CA NORML Guide to Marijuana Laws

Oakland Cannabis Regulation and Revenue Ordinance

(Text of Oakland Measure Z Tax and Regulate / Lowest Enforcement Priority ballot initiative submitted to City Clerk Feb 19, 2004; approved by 65% of Oakland Voters Nov.2, 2004)

Section 1:  TITLE
Oakland Cannabis Regulation and Revenue Ordinance

Section 2:  FINDINGS
The people of Oakland, California find as follows:

it is a goal of the people of Oakland to keep drugs off the streets and away from children, and to eliminate street dealing and violent crime; and

each year California spends over $150 million enforcing cannabis (marijuana) laws, expending valuable law enforcement resources that would be better spent on fighting violent and serious crimes; and

medical and governmental studies have consistently found cannabis to be less dangerous than alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; and

otherwise law-abiding adults are being arrested or imprisoned for nonviolent cannabis offenses, clogging our courts and jails; and

controlling and regulating cannabis so that it is only sold by licensed businesses would undermine the hold of street dealers on our neighborhoods; and

in the face of the severe state and local budget crises, the revenues from taxing and licensing cannabis would help fund vital Oakland city services; and

the current laws against cannabis have needlessly harmed patients who need it for medical purposes, and impeded the development of hemp for fiber, oil, and other industrial purposes; and

WHEREAS it is the hope of the people of Oakland that there will be state and federal law reform that will eliminate the problems and costs caused by cannabis prohibition;

the people of the City of Oakland do hereby enact the following ordinance establishing the cannabis policy of the city.

Section 3:  DEFINITION
"Cannabis" - Means "marijuana" as currently defined in California Health & Safety Code Section 11018.

Section 4:  PURPOSE
The purpose of this ordinance is:

a) To direct the City of Oakland to tax and regulate the sale of cannabis for adult use, so as to keep it off the streets and away from children and to raise revenue for the city, as soon as possible under state law.

b) To direct the Oakland Police Department to make investigation, citation, and arrest for private adult cannabis offenses the lowest law enforcement priority, effective immediately upon passage of this ordinance.

c) To advocate for changes in state law (and at other levels as necessary) to authorize the taxation and regulation of cannabis and eliminate criminal penalties for private, adult cannabis use.

Section 5:  REGULATION
The City of Oakland shall establish a system to license, tax and regulate cannabis for adult use as soon as possible under California law. At that time, the City Council shall promulgate regulations that include, but are not limited to, the following provisions consistent with California law:

a) The sale and distribution to minors will be strictly prohibited;

b) The city shall establish a licensing system for cannabis businesses, with regulations to assure good business practices, compliance with health and safety standards, access for persons with disabilities, and nuisance abatement;

  Minors shall not be permitted in areas where cannabis is sold, nor shall minors be employed by licensed cannabis businesses;

d) No business licensed to sell cannabis will be located within 600 feet of a school;

e) Cannabis businesses shall be required to pay taxes and licensing fees;

f) The public advertising of cannabis through television, radio, or billboards will be prohibited; and

g) Onsite consumption shall be licensed so as to keep cannabis off the streets and away from children, subject to reasonable air quality standards.


a) The Oakland Police Department shall make investigation, citation, and arrest for private adult cannabis offenses Oakland's lowest law enforcement priority.

b) This "lowest law enforcement priority" policy shall not
apply to distribution of cannabis to minors, distribution or consumption of cannabis on streets or other public places, or motor vehicle violations.


A Community Oversight Committee shall be appointed to oversee the implementation of the Oakland Cannabis Regulation and Revenue Ordinance.  The Committee will be composed of:

1 community member appointed by each member of the Oakland City Council,
1 community member appointed by the Mayor of Oakland,
1 representative of the Oakland City Auditor,
1 representative of the Oakland City Manager.

Responsibilities of the Committee shall include:

a) Ensure timely implementation of this ordinance;

b) Oversee the implementation of the Lowest Law Enforcement Priority policy;

c) Make recommendations to the Oakland City Council regarding appropriate regulations, in accordance with Section 5 above;
d) Oversee the disbursement of revenues generated through the sale of cannabis by licensed cannabis businesses to ensure that funds go to vital city services such as schools, libraries and youth programs; and

e) Report annually to the Council on implementation of this ordinance.


The City of Oakland shall advocate, through its lobbyist and other city officers, for changes to state law (and laws at other levels of government as necessary) to support the goals and implementation of this ordinance.  Legislative changes to be advocated include:

a) Allow for the taxation and regulation of cannabis for adults;

b) Grant local control to cities and counties to license and regulate cannabis businesses, and collect appropriate fees and/or taxes; and

c) End the prosecution, arrest, investigation and imprisonment for adult, private cannabis offenses.

If any provision of this ordinance or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the ordinance and the application of such provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.



Submitted by Dale Gieriinger for the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance

CA NORML 2215-R Market St. #278 San Francisco CA 94114 (415) 563-5858