Posted on: Oct 20, 2014By Michael Cindrich

Legal Marijuana Cultivation Laws in San Diego

Cultivation of marijuana is permitted in San Diego, California so long as the cultivation follows specific guidelines set forth for medical marijuana patients and caregivers. It is still a felony in California for anyone to cultivate marijuana who is not a patient under Prop 215 or a primary caregiver for someone in need of medical relief from marijuana.  It is also still a felony under federal law to cultivate any amount of marijuana.

If you plan to grow marijuana, for medical use especially if done anywhere other than indoors, you absolutely must be aware of the limits and regulations imposed on growing medical marijuana under Prop 215.

Senate Bill 420 (SB 420)

Senate Bill 420, enacted in 2003, provides the baseline for other municipalities to work from. SB 420 suggests that state and local governments limit cultivation to six mature plants, or 12 immature plants, and possession of 8 ounces of dried marijuana. Because medical marijuana is regulated at the state level, Senate Bill 420 provides some insight as to how most states and local governments will limit marijuana cultivation. Some cities, San Diego included, have opted to allow larger growing operations in order to ensure that patients in need are able to access medicine without worry.

San Diego Marijuana Cultivation Plant Limits

State and local governments are permitted to set their own enforcement laws regarding growing marijuana and possession. Locally, here in San Diego, patients are permitted to cultivate 24 plants contained indoors within 64 square feet. Outdoor cultivation is not permitted, unless the grow operation is enclosed and locked in a greenhouse type structure or within an enclosed fence at least 6 ft high.

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Where local guidelines offer more lenient protection at the State level, one must still be wary of federal laws and regulations whenever dealing with marijuana cultivation.

Patients and Primary Caregivers

Cultivation is absolutely not permitted for anyone but the Prop 215 patient or their primary caregiver. At no time should any other person be involved in the cultivation of marijuana. This includes having friends help trim or prepare plants, water or tending to the plants in any way, shopping for supplies or other paraphernalia, etc. Without the protection of Prop 215 and Senate Bill 420, anyone else involved in the growing of marijuana is at great risk of serious criminal offenses. Most likely, non-medical offenders will be prosecuted under Health & Safety Code § 11357 – 11362.9. Particularly § 11358: “Every person who plants, cultivates, harvests, dries, or processes any marijuana or any part thereof, except as otherwise provided by law, shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code.”

A patient is considered exempt from criminal prosecution under state law so long as the grower maintains a valid Prop 215 medical recommendation, and the amount cultivated is reasonably necessary for the patients’ current medical needs. For information on complying with Prop 215, consult with an experienced marijuana attorney.  DO NOT rely on the advice of your doctor or dispensary operator.

To consult with a physician, you can find one using NORML’s medical marijuana physician search, or the marijuana doctor search  tool. You may also find information at your local medical marijuana dispensary.

Under Prop 215, primary caregivers must be designated as a caregiver for the patient. The caregiver may then cultivate and administer medical marijuana to the patient without fear of state criminal prosecution in California.

Large Scale Marijuana Growing Laws in San Diego

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San Diego’s current limits of 24 plants, grown indoors, is likely enough for most patients. If you are planning to grow more than a few plants for personal use, it is highly recommended you do in-depth research beyond this article to be sure you are not running afoul of any marijuana regulatory laws that could land you in hot water. A well informed medical marijuana attorney can help you along in the process of forming all the necessary entities, tax documents, and membership agreements that would allow for larger operations such as a collective or cooperative growing.

Growing on a larger scale does not permit you to circumvent any set limits or personally grow more than the allowed amount. It simply may allow you to pool resources with other patients and caregivers to cultivate medicinal marijuana in the most cost effective and efficient manner.