Santa Cruz County is located on California’s Central Coast, right on the Pacific. Santa Cruz County forms Monterey Bay’s northern coast. In the 2010 census, the population of Santa Cruz County was estimated at approximately 262,382. The seat of the county is Santa Cruz.
Marijuana Cultivation Laws in Santa Cruz County
Under California marijuana laws – which apply to Santa Cruz County residents as well – marijuana may be cultivated and processed by certain individuals with specific limitations. The individuals exempt from prosecution under California law are medical marijuana patients, caregivers of such patients, and operators of legal marijuana dispensaries.
Every patient is legally allowed 100 square feet of grow space and three pounds of bud if he or she possesses a state-issued medical marijuana ID card. Caregivers are also subject to the same limitations for every patient under his or her care. Owners of legal dispensaries are subject to similar laws that limit the amount of marijuana they can maintain for every legal patient. There us currently no limit on the number of plants or lamp wattage used. The unauthorized cultivation and processing of marijuana – that is, not by legal patients, caregivers, or dispensary owners – is a criminal offense that may merit a 16-month prison sentence.
Possession and Distribution of Marijuana in Santa Cruz County
Even if not authorized to possess marijuana, offenders will not be charged criminally for amounts less than 28.5 grams. This offense is a mere civil infraction that merits only a $100 fine. For cases involving possession in excess of 28.5 grams however, the offender may be liable for a 6-month jail term and a $500 fine.
Selling marijuana in any amount is illegal under California law, which means that it is illegal in Santa Cruz County as well. This is a felony offense that may get the offender 2 to 4 years in prison. This sentence is increased to 3 to 5 years if the marijuana is sold to a minor.