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Obtaining a Cannabis Business License in California

by Roger Tower on February 29, 2020
Obtaining a Cannabis Business License in California

Cannabis Business Licenses in California 

Although the Golden State was the first in the U.S to legalize medical marijuana in 1996 paving the way for the regulated cannabis industry to take off years later, it wasn’t until 2018 when the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) and the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act joined (MCRSA) forces to create the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA). 

Two years later, the regulated cannabis industry has gone through various changes and obstacles including struggling to compete with a thriving marijuana black market and constant changes in regulations. 

Here’s what you need to know about cannabis licensing in California in 2020: 

Licensing Authorities 

There are currently three licensing authorities in California in charge of issuing and regulating commercial cannabis licenses. 

Governor Newsom recently revealed a proposal to consolidate all licensing agencies into one in efforts to simplify the regulatory system, but these changes won’t take effect until 2021. 

The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) 

The BCC is responsible for licensing cannabis retailers, distributors, testing labs, and microbusinesses.  

CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing 

CalCannabis is a branch of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). They are tasked with licensing and regulating cannabis cultivators. 

Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch 

The Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch is part of the California Department of Public Health. They regulate and license all commercial cannabis manufacturing in the state ensuring that they meet safety guidelines and follow proper procedures. 

Type of Cannabis Business Licenses You Can Apply For in California 

In California, it is required to have a license to conduct commercial cannabis activity. Depending on what kind of cannabis business you’re conducting, you’ll need to obtain a license that applies to you. 

  • Cannabis Cultivation Licenses 
  • Cannabis Manufacturing Licenses
  • Cannabis Testing Licenses
  • Cannabis Retail Licenses 
  • Distribution Licenses 
  • Transportation Licences 
  • Microbusinesses

What To Do if You Want to Obtain a Cannabis Business License in California

Commercial cannabis activity is allowed in California with an active license, however, cities and municipalities have the freedom to decide whether they allow cannabis businesses to operate within their jurisdiction. 

Before beginning the application process for a cannabis business license in California, there are several steps to take. 

-Check city requirements for where you want to operate. 

-Obtain all the necessary permits.

-Get local approval. 

-Prepare all necessary documents required depending on the type of license you’re applying for.  

If you’re not sure where you stand in the licensing process, contact us to schedule a consultation. WeCann has helped over 60 businesses get licensed in various municipalities. We tailor our services to each client based on their needs and offer a full suite of services and packages to help cannabis businesses thrive in California. 

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