Business Licensing & Conditional Use Permits for Cannabis


In order to operate a marijuana business in California, you need to know and comply with the myriad state, county, and local laws that regulate the cannabis industry in California. It can be challenging to navigate this multi-step process. Our team of knowledgeable and experienced San Diego cannabis business attorneys is here to help you successfully navigate the constantly shifting marijuana legal landscape so that you can focus on making your business thrive.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin to consider what you might need to do to get your business up and running:

Obtaining a Local Conditional Use Permit for a Cannabis Business

Before you can even apply for a cannabis business license with the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), you will need to apply for and be granted the permits required by your local city or county. Some municipalities do not allow marijuana business within their jurisdiction, so it is crucial that you choose a locality that allows commercial cannabis activity.

Most municipalities will use a conditional use permit process to consider your application to operate a marijuana business. A conditional use permit allows you to use a property in a way that is not automatically granted by zoning and land use ordinances. To use your property for a cannabis business, you must have permission through a conditional use permit. During the permitting process, citizens and business owners in the surrounding area will be given the opportunity to speak for or against the addition of your business at a public hearing.

A reputable cannabis business attorney can help you through your local permitting process so that you are thoroughly prepared to meet all your municipality’s rules and regulations.

Obtaining California State Licensing for Marijuana Businesses

After you have applied for a local permit, you will need to apply for a California state license through the Department of Cannabis Control. The state of California issues several types of licenses depending on the kind of marijuana business you plan to operate, including:

  • Retailer (Storefront) – Type 10
  • Retailer (Non-storefront) – Type 9
  • Distributor – Type 11
  • Distributor (Transport Only) – Type 13
  • Manufacturing – Type 7, 6, N, P, and S
  • Cultivation – Type 1, 1A, 1B, Type 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 5A, and 5B
  • Microbusiness – Type 12
  • Testing Laboratory – Type 8
  • Event Organizer

To apply for a state marijuana business license, you will need to do the following:

  • Familiarize yourself with the DCC’s requirements for cannabis businesses.
  • Collect all the necessary documentation for the licensing process.
  • Create a licensing account with one of DCC’s three licensing systems, depending on the specific license type for which you are applying.
  • Complete your license application and pay your application fee.

Obtaining a local conditional use permit and a business license to operate a cannabis business in California can be an involved and drawn-out process. While the marijuana industry can be lucrative, it can be tough to navigate without a seasoned cannabis business legal team behind you. Marijuana regulations at the state and local level are complex and constantly changing, and it is critical that your business operates in compliance with them from the very start.

If you are thinking about opening a cannabis business in the San Diego area and wondering where to start, call Purdy & Bailey, LLP at (858) 360-7080 today for a free consultation.
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