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The question of what to do about cannabis has been one Anaheim has faced for years.

As it is now, city regulations prohibit the sale, commercial cultivation and processing of recreational or medical cannabis in Anaheim.

Our City Council in early 2020 expressed an interest at looking at a potential change in this ordinance and putting the issue to the voters. 

Of course, any change would come with strict regulation on location and operation of any dispensaries or other operations.

City Council action on June 9

At the June 9, 2020 regular meeting, the City Council considered the first and second steps in the three-step process toward legalizing, taxing and regulating commercial cannabis distribution, manufacturing, cultivation, retail sales, deliveries and testing laboratories. 

The three steps required are:

  1. Approval of a city ordinance allowing commercial cannabis in Anaheim, including detailed regulations.
  2. A general tax measure imposing a tax on all cannabis businesses, approved by voters.
  3. Development of an application process and selection criteria for businesses that wish to open and operate in Anaheim.

All of these must be approved by the City Council for cannabis sales to move forward in Anaheim. On June 9, the City Council voted not to approve the proposed ordinance and voted to indefinitely delay a vote on the proposed tax measure. 

At this time, progress toward legal cannabis in Anaheim awaits further council direction.

The proposed tax measure presented June 9 would have imposed an up to 6 percent tax on all cannabis sales, and a tax of up to $12 per square foot for cannabis cultivation businesses.

Under the proposed city ordinance presented June 9, cannabis businesses could operate only in industrial zones, and no cannabis businesses could be located within 600 feet of schools, day care centers, youth centers, public libraries or public parks. 

Here is a map of Anaheim’s industrial zones:

Industrial areas map for web 5-12-20
Permits for cannabis retailer sites, indoor cultivation sites, manufacturers and distribution locations would be limited to 20 in each category. The proposed ordinance does not place a cap on testing laboratories. 

Read the proposed city ordinance legalizing and regulating cannabis here. Read the staff report here.

Read the proposed cannabis business tax ordinance hereRead the staff report here.


Even with changes statewide, previous City Councils voted to prohibit cannabis operations, believing that allowing them wasn’t the right move at that time.

You can see Anaheim’s current ordinance regulating medical cannabis here.

You can see the city’s current ordinance regulating recreational cannabis here.

Despite being prohibited, Anaheim continues to see 10 to 15 dispensaries operating at any given time in violation of our ordinance.

We expend police and code enforcement resources to address this. We even cut power and water to these facilities as soon as we are able to do so.

But for each dispensary we close, we see another crop up.

That has led some to ask whether Anaheim should change our rules and allow a limited number of dispensaries and processing operations with strict regulation to operate away from homes, schools and parks.

The taxes they would pay go toward city services.

Hearing from you

So the question comes down to weighing these two options. Should we legalize and license cannabis sales and operations in Anaheim or continue to ban them?

We know there are many opinions on this issue. So we continue to welcome your input.

If you’d like to share your thoughts, please email with the subject line "Cannabis."

We’ll provide more details here as we get them.