Adult-Use Cannabis License Types Available in California
To operate a commercial cannabis business in California, an operator must first apply for—and obtain— a local commercial cannabis business license. There are six primary license types, each with sub-licensing categories based on the Applicant's intended operational practices and facility design: cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, retail, delivery retail and third-party laboratory testing. Each license type is described in more detail throughout this page.
- Cultivation Security Procedures
- Cultivation Transportation Procedures
- Cultivation Integrated Pest Management Procedures
- Cultivation Waste Management Procedures
- Cultivation Inventory and Record Keeping Procedures
- Cultivation Non-Laboratory Quality Control Procedures
- Manufacturing Security Procedures
- Manufacturing Transportation Procedures
- Manufacturing Integrated Pest Management Procedures
- Manufacturing Waste Management Procedures
- Manufacturing Inventory and Record Keeping Procedures
- Manufacturing Non-Laboratory Quality Control Procedures
- Distribution Security Procedures
- Distribution Transportation Procedures
- Distribution Waste Management Procedures
- Distribution Inventory and Record Keeping Procedures
- Distribution Non-Laboratory Quality Control Procedures
- Retail Security Procedures
- Retail Transportation Procedures
- Retail Waste Management Procedures
- Retail Inventory and Record Keeping Procedures
- Retail Non-Laboratory Quality Control Procedures
- Delivery Security Procedures
- Delivery Transportation Procedures
- Delivery Waste Management Procedures
- Delivery Inventory and Record Keeping Procedures
- Delivery Non-Laboratory Quality Control Procedures
FEATURED CALIFORNIA LicENSE Documents
Cultivation License California
There are several California marijuana growing licenses, also known as ‘Cultivation Licenses,’ available through California’s permitting process. Becoming a legal grower in California, or cultivator, begins by selecting, applying for, and obtaining a license to cultivate marijuana. The following commercial growers licenses are available in California, also known as ‘Cultivation Licenses.
- Type 1: License for a small outdoor specialty cultivation using no artificial lighting. A Type 1 cultivation site is limited to 5,000 square feet or less in canopy size OR limited to 50 mature plants on the site.
- Type 1A: License for a small indoor specialty cultivation using only artificial lighting. A Type 1A cultivation site is limited to 5,000 square feet or less in total canopy size. Type 1B: License for a small mixed-light small indoor specialty cultivation using a combination of artificial and natural light. A Type 1B cultivation site is limited to 5,000 square feet or less in canopy size.
- Type 1C: License for a small specialty cottage cultivation using a combination of artificial and natural light. A Type 1C cultivation site is limited to 2,500 square feet.
- Type 2: License for a small outdoor cultivation using no artificial lighting. A Type 2 cultivation site is between 5,001 to 10,000 square feet including total canopy size.
- Type 2A: License for a small indoor cultivation using only artificial lighting. A Type 2A cultivation site is between 5,001 to 10,000 square feet including total canopy size.
- Type 2B: License for a small mixed-light indoor cultivation using a combination of artificial and natural light. A Type 2B cultivation site is between 5,001 to 10,000 square feet including total canopy size.
- Type 3: License for a medium-sized outdoor cultivation using no artificial lighting. A Type 3 cultivation site is between 10,001 square feet to one acre including total canopy size.
- Type 3A: License for a medium-sized indoor cultivation using only artificial lighting. A Type 3A cultivation site is between 10,001 to 22,000 square feet including total canopy size.
- Type 3B: License for a medium-sized indoor cultivation using a combination of artificial and natural light. A Type 3B cultivation site is between 10,001 to 22,000 square feet including total canopy size.
- Type 4: A nursery license to grow adult-use cannabis and transport live plants.
Manufacturing License California
There are two licenses directly related to the manufacturing and production of cannabis products for the state of California. Any legal manufacturer must first obtain a license by following the state’s application process and must also adhere to any local permit requirements as well. Those interested in pursuing a license for the testing of adult-use cannabis products must commit only to that segment of the market.
- Type 6: Manufacturing license to extract and produce adult-use cannabis products using non-volatile solvents.
- Type 7: Manufacturing license to extract and produce adult-use cannabis products using volatile solvents.
Third Party Testing Laboratory License
- Type 8: License to perform testing on adult-use cannabis to determine THC content, cannabinoids, contaminants, microbiological impurities, and other compounds. Those who hold a Type 8 license may not apply for or obtain any license in another category.
California Dispensary License
Are you wondering how to open a dispensary and what you need to open a dispensary in California? The first step begins by applying for one of three licenses: type 9, type 10, or type 10A. It’s important to choose the correct license for which to apply when determining how to start a mobile dispensary in California called a California Retail Delivery License (type 9) versus a storefront dispensary (types 10 and 10A).
- Type 9: License where adult-use cannabis, adult-use cannabis products, adult-use cannabis administration devices can be offered individually or in a combination for retail sale and delivered without a storefront.
- Type 10: License for a facility where adult-use cannabis, adult-use cannabis products, adult-use cannabis administration devices can be offered individually or in a combination for retail sale. This license also allows for a delivery service out of the facility, pursuant to local authorization, for retail sale of adult-use cannabis or adult-use cannabis products.
- Type 10A: License for adult-use cannabis dispensers with three or fewer adult-use dispensary facilities. This license allows for deliveries limited to areas authorized by the local municipality.
A distribution license in the state of California, Type 11, includes transportation as well as quality assurance protocols such as product and packaging inspection as well as required testing. A Type 11 license may be appropriate for licensed cultivators and/or manufacturers as well as an entrepreneurs wishing to provide these specific services to companies that prefer to outsource this function.
- Type 11: License for the transportation and distribution of adult-use cannabis to and between cultivation, manufacturing, or retail licensees. Type 11 licensees are responsible for inspecting products and packaging for quality assurance as well as sending adult-use cannabis products to a Type 8 license holder for testing, prior to further distribution.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control (herein, the BCC) specializes in the regulation of commercial cannabis businesses and operations. The BCC is the leading agency responsible for licensing different cannabis business operations and creating regulations surrounding medical and adult-use cannabis in the state of California.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (herein, the CDFA) is the leading agency specializing in agricultural best practices, safety and quality of grown products, and environmental regulation in the agricultural space.
The California Department of Public Health (herein, the CDPH) focuses on and protects the general health and well-being of individuals living in California. The CDPH hold responsibilities in infectious disease control and prevention, food safety, emergency preparedness, patient safety, and family health and promotion.
In a landmark election year, California also made waves by becoming one of the most recent states to legalize recreational use marijuana. Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), allows for the possession, cultivation, and use of specified amounts of recreational marijuana for adults ages twenty-one and older. It doesn’t supersede or change medical marijuana laws such as the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215) or the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), therefore, the process of obtaining a medical marijuana license in California has not been changed.
Under AUMA, sales of recreational use marijuana began on January 1, 2018 by licensed dispensaries. There are approximately one hundred available licenses in the state at the time of this posting for which businesses may apply creating an economic upswing in certain types of businesses that would be directly or indirectly involved in the industry. It’s no wonder that more and more entrepreneurs and businesses are clamoring to get information on how to get a dispensary license in California, what a dispensary license costs in California, and what California dispensary laws and regulations need to be adhered to. They also want information on how to get a grower license, also known as cultivator license, in California.
AUMA is expected to provide financial relief to the state’s overburdened criminal justice system both by legalizing possession as well as decreasing the penalties for activities that remain illegal with regard to marijuana for non-violent offenders. The new laws also include strict regulatory rules and licensing requirements as well as a 15% excise tax and an additional $9.25 per ounce of flower or $2.75 per ounce of leaf. Tax revenue is expected to increase for the state anywhere from hundreds of millions to a billion dollars of which 60% will go to youth programs, 20% to environmental damage cleanup, and 20% to public safety.
The following is a summary of key dates so far in the recent legalization of recreational use marijuana in California:
- November 9, 2016 — Proposition 64 becomes law by a 57% voter approval. Also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), the measure serves to control, regulate, and tax recreational marijuana.
- January 1, 2018 — The first recreational use marijuana was allowed for sale.
- January 31, 2018 — San Francisco’s District Attorney’s office states that misdemeanor and felony marijuana convictions dating as far back as 1975 will be recalled for resentencing by applying Prop 64 retroactively, potentially affecting nearly 5,000 prior convictions in the city.
In 1996, California voters passed groundbreaking legislation, becoming the first state in the union to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. Under Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act, patients who meet certain requirements can obtain and use marijuana legally with a doctor’s recommendation. The California legislation paved the way for a total of 31 states legalizing medical marijuana as of September, 2018. Many states are hoping the legalization of medical marijuana for use in pain management of chronic illness will significantly decrease the negative impact of the current opioid epidemic.
In 2014, the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment became federal law prohibiting the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of State medical cannabis laws. In October, 2015, the California Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) was enacted, creating statewide regulation, licensing, and enforcement for the cultivation, production, dispensing, and use of medical marijuana. It was subsequently replaced with the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) in June, 2017 to incorporate new regulations, licensing, and enforcement of both medical and recreational-use marijuana; the new regulations went into effect on January 1, 2018. The State continues to work its way through developing a working system to implement medical marijuana laws effectively as evidenced by the six month emergency regulations called for in May, 2018.