesses must have a state license to operate. However, a state license may not be issued to businesses which violate the provisions of any local ordinance or regulation. Local ordinances can regulate outdoor cultivation, retailers, dispensaries, and delivery services for cannabis.

Community Outreach & Engagement

As part of our community outreach to develop our local ordinance(s), City staff conducted a series of community workshops to provide an overview of the cannabis industry, discuss current laws and regulations, explain the roles of code enforcement and law enforcement, respond to community questions and feedback, and get community feedback to identify key issues and concerns.

See the Community Meetings & Workshops section on this page for meeting topics, dates, times, locations, and recordings.


Personal Cultivation
At its meeting of October 2, 2018, the Novato City Council adopted regulations for the personal cultivation of cannabis within city limits.  The Council authorized indoor cultivation of up to six (6) plants per residential property, regardless of the number of occupants.  Indoor cultivation is allowed both within a residence and also within a “Fully Enclosed and Secure Accessory Structure,”   which is a detached accessory building that has a roof, a foundation, solid walls which are not transparent or breakable.  These might include an accessory art studio, office or pool cabana, but not a greenhouse.  
The ordinance approved by the City Council contains several restrictions including:
• Plants cannot be visible from the street or adjoining properties at ground level
• The cultivation area may not be accessible by minors
• Any building modifications, including electrical or structural changes, must have approved building permits
• Grow lights cannot exceed 1,200 watts per fixture
• A ventilation and filtration system is required for odor control
• The use of generators is prohibited
• Renters must obtain written authorization from the property owner(s) to cultivate

 Note: The City Council did not authorize outdoor cultivation (either open air—such as a yard or garden, or within non-secure and enclosed accessory structures such as greenhouses or hoop structures) within City limits for personal use.

Background Information

The passing of Proposition 64 legalized the use of both medicinal and non-medicinal cannabis consumption and sales for adult-use. In response to Prop. 64, the City of Novato adopted a moratorium (Ordinance No. 1629 & Ordinance No. 1633) that prohibits all outdoor and indoor cultivation of cannabis, excluding the exception under Prop. 64 that permits the cultivation of six (6) plants indoors for personal use (subject to the property owners permission). Additionally under these ordinances, the City provides an exception to the moratorium for CB Labs, Liposome Formulations, and deliveries of medicinal cannabis from out-of-city businesses.

The current moratorium is scheduled to expire November 15, 2018. Prior to the expiration of the moratorium, staff will collect input and feedback from the community through meetings, workshops and surveys for the creation of a permanent ordinance and regulations to be considered by the Novato City Council.

Contact Info

Michael Antwine
Assistant City Manager

Bryan Lopez
Management Analyst




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