Unincorporated Areas in SLO County
The County Board of Supervisors sets cannabis-related policies and serves as the legislative arm for the unincorporated areas of the County, which are outlined on this page. Those areas include:
Adelaide, Cholame, Lake Nacimiento, Oak Shores, San Miguel, Shandon, Whitley Gardens, Baywood Park, California Men’s Colony, Cal Poly State University , Cambria, Cayucos, Cuesta-by-the-Sea, Cuesta College, Harmony, Los Osos, San Simeon, Avila Beach, Country Club, Edna-Los Ranchos, Edna Valley , Rolling Hills Estate, Shell Beach, Squire Canyon, Sunset Palisades, Black Lake Canyon, Callendar-Garrett, Cuyama, Halcyon, Huasna-Lopez, Los Berros, Nipomo, Nipomo Mesa, Oceano, Palo Mesa, California Valley, Creston, Garden Farms, Pozo, Santa Margarita
Personal Cannabis Cultivation: Six cannabis plants, grown indoors, per dwelling unit, for personal use, are exempt from obtaining a land use permit. Six cannabis plants, grown indoors, per site, by a caregiver are exempt from obtaining a land use permit. Caregivers are required to obtain a County business license. No outdoor personal or caregiver cultivation is allowed.
Cannabis Dispensaries: Cannabis dispensaries are limited to delivery-only dispensaries (mobile deliveries) requiring a Type 9 State license. Dispensaries with storefronts open to the public, requiring a Type 10 State license, are prohibited. Dispensaries may be permitted in the Agriculture (AG), Commercial Service (CS), Industrial (IND), Residential Rural (RR), and Rural Lands (RL) land use categories subject to a land use permit. Dispensaries in the AG, RL, and RR land use categories are limited to only those products grown or manufactured onsite.
Commercial Cannabis Cultivation: Commercial cannabis cultivation may be permitted in the Agriculture (AG), Rural Lands (RL), Residential Rural (RR), and Industrial (IND) land use categories, with certain restrictions including minimum site size and setback requirements. For the first year, only those applicants who have an approved cooperative/collective registration under Ordinance 3334 can apply for a land use permit for commercial cannabis cultivation.
On AG zoned sites between 10 and 25 acres, up to two outdoor operations per site are permitted. On AG zoned sites greater than 25 acres, three outdoor operations per site are permitted. Outdoor cultivation on RL zoned sites is limited to one operation per site. All indoor cultivation is limited to 22,000 square-feet per site. This can be achieved by one operation or multiple operations. An operation is limited in size to a single State license. A cultivator may transfer their operation to another property, but must obtain a new land use permit.
Cannabis Nurseries. Commercial cannabis nurseries may be permitted in the Agriculture (AG), Rural Lands (RL), Residential Rural (RR), and Industrial (IND) land use categories. There is no limit to the number of permitted nurseries in the County.
Cannabis Manufacturing. Non-volatile cannabis manufacturing facilities may be permitted in the Commercial Service (CS) and Industrial (IND) land use categories, and in the Agriculture (AG) land use category with cannabis grown onsite. Manufacturing of cannabis utilizing volatile methods is prohibited (Type 7 State licenses). Manufacturing facilities are prohibited from manufacturing cannabis edible products that resemble people, animals, insects, or fruit.
Cannabis Testing Facilities. Cannabis testing facilities may be permitted in the Commercial Service (CS) and Industrial (IND) land use categories.
Cannabis Distribution Facilities. Cannabis distribution facilities may be permitted in the Commercial Service (CS) and Industrial (IND) land use categories. This land use type applies to applicants seeking standalone warehouse-type facilities to operate as a third-party distributor.
Separation from Sensitive Uses. All permitted cannabis activities are required to be separated at least six-hundred (600) feet from any pre-school, elementary school, junior high school, high school, library, park, playground, recreation or youth center, licensed drug or alcohol recovery facility, or licensed sober living facility. Distance shall be measured from the nearest point of the property line of the site that contains the cultivation to the nearest point of the property line of the enumerated use, using a direct straight-line measurement. Cultivation and nurseries are required to be separated one-thousand (1,000) feet from the above uses, but can request a modification.
Water. A 1:1 water offset is required for cannabis cultivation and cannabis nurseries in areas with a Groundwater Basin at Level of Severity, unless a higher offset is required by CEQA review through the land use permit process. The water offset scan be achieved through a County-approved water conservation program for the respective basins. Cannabis activities cannot use trucked-in water as a source of water for the activity.
Air Pollution Control District. The Air Pollution Control District (APCD) has determined that all cannabis processing facilities are subject to permitting requirements and must complete and submit an application for an Authority to Construct (ATC) prior to operation. The APCD's Cannabis Manufacturing/Processing Application can be found on the APCD website along with other application requirements.
For general information, please call (805) 781-5011.
For land-use questions, please call the County Planning and Building Department at (805) 781-5600.
For business licensing and taxation questions, please call the Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office at (805) 781-5831.
For agriculture resources, pest management, pesticide use information and weights & measures, please call (805) 781-5910 for assistance.