How to Get a Cultivation License in California
In the burgeoning cannabis industry of California, understanding the various types of licenses is crucial for anyone considering entering this business. One such license is the cultivation license, which allows an individual or a company to legally grow cannabis. There are several types of cultivation licenses, each with its specific guidelines and restrictions.
In this article, we will discuss the various types of cultivation licenses. We will also outline what steps you should take to file to obtain a license.
Types of Cultivation Licenses
The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) in California categorizes cultivation licenses into different types based on the size of the cultivation area and the lighting source used. Here are the different types of cultivation licenses:
- Specialty Cottage. This category includes three subtypes:
- Outdoor, which allows growing up to 25 mature plants or a canopy (the area where mature flowering plants are grown) of up to 2,500 square feet.
- Indoor, which permits a canopy of up to 500 square feet.
- Mixed-light tier 1 and 2, which allows a canopy of up to 2,500 square feet.
- Specialty. This category also has three subtypes:
- Outdoor, which permits up to 50 mature plants or a canopy of up to 5,000 square feet.
- Indoor, which allows a canopy between 501 to 5,000 square feet.
- Mixed-light tier 1 and 2, which permits a canopy between 2,501 to 5,000 square feet.
- Small. This category allows for larger operations, with both indoor and outdoor permits allowing a canopy between 5,001 to 10,000 square feet. It also includes a mixed-light license for businesses that are between 10,001 and 22,000 sq. ft.
- Medium. These licenses permit even larger operations:
- Outdoor, which allows a canopy from 10,001 square feet to 1 acre.
- Indoor, which permits a canopy from 10,001 to 22,000 square feet.
- Mixed-light tier 1 and 2, which allows a canopy from 10,001 to 22,000 square feet.
- Large. These licenses are for the largest operations:
- Outdoor, which allows more than 1 acre of total canopy.
- Indoor, which permits more than 22,000 square feet of total canopy.
- Mixed-light, which allows a mixed-light site with more than 22,000 square feet of total canopy.
- Nursery. This license is for cultivators that only grow clones, immature plants, seeds, or other types of cannabis used for propagation.
- Processor. This license is for cultivators that only trim, sift, cure, dry, grade, package, or label cannabis.
Which License Does Your CA Business Need?
While you know the size as well as the production and lighting source, you may be wondering whether you need an indoor, outdoor, or mixed-light license. Outdoor licenses are for cultivators who grow cannabis outside without using artificial lights on the mature plants. Indoor licenses are for those who grow cannabis in a permanent structure that uses at least 25 watts of artificial light per square foot.
Mixed-light licenses are for those that grow cannabis in the following types of buildings:
- Other similar structures
The Application Process
Obtaining a cultivation license in California is a multi-step process that involves careful planning, adherence to state regulations, and the payment of application and license fees. Once you have determined the type of license you need, you should then take the following steps:
- Complete the local permitting process. Before you can apply for a state license, you must first obtain local permits. This often involves zoning checks and environmental assessments. Proof of permission to operate from your local jurisdiction is required when applying for the state license.
- Collect proof that you legally occupy the property. You will need to show that you have the legal right to occupy the space where you intend to grow.
- Draft and review your operating procedures. You will need to submit a detailed plan concerning your business’s operating procedures.
- Submit to a background check. You will need to be fingerprinted to complete a background check. California law allows individuals with a criminal record to apply for a cannabis license. However, the DCC will review the nature of the crime, when it occurred, and the applicant’s behavior since the crime. Serious offenses, particularly those related to dishonesty or illegal drugs, may impact the decision. Such offenses include violent felonies, felony convictions of fraud, embezzlement, or deceit, drug trafficking convictions, and a felony conviction of an offense involving minors and trafficking controlled substances.
- Submit your application. Once you have all your documents ready, you can create a licensing account on the DCC website and submit your application.
The team at Purdy & Bailey, LLP can help with your cannabis business formation and operations. Should you wish to start a cultivation business, our team can help you understand how to obtain a license, zoning and permitting laws, and more.
Schedule a case consultation today. Call (858) 360-7080.