CALIFORNIA DISPENSARY REGULATIONS: WHAT RETAILERS NEED TO KNOW

At long last, it's here: California's commercial cannabis market. And while opportunity abounds, so does regulation.

If you're planning to launch a cannabis retail venture in the Golden State, or if you're a current medical dispensary owner transitioning to a new framework, it's important to understand that successfully applying for a license is only half the battle.

TEMPORARY LICENSING

Beginning January 1, 2018, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) - the agency responsible for overseeing and licensing cannabis retailers - will issue temporary cannabis retail operator licenses. These temporary licenses will allow retailers to commence commercial cannabis activity while their annual license applications are being processed.

+ HOW LONG CAN I LEGALLY OPERATE WITH A TEMPORARY LICENSE?

Temporary licenses will be valid for 120 days. The temporary license may be extended for an additional 90 days if a complete annual license application has already been submitted to the BCC.

+ HOW DO I APPLY FOR A TEMPORARY LICENSE IN CALIFORNIA?

To apply for a temporary retail license, you must complete and submit the temporary cannabis retailer license application or apply through the Bureau’s online licensing system.

+ WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A TEMPORARY RETAIL LICENSE?

The temporary license application requires a diagram of the retail premises as well as basic information related to you and your business. You’ll also need to indicate whether you’re applying for an adult-use or medicinal retail license; you may only apply for one license type per application. If you want to sell adult-use and medicinal cannabis, you’ll have to apply separately.

Most importantly, you’ll have to provide some form of authorization from your local jurisdiction to engage in commercial cannabis activity. This could be a business permit or simply a letter of support from the local government.

+ HOW MUCH DOES IT COST FOR A TEMPORARY LICENSING?

There are no application or licensing fees associated with the temporary license.

ANNUAL LICENSE

To apply for an annual (non-temporary) license, you must complete and submit the California cannabis retailer license application or apply through the Bureau’s online application system.

+ WHAT ARE THE ANNUAL LICENSING FEES?

There are two separate fees associated with the annual license. The application fee for an annual retail cannabis license is $1,000. The licensing fee depends on the estimated value of your planned retail operation, as follows:

  • Up to $500,000: licensing fee = $4,000
  • $500,000 to $1.5M: licensing fee = $12,000
  • $1.5M to $4.5M: licensing fee = $36,000
  • Over $4.5M: licensing fee = $72,000

+ WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR AN ANNUAL LICENSE?

Cannabis retailer application requirements include:

  • Business information including formation documents, financials, and plans for operating procedures
  • Detailed information regarding the physical retail location
  • A $5,000 bond payable to the State of California

+ WHAT LICENSE TYPE DO I NEED TO SERVE ADULT-USE CUSTOMERS AND MEDICAL PATIENTS?

Depending on the type of operation you plan to run, you’ll apply for an adult-use (“A-license”) or medicinal (“M-license”) cannabis retail license. If you want to sell both medicinal and adult-use cannabis from the same location, you’ll have to successfully—and separately—apply for both license types.

+ I ALREADY RUN A DISPENSARY IN CALIFORNIA; WILL I BE ABLE TO GET A RETAIL LICENSE UNDER THE NEW RULES?

Established medicinal dispensaries must go through the same application process as other applicants; however, priority licensing will be available to those who can demonstrate that they were operating in compliance with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 prior to September 1, 2016.

+ DO I NEED PERMISSION FROM MY LOCAL JURISDICTION TO OPERATE?

Yes. You must include a license, permit, or other form of approval from your local jurisdiction in order to be eligible for a temporary or annual license.

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CANNABIS EVENT LICENSING

Fact: the Golden State will be the leader in cannabis events. Here's what you need to throw a 420-friendly event

+ DO I NEED A LICENSE TO THROW EVENTS INVOLVING CANNABIS?

Yes. In order to apply for a temporary (one-time) cannabis event license, you must apply for and obtain a cannabis event organizer license.

+ DO I NEED A SEPARATE LICENSE FOR THE PREMISES FOR A CANNABIS EVENT?

The temporary cannabis event license requires written approval from the local jurisdiction authorizing onsite cannabis sales and consumption, and only licensed retailers may conduct cannabis sales at the event.

+ CAN I GET A CANNABIS EVENT LICENSE IF I HOLD A RETAILER LICENSE?

Yes, as long as you also successfully apply for a cannabis event organizer license.

 

Do you have questions regarding licensing? feel free to reach out, we'd love to help!

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