Cannabis Licenses in California
The State of California is revamping the entire licensing process, as well as the available licenses, for cannabis businesses of all types. The interest of CA is in protecting the public, as well as coming up with a solid system for taxing the marijuana industry and businesses. The state has a very strong interest in making sure that the money from this industry is taxed and is used by the state.
Currently, there are existing medical cannabis dispensary licenses, and those will continue. However, there is a host of new licenses starting in 2018 for growers, testing facilities, transportation and for dispensaries (for both medical and retail sale).
Who issues Medical Cannabis Licenses In California?
The State of California created the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation and Licensing. They asked that agency of the State to develop regulations in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. The CA Cannabis Bureay will also conduct research, and convene meetings of members of the public, people currently in the marijuana business, and even other state agencies to develop the regulations necessary to successfully implement a medical cannabis regulatory structure in California.
They intend to use the current alcohol license system in California, the standards used in California’s wine industry, and existing and current medical marijuana growers and dispensary permits, to build a new system for retail marijuana for sale to every adult in California.
What about people that have current Medical Marijuana Permits – will they require new medical recommendations?
Under the new system, it is intended that any qualified patient who cultivates, possesses, processes, or transports medical marijuana exclusively for his or her personal medical use is not required to get a license. Since growth indoors limited to six plants, and possession for personal use is legal, it is not a major concern to California. Caregivers who provide care to five or fewer medical cannabis patients are also not required to be licensed.
When are the new marijuana licenses available in California?
Many thought that licenses would already be available for application at the time of the writing of this page (August 2017). However, the Board keeps pushing back the time period to release the procedures and regulations. Some say that information will begin to come out in October 2017, and the Board itself “anticipates that regulations will be developed by January 1, 2018” . Since the law requires licenses to be released on January 2, 2018, the January 1 date would be the latest that those licenses could be available.
Those that are interested in getting a license should get your information and business structure ready now (which includes incorporating, finding suppliers and a building location, and cleaning up your criminal record) rather than later.
How will cannabis businesses be licensed in California?
The new marijuana laws in California going into effect will create a dual licensing system between local cities and counties and the State. Your new business will be required to obtain a city cannabis permit, an Orange County cannabis permit, or both a city and county license, permit, or other authorization, before your business can apply for a state license.
What kind of cannabis business license will you need?
The type of license you need will depend on your business and what capabilities you desire. The Act limits the different types of licenses that one person may hold.
You can hold a dispensary license for marijuana, or a transportation license, a cannabis growers license, or a state testing lab license, but the law prohibits in certain cases you from holding more than one license. You can hold several of the same types of licenses (for example, if you have dispensaries in different locations), but are limited as far as holding different types of licenses.
What cannabis license types will be available in California?
The California Cannabis and Marijuana Act requires licenses for any of the following activities related to the plant:
- Laboratory testing, and s
- Sale of retail or medical cannabis.
Who issues cannabis licenses in California?
- The Department of Food and Agriculture is responsible for issuing cultivation licenses.
- The Department of Public Health is responsible for issuing manufacturing licenses; and the
- The Bureau of Cannabis Regulation within the Department of Consumer Affairs is responsible for issuing distribution, transportation, laboratory testing, and dispensary (sale) licenses.
How can you apply for a license from the appropriate agency?
None of the bureaus or departments in the State of California re issuing state licenses at this time., and they won’t be accepting applications for licenses until 2018.
The Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation has promised to give priority to existing medical cannabis collective operations, but under the new laws, you must get a city or county permit first and then apply for the State License. We recommend obtaining a location, a city permit, and then prepare (incorporate, and get suppliers and procedures ready for your location), so that you can be first in line during the rush of applications on January 2, 2017.
The bureau says that:
In issuing licenses, the Bureau will prioritize any entity that can demonstrate to the Bureau’s satisfaction that the entity was in operation and in good standing with the local jurisdiction by January 1, 2016, as required by the Act.
We can help contact your local government regarding the rules and requirements applicable to cannabis activities in your city or county.
How long will marijuana licenses or cannabis licenses be good for before they must be renewed?
California law requires each license to be renewed annually, so your license will be good year by year as long as it is renewed.
What if your city prohibits all or certain medical cannabis businesses?
If a local jurisdiction bans all or a specific form of medical cannabis business, then, under the law, a business is not allowed to operate in that jurisdiction. Until your city’s laws change, you will not be allowed to operate at all legally in your city.
How much will licensing fees for cannabis businesses cost?
Unfortunately, no one knows the answer to how much cannabis licenses will cost. In addition to being subject to taxation, each license will ave an annual fee. The various agencies have not determined what the fees for the state licenses that will be issued by the agencies will be, but they are expected to be several hundreds of dollars a year.
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