How to Get a Cannabis Business License in California

Cannabis Business License California

How to get a Cannabis Business License in California

The cannabis industry in California is gaining force, with more and more people wanting to be a part of the cannabis movement. If you want to be part of it too, you may be wondering how to get a cannabis business license in California.

The cannabis industry is very changing when it comes to its regulations, California is not the exception. And after the new normal, with COVID-19 still around, cannabis businesses are now deemed as “essential”, so this can be your chance to hop into a booming industry.

However, the truth is there are still hoops to jump through, so it is vital that all individuals looking to participate in the industry are somewhat aware of the regulatory framework.

Are the Cannabis Business License Applications Open in California?

The business license application window will depend entirely on which market you’d want to operate in. In this sense, below you will find an overview of some of the markets that are currently accepting applications, this is not a complete list, in case you want more information regarding what other markets are available, you should contact a professional:

Market Status Population Licenses
Benicia Ongoing application process 28k –       Cultivators

–       Distributors

–       Manufacturers

–       Testing laboratories

–       Microbusinesses

Coalinga Open application for indoor cultivation, manufacturing, testing laboratories, distribution, nursery, and microbusinesses 16k –       Indoor cultivation

–       Manufacturing (Non-volatile and volatile)

–       Testing laboratory

–       Distribution

–       Nursery

–       Microbusiness

Hollister Open licensing for select business types 39k –       Cultivation

–       Manufacturing

–       Laboratory testing

–       Distribution

Marysville Open application process 69k –       Cultivation

–       Manufacturing

–       Testing laboratory

San Leandro Open application for manufacturing businesses 89k –       Manufacturing
San Luis Obispo County Open application process 283k –       Outdoor cultivation

–       Indoor cultivation

–       Non-storefront retailer

–       Distribution

–       Manufacturing

–       Nurseries

–       Testing Facilities

Santa Ana Open application process for cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, and laboratory testing businesses. 332k –       Cultivation

–       Distribution

–       Manufacturing

–       Laboratory testing

Stockton Each year new cannabis are issued via a lottery. One of the two licenses in each category is designated for social equity applicants 309k –       Retail storefront

–       Cultivation

–       Volatile Manufacturing

–       Microbusiness

–       Delivery

–       Non-Volatile Manufacturing

–       Distribution

–       Laboratory Testing



Types of Cannabis Business Licenses to Apply in California

  • Cultivation
    • Type 1 (specialty outdoor – small)
    • Type 1A (specialty indoor – small)
    • Type 1B (specialty mixed-light – small)
    • Type 1C (specialty cottage – small)
    • Type 2 (outdoor – small)
    • Type 2A (indoor – small)
    • Type 2B (mixed-light – small)
    • Type 3 (outdoor – medium)
    • Type 3A (indoor – medium)
    • Type 3B (mixed-light – medium)
    • Type 5 (outdoor – large)
    • Type 5A (indoor – large)
    • Type 5B (mixed-light – large)
  • Nursery (Type 4)
  • Manufacturing
    • Type 6 (Level 1 – Non-volatile)
    • Type 7 (Level 2 – Volatile)
  • Testing laboratory (Type 8)
  • Retailer (Type 10)
  • Distributor (Type 11)
  • Microbusiness (Type 12)

Cannabis Licensing in California

As of 2021, the state’s three licensing authorities have issued more than 10,000 commercial cannabis licenses to cannabis businesses throughout California. There are more than 9,700 active licenses, including more than 6,000 cultivators, 800 manufacturers and 700 retailers, more than 300 delivery services, 1,000 distributors, 200 microbusinesses, 150 transporters, 38 event organizers and 36 testing laboratories.

What are the number of Business licenses allowed for the Cannabis industry in California?

California didn’t set a statewide capped number of licenses, contrary to many other states in the United States.

Although it does not have a statewide limit for the number of licenses approved for adult-use businesses, the state left it to the cities, which may govern their own numbers.

Taxes in California for Cannabis

On November 8, 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64, Control, Regulate and Tax Adult use of Marijuana Act, which establishes:

  • Effective since November 9, 2016, certain sales of medical marijuana are exempt from the sales and use tax.
  • Effective since January 1, 2018, a 15 percent excise tax is imposed upon purchasers of all marijuana and marijuana products. Additionally, a tax on cultivators of marijuana was imposed as follow:
    • $9.65 per dry-weight ounce of marijuana flowers
    • $2.87 per dry-weight ounce of marijuana leaves

Immature plants (including clones) and seeds are excluded from the cultivation tax.

How can I start preparing my cannabis application

First of all, you need the right cannabis business plan.  As part of the program, you will clarify what kind of license you want to apply for, and what the main points of your business are.

When applying for a cannabis license in California or any state, the most important part of the process is going with the regulations when it comes to the application form. It is always smart to consult an attorney about the regulations in a specific state.

Not all the laws are the same across the US states, but most of them fall under the same category. Application requirements, data required, and specific information about your business should always be in hand when you apply for a dispensary license.

If you are not sure how to make your application complete, you can contact an attorney who will help you create the right plan for your application process when you want to start your own cannabis business.

If you want more information regarding what could you do in order to enter the cannabis industry in California, don’t hesitate to contact us.

If you want to be updated on the current state of Cannabis legalization, you should check out our map of marijuana legality by state.

Thomas Howard

Thomas Howard

Licensed to practice since 2008, Thomas Howard has represented numerous financial institutions in litigation to enforce their security interests.
Homegrown Cannabis Co's Cannabis Seeds
Thomas Howard

Thomas Howard

Licensed to practice since 2008, Thomas Howard has represented numerous financial institutions in litigation to enforce their security interests.

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