California Marijuana Business Licenses

History of Marijuana in California

The state of California has been leading the nation in legalization of marijuana since the industry’s initial onset. Starting in the 1970s, voters in Berkeley, California passed Berkeley Marijuana Initiative I and II, which not only prohibited police officers from making marijuana-related arrests (unless they were 1st approved by the city council), but also made growing, possession, transportation, and sale of marijuana the police department’s lowest priority. In 1992, San Francisco, CA became the 1st city government to recognize marijuana for its medicinal uses. Shortly thereafter, California became the 1st state to legalize the use and sale of marijuana for medical purposes with voter approval of Proposition 215 in 1996. It wasn’t until January of 2010, when the state decriminalized the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to a misdemeanor and a civil infraction with the signature on SB 1449 by Governor Schwarzenegger.

In November 2010, legalization proponents attempted to create an adult-use market with Proposition 19. Unfortunately, it was defeated by a small margin (53.5% against; 46% in favor). It wasn’t until 2015, when the state of California began to draft a new set of regulations for a statewide medical marijuana program. The Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation established rules for growing cannabis and set fees, as well as licensing standards. Four years after Washington and Colorado set forth an adult-use market, Proposition 64, also referred to as the “Adult-Use of Marijuana Act,” was approved by voters in November 2016.

Types of California Cannabis Licenses

  • Cultivation – Type 1 (Specialty outdoor; Small)
  • Cultivation – Type 1A (Specialty indoor; Small)
  • Cultivation – Type 1B (Specialty mixed-light; Small)
  • Cultivation – Type 1C (Specialty cottage; Small)
  • Cultivation – Type 2 (Outdoor; Small)
  • Cultivation – Type 2A (Indoor; Small)
  • Cultivation – Type 2B (Mixed-light; Small)
  • Cultivation – Type 3 (Outdoor; Medium)
  • Cultivation – Type 3A (Indoor; Medium)
  • Cultivation – Type 3B (Mixed-light; Medium)
  • Cultivation – Type 4 (Nursery)
  • Cultivation – Type 5 (Outdoor; Large)
  • Cultivation – Type 5A (Indoor; Large)
  • Cultivation – Type 5B (Mixed-light; Large)
  • Manufacturer 1 – Type 6
  • Manufacturer 2 – Type 7
  • Testing Laboratory – Type 8
  • Retailer – Type 10
  • Distributor – Type 11
  • Microbusiness – Type 12

Applications for Cannabis Business Licenses in California

Currently, the Department of Cannabis Control is accepting applications for all cannabis business licenses; however, the locality in which an interested applicant wishes to locate its licensed premises, will determine his or her ability to apply.

As a brief overview of California’s application process, one must first complete local permitting process to ensure that area permits commercial cannabis activity. After an in-depth review of the Department’s regulatory guidelines, applicants must gather all required documentation and create all necessary Standard Operating Procedures (“SOPs”), agreements, etc. to apply. To disclose the applicant’s information to the state, the applicant must create an account with the applicable Department licensing system that corresponds to the license type the applicant is applying for. Once you complete your application and submit, the system will require you to pay the application fee, so the Department can process the application. For more information on the application and licensing fees, click HERE.

If you are interested in becoming a key player in California’s billion-dollar marijuana industry, contact us today to discuss your options!

Contact a California Marijuana Business License Consultant

For those interested in joining California’s billion-dollar marijuana market, now is the time to work with a Team of California cannabis business consultants to prepare to apply. Contact us today to discuss your options!

Last Updated: July 10th, 2023

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