The State of Local Cannabis Policy in California Cities & Counties: 2022 Scorecards

As the legal cannabis market in California has grown enormously, local policy efforts to protect youth, public health and equity have lagged behind. PHI’s Getting it Right from the Start program annually reviews all of California’s 539 cities and counties and produces scorecards for those jurisdictions that allow retail cannabis sales, to educate policy makers and promote more protective rules.

cannabis in a jar on a table with a notepad

The legal cannabis market in California has grown enormously. What are communities doing to protect youth, public health and equity? These scorecards, produced by PHI’s Getting it Right from the Start, evaluate the policies passed by California cities and counties that allow cannabis sales, rating them on a 100-point scale.

The Scorecards highlight jurisdictions that are making positive steps in adopting cannabis regulations that protect youth, public health and equity—and demonstrate the gaps in protections in many other localities. This provides policymakers, health advocates and others the only comprehensive guide to understanding and comparing the policies and trends on cannabis regulations throughout the state.

Explore the Scorecards

Learn more: Review the scoring methodology; see best practices in action, explore scores by region; or view the full press kit and fact sheet.

Fall 2022 Updates

The 2022 Scorecards reveal that the statewide average score was 21 of 100 possible points (the same as last year) across all jurisdictions allowing storefront retailers, and only 11 for those allowing sale only by delivery—illustrating the enormous space for local action. See more highlights:

  • 76% of jurisdictions limit the number of allowed storefront retailers—one of the most important and widely adopted policies.
  • 58% have stronger buffers than the state minimum to distance stores from youth serving institutions or other sensitive use sites.
  • Backsliding on allowing on-site consumption in 44 jurisdictions, bringing back smoke-filled rooms.
  • Only 22 jurisdictions have ordinances that prioritize equity in hiring or licensing despite economic equity being a key rationale for legalization.
  • 165 jurisdictions have enacted local cannabis taxes, yet only 17 of those dedicate cannabis tax revenue to substance abuse prevention, youth education, or mitigating harms caused by the criminalization of cannabis.

SLO scorecard 2022

Model Policies for Local Governments

To assist local governments, Getting it Right from the Start offers model policies for cannabis retailing, marketing and taxation that cities and counties can adopt. They also offer complementary resources and expert technical assistance to state and local regulatory agencies, policymakers and their staff, as well as community organizations and advocates.

A chart from Getting it Right from the Start outlining their services


See previous scorecards

The 2021 Scorecards found that 173 of California’s 539 cities and counties allowed storefront sales of cannabis, and an additional 108 allowed sales by delivery only. Overall, local policy efforts to protect youth and public health lagged, with a statewide average score of only 17 out of 100 points across all jurisdictions allowing any form of retail sales. However, a few jurisdictions have adopted some protective rules, and overall there has been some positive movement since the release of the 2020 Scorecards. See the 2021 Scorecards.

Originally published by Getting it Right from the Start

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