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Residential Medical Marijuana Cultivation
On September 13, 2011, the South Lake Tahoe City Council adopted Ordinance 1032 (large file) setting forth procedures for the cultivation of medical marijuana in a residence. Cultivation is limited to personal use and use by a primary caregivers’ patients. 
Report a suspected illegal Marijuana Growing Operation
  • Follow this link to Report a Suspected Growing Operation
  • Or call Secret Witness at (530) 541-6800
  • Once complete, the form will automatically be submitted to City Officials
  • Reports can be made annoymously

Obtaining A Residential Cultivation Permit

How to apply
  • Complete the application packet.
  • Renters must include a notarized letter in their application from the property owner granting approval for the cultivation inside the residence.
  • Deliver the completed application to the Building Official to City Office at 1052 Tata Lane, South Lake Tahoe, California (office hours are M-F, 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM).
  • The Building Official will review the application and plans, visit the property, and either approve the permit, require changes to the Grow Area and amend the permit, or deny the permit application.
  • Contact the Building Official at 542-6010.

Residential Cultivation Regulations
  • Submit application for residential permit to the Permit Center.
  • Initial permit fee: $350
  • Annual inspection fee: $217.00
  • Maximum residential “grow area” is 10% of square footage of residential living area (does not include garage), not to exceed 200 square feet per parcel. Regardless of the total square footage of the residence, the maximum allowable 'grow area' is no more than 200 square feet.
  • The grow area includes all associated activities related to the cultivation and use of marijuana.
  • $1,000 per day penalty (fine) for failure to obtain permit.
  • Permittee (person who obtains the permit) must be the primary resident who lives at the location of the cultivation permit.

"Grow Area"
  • The location of the Grow Area must approved by the City's Building Official; it can be inside the residence, inside a shed, or inside a garage.
  • Maximum "Grow Area" is 10% of Residential Living Space, but not to exceed 200 square feet. All related activities (including bagging, drying, cutting etc) must be contained within the "Grow Area" of the residence.
    • Example: Home is 1,200 square feet, garage is 300 square feet. Total potential permitted Grow Area would be 10% of 1,200, or 120 square feet. Garages are not included in calculating living space.
    • Example: Home is 2,500 square feet of living space, plus 500 square feet in detached shed, plus garage of 500 square feet. Total allowable Grow Area is 200 square feet (maximum allowable by City Ordinance). 10% of living space is 250 square feet, which exceeds the maximum allowable; therefore the potential permitted Grow Area would be 200 square feet. In addition, garages, sheds, attics, etc., are not included living space calculations.
    • Example: Someone owns two homes and would like to cultivate in both. Answer: Not permitted under the City Ordinance. Permit is one per residence and the permittee (person who applies) must be the primary resident of the location of the cultivation.

  • When a non-permitted grow is reported and verified, citations will be issued immediately by the City's Building Official, Fire Marshal or Law Enforcement. 
  • $1,000 per day fine will be assessed for cultivating marijuana without a permit. 
  • For violations of residential cultivation permits, an appeal process is set forth in the Residential Cultivation Ordinance.
  • Building Code Abatement process will be followed for all marijuana abatements which the Building Department or Fire Marshall pursues.