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What Is Ordinance 925 (Riverside County)?

Posted in Drug FAQ'S on July 6, 2018

California has some of the most progressive marijuana laws in the nation. Starting in 1996, the tide began to turn when California voters allowed for the legalization of medical marijuana and decriminalization of possession. Again in 2016, the state’s position on marijuana use relaxed drastically when it passed Proposition 64, or the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Under this law, anyone over the age of 21 may lawfully possess, consume, and purchase up to 28.5 grams of marijuana, either in a private residence or in a place licensed for the consumption of marijuana.

For many people, the passing of these Acts was a relief. First, decriminalizing marijuana unburdened an overloaded court system and saved time for prosecuting more serious offenses. Many people serving time for nonviolent drug crimes could face release from prison for time served. Additionally, the passing of the recreational marijuana law took a burden off law enforcement and aligned state law with current public opinion regarding marijuana use.

On the other hand, not all areas of the state recognize Proposition 64. Many people don’t realize the municipalities can set their own rules and ordinances with regard to marijuana use. Ordinance 925 of Riverside County is one of these rules.

What Are the Terms of Ordinance 925?

Few people understand the true terms of Proposition 64. Under the recent rule, which went into effect in 2018, every city and county within California has the right to impose reasonable restrictions regarding the cultivation of cannabis for personal use. While the law cannot ban the cultivation of at least 6 plants, it can set other terms regarding cannabis growth.

Riverside County’s Board of Supervisors approved the passing of Ordinance 925 one year before voters passed Proposition 64. Under the ordinance, no person may cultivate cannabis within the unincorporated area, i.e., outside of city boundaries. Since Ordinance 925 remains in effect today and passed before Proposition 64, the following elements apply:

  • No one may cultivate cannabis in unincorporated Riverside County, beyond limited exceptions outlined in the Ordinance.
  • The limited exception rule exists for qualified medical marijuana patients and their primary caregivers. These individuals are exempt from enforcement of Ordinance 925. Under this rule, medical cannabis patients and their caregivers can grow up to 12 plants for medical purposes only, on their own parcel of land.

If a person cannot meet every requirement for exemption listed above, then he or she becomes subject to the rules of Proposition 64. Under this law, a person who owns a property and is at least 21 years of age can grow up to six plants inside in a fully enclosed area under lockdown. No one else may grow cannabis on the property. In addition, no one may own or operate a cannabis dispensary in unincorporated Riverside County

What Does This Mean for Riverside County Residents, Exactly?

Ordinance 925 of Riverside county has a few implications for both consumers and business owners. Some of them include:

  • Consumers who live in unincorporated Riverside county must travel to another area to purchase recreational marijuana.
  • Dispensaries may not operate within the unincorporated area.
  • Cultivators cannot grow marijuana in the area, unless it’s only six plants in a contained, locked area indoors, and for personal use.

Under Proposition 64 and other laws decriminalizing the possession of marijuana, it’s unlikely that violating Ordinance 925 will lead to jail time. Still, offenders could face fines or other civil penalties. Residents of unincorporated Riverside County should take care to follow the laws outlined in Ordinance 925 to avoid any potential negative consequences. Exemptions exist only for patients with medical marijuana cards and their primary caregivers, but even these parties should use caution.