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Marijuana in Costa Mesa: What is Legal vs. Illegal

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  • What type of marijuana businesses are allowed in Costa Mesa?
    • Only manufacturing, testing and distributing. In November of 2016, the voters in the City of Costa Mesa passed Measure X, which created a new zone in the city’s northeast section of the city where businesses can conduct marijuana manufacturing, testing and distribution.
  • Can I legally buy marijuana in Costa Mesa?
    • No. The city has had an ordinance banning marijuana dispensaries since XX. Also. when Costa Mesa voters passed Measure X it included a prohibition on retail marijuana dispensaries being opened in the city.
  • Where can I legally buy marijuana in Orange County?
    • Currently, the only city in Orange County that allows for retail purchase of medical or recreational marijuana is Santa Ana, where several legal dispensaries operate.
  • Didn't voters legalize marijuana in California?
    • Yes, in November of 2016, voters statewide approved Proposition 64, which legalized recreational uses of marijuana. Medical marijuana has been legal since 1996 with the passage of Proposition 215. However, cities have a right to prohibit the sale of marijuana and Costa Mesa has a ban on marijuana dispensaries.
  • What is the city doing about illegal marijuana dispensaries?
    • The City of Costa Mesa’s code enforcement and public safety are working in concert with state cannabis control officials to shutdown illegal dispensaries in the city.
  • What happens to those owners of illegal dispensaries?
    • They are initially cited and ordered to cease operations. If they don’t adhere to the order, they are then cited further and fined and will ultimately be shut down by state and city authorities and face legal action. Click here for the status of those illegal dispensaries.
  • What if I know of an illegal dispensary?
    • Residents or business owners who suspect an illegal dispensary is operating in Costa Mesa are urged to report it via our website here or on our MyCostaMesa app.
  • Why has the city made this a priority?
    • Illegal dispensaries contribute to the black market of marijuana sales. The products they sell are not regulated and no sales taxes are collected, which was a provision of Proposition 64 that was approved by voters.


Click here to learn more about what types of marijuana businesses are allowed.

 Click here to report an illegal dispensary.