San Bernardino County Code Enforcement Cannabis Program

2022 NACo Achievement Award Winner

San Bernardino County, Calif., CA

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About the Program

Category: Criminal Justice and Public Safety (Best in Category)

Year: 2022

Cannabis Enforcement Program – San Bernardino County prohibits commercial cannabis cultivation in its unincorporated areas. The County code allows for a limited number of cannabis plants to be grown for personal use, but cultivation is explicitly prohibited for commercial purposes. The issue of illegal cannabis cultivation has dramatically risen in the last 2 years in San Bernardino County. Outdoor grows have increased from below 200 in early 2020 to over 1200 sites in late 2021. The majority of these grows operate in the County's desert region due to abundant and inexpensive vacant land available in these areas. The increase in outdoor grows has contributed to the increase in crime in many of these desert communities as criminal organizations have found a new revenue source. In addition, there are environmental impacts associated with this activity as these growers conduct illegal grading of sensitive habitats to clear the land for these grows, drill illegal wells to water their crops, and use illegal pesticides to tend to their plants. The County's Cannabis Enforcement Program provides a systematic approach to enforcement of the County's cannabis codes. Two specialized code enforcement teams collaborate with law enforcement and work towards compliance and restoration of these cannabis grow sites.