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Winning a Commercial Cannabis Retail License in California

by wecann on March 30, 2020
Winning a Commercial Cannabis Retail License in California
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Know the Cannabis Licensing Agencies in California 

First things first. Businesses looking to obtain a commercial cannabis retailer license must know which licensing authority they need to submit their application with. In California there are three cannabis licensing authorities. 

The Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch, a part of the California Division of Public Health (CDPH). This branch is responsible for licensing cannabis manufacturers in California. 

CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing is a division of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and is tasked with issuing commercial licenses to cannabis growers and implementing California’s track-and-trace system which records any commercial cannabis transactions. 

Finally, the Bureau of Cannabis Control is the agency in charge of licensing cannabis retailers, distributors, testing labs, and microbusinesses in California. This is where prospective cannabis retailers will submit their license applications. 

If you don’t know which one applies to you, schedule a consultation with us and we can help you move forward in the application process. 

Types of Cannabis Retailer Licenses 

When submitting an application, applicants will choose between Adult-Use (A-License) or Medicinal (M-License). 

There are also two types of cannabis retailers, a non-storefront or a storefront retailer. 

If you will be selling or delivering cannabis products to consumers you must have a licensed premises that will be open to the public. A non-storefront retailer may only conduct sales by delivery. 

A storefront retailer may sell cannabis goods from a licensed premises as well as through a delivery service. 

Preparing the Required Paperwork 

Before submitting an application for a retail cannabis license, it’s important to have all the necessary forms and paperwork completed. This is where it can get a little tricky. It’s often very difficult to have all of this done alone, which is why consulting with an experienced cannabis licensing firm can help you expedite this process. 

The cannabis retailer license application form requires applicants to provide detailed paperwork including documentation proving that the premises meet required state guidelines, evidence of compliance with the California Environmental Equity Act, a seller’s permit number issued by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, and detailed business and ownership information. 

For assistance submitting a cannabis retailer license application, contact WeCann and schedule a consultation

Licensing Fees 

It’s safe to say that acquiring a commercial cannabis license of any type is going to cost a pretty penny. In California, licensing fees are determined by the licensee’s estimate of the gross revenue for the 12-month licensed period. 

If you want to know the estimated costs associated with a commercial cannabis license, get in touch with one of us to schedule a consultation. 

Location, Location, Location! 

This part gets a bit challenging. When submitting an application for a commercial cannabis retail license, applicants must include detailed information regarding the premises where they plan to operate. 

Commercial cannabis real estate in California is in high demand. Finding properties in “green zones” is not an easy task. Properties must not be located within a 600-foot radius of a school, day care, or youth center. 

This, combined with the fact that counties have jurisdiction over how many commercial cannabis licenses they issue and where they are allowed to operate, can make the search somewhat overwhelming. 

If you’re looking for commercial cannabis real estate, visit our listings site. Our team searches for properties in “green zones” and we advise our clients who are looking to expand in the future. 

What WeCann Help You With 

If you’re interested in venturing into the commercial cannabis world, our team offers a variety of services tailored to our clients. 

We help cannabis businesses get licensed, remain compliant with state and local laws, and find commercial cannabis real estate in California. 


For more information, visit our services page and get in touch with us for a consultation

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