Public Safety

Board Expands Social Host Ordinance to Include Marijuana

Teenagers standing around drinking alcohol and smoking

The County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to amend its social host ordinance to add marijuana, so that as with alcoholic beverages, adults providing these substances to minors could be cited or arrested.

The social host ordinance puts civil and criminal liability on adults controlling private residences or properties who either do not properly supervise minors or allow minors to consume these substances.

The amendment is a result of marijuana being more readily available after the passage of Proposition 64, which made its use legal for adults over 21.

The Board will vote again on the item on May 21 after a second reading. If adopted by the Board that day, the amendments will become effective 30 days after the vote in the unincorporated areas of the county. The same penalties will apply.

Every municipality in the county and its unincorporated area have adopted “social host” ordinances, making it illegal to host underage drinking parties anywhere in San Diego County. Adults who violate the ordinances can be:

  • Cited or arrested
  • Fined $1,000 or more
  • Sent to jail for up to six months
  • Required to do up to 32 hours of community service
  • Billed for law enforcement services

To report underage parties involving alcohol or marijuana, contact your local police department, the Sheriff’s Department at (858) 565-5200 or Crime Stoppers Anonymous Tip Line at (888) 580-8477.

Local law enforcement agencies have increased enforcement of social host laws and have issued hundreds of citations in the last few years.

Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact