How to Apply For a Cannabis License in California

At Manzuri Law, our California cannabis attorneys provide end-to-end legal services for our industry. As the industry continues to evolve and grow, licensing opportunities are becoming available in more cities and counties, states, and countries, providing wider ownership potential.

This is important to current and prospective California cannabis business owners because each city or county can decide whether to license cannabis businesses in their area. According to the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) — the California state agency that licenses and regulates cannabis businesses — 56% of cities and counties in the state still do not allow any type of cannabis businesses to operate within their jurisdictions.

Before you apply for a California Cannabis License in California, you must ensure the city and county where you are considering opening a business allows your specific type of cannabis company to operate within its geographical area.

This is where partnering with a skilled cannabis legal team in California becomes crucial to your success. Our prominent California Cannabis Annual License attorneys and real estate, land use, and zoning lawyers help our clients determine which type of business suits their needs, and where they can begin building their futures in the industry. This helps eliminate the red tape, frustration, and financial setbacks that may be incurred when going it alone.

Whether you are applying for or renewing a cannabis business license in California, we can help streamline the process, so you can get to work.

What are the Different Types of California Cannabis Licenses?

Different types of California cannabis business licenses require more than just an application to get started. Each license has a different set of application and compliance requirements, owner qualifications, and business structure details to reach approval.  

They include licenses for:

  • Cultivating cannabis.
  • Distribution or transporting cannabis.
  • Manufacturing or making cannabis products, including beverages or edibles.
  • Testing or laboratories for cannabis products.
  • Retail or selling cannabis products.
  • Event organizer licenses where cannabis products are sold.

Once you determine which type of cannabis business is right for you, our skilled California attorneys can help you prepare the necessary paperwork and accompanying documentation to submit a completed application to the DCC for review.

Before You Apply for a California Cannabis License

California cannabis businesses are regulated in two ways: By the state, and by their city or county.

This allows local governments to play a large role in the types of cannabis businesses they allow, including licensing all cannabis businesses, licensing some types of cannabis businesses and prohibiting others, or prohibiting all cannabis businesses.

To complicate matters, a city may have different rules than its county. Counties can decide which types of cannabis businesses they license or prohibit. But county rules only apply to the unincorporated parts of the county. They do not apply to incorporated cities that are within the county.

Incorporated cities can decide which types of cannabis businesses they license or prohibit within their city. Their rules do not need to align with the rules of the county where they are located.

Another confounding detail for potential cannabis licenses in California is that some cities and counties may license a specific type of cannabis business, but also place restrictions on its existence by limiting the number of businesses that can get a particular type of cannabis license.

Partnering with an experienced California cannabis law firm can help remove the licensing obstacles, so you can assuredly move forward with your application knowing no detail has been left to chance.

At Manzuri Law, Our Skilled Cannabis Attorneys and Specialists Also Focuses On The Following Practice Areas:

What Information Do I Need to Apply for a California Cannabis Business License?

Before you can begin the California cannabis licensing application, you must have a physical location that is approved for commercial cannabis business operations.

Partnering with our California cannabis attorneys will provide the certainty you need that a commercial cannabis business can operate on the property and complete any permitting requirements the city or county requires before you apply for a state and local cannabis license.

Next, you will be required to submit the seller’s permit number issued by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. If you do not have a seller’s permit number, you will be asked to attest that you are currently applying for one. Our dedicated California cannabis attorneys can help legally satisfy all permit requirements, so you are certain your business is heading in the right direction from the start.

Before we get started, we will need to review the following details, which we can also help you establish to ensure each licensing requirement is completed successfully:

  • Legal name of the cannabis license applicant.
  • Legal business name and trade name/DBA, when applicable.
  • Contact information for the owner who will serve as the primary contact person.
  • Name and contact information of any individual or entity serving as an agent for service of process for the business, if different from the applicant.
  • Physical address of the premises.
  • Mailing address, if different from premises address.
  • Phone number for the commercial cannabis business.
  • Website for the commercial cannabis business, if applicable.
  • The cannabis business license type.
  • The business’s organizational structure, such as partnership, joint venture, limited liability company (LLC), sole proprietorship, trust, or corporation.
  • Federal employer identification number (FEIN or EIN), individual taxpayer identification
  • number (ITIN or TIN), or social security number (SSN) the federal taxes will be filed under.
  • State Employer Identification Number (SEIN) issued by the California Employment Development Department, if applicable.

You must also list whether you have previously had a cannabis business license denied, suspended, or revoked, and include the type of cannabis license, the licensing authority that denied, suspended, or revoked the license, and the date it occurred.

The DCC has requirements for standard operating procedures, training employees, and how facilities must be set up. Complying with these rules and requirements is paramount to your California cannabis company’s success. We can help ensure your cannabis business is following each important legal step from the application process to your first sale, through your annual license renewal, and beyond.

Contact our dedicated California cannabis license attorneys today to discuss your business plan, and how we can help you pursue success in a highly regulated industry.

How to Renew Your Cannabis Annual License in California

All California cannabis licenses must be renewed annually.

Cannabis businesses can renew their licenses up to 60 days before it expires by ensuring their company’s details are up to date, and all documents are current, including premises diagrams, cultivation plans, standard operating procedures, product lists, vehicle information, and gross annual revenue for the previous year, when applicable to your type of business.

Once all of your information is properly updated, you will be required to pay the licensing renewal fee before your application is renewed.

How Much Does it Cost to Apply For or Renew a California Cannabis License?

The DCC dictates cannabis licensing fees in two categories: application fees and license fees.

  • Application fees are due when you submit your application.
  • License fees are due when your application is approved
  • The license fee is also due each year when you renew your cannabis license.

Fees are specific to the license type you are applying for or renewing. Most fees are calculated based on your business’s gross annual revenue, which is the money received for activities conducted under the license before subtracting expenses.

If you were negatively affected by the criminalization of cannabis, you can apply to have your license fee waived through the state’s equity program.

Are You Applying For or Renewing a Cannabis License in California? Manzuri Law Can Help.

Whether you are looking for a cannabis business location, applying for your initial cannabis license, renewing a cannabis license, or expanding your cannabis business, contact one of our California cannabis law firm specialists today by phone at (310) 912-2960 or online to discuss your business goals, so we can help you understand and meet the criteria necessary to move forward successfully.

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