How to Get Your Marijuana License in California

California is one of the most rewarding places to be a grower, manufacturer, or distributer of cannabis. All it takes is some help in navigating the licensing procedures and you’ll be one your way to turning a profit in no time.

Who is in charge of licensing?

California has three separate licensing authorities that all deal with different aspects of marijuana licensing. These are the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the California Department of Public Health. Each of these licenses a different aspect of cannabis business, and it is important to understand which one you need to apply with.

The Bureau of Cannabis Control is the primary agency for licensure and will license most commercial cannabis licenses for retailers, labs, businesses, and distributors. The Department of Public Health is largely responsible for all manufacturing of edibles, and the Food and Agriculture department licenses cultivators.

How much does it cost to get a license?

Each license comes with a different fee and these fees can be significant. Some aspects of a marijuana business may also require you to invest in a bond in order to get your marijuana license in California.

How long do licenses last?

Most of the licensing bodies will grant you a temporary four-month license while they review your application for an annual one. If for some reason the review takes longer than expected, the licensing agency may be willing to extend a temporary license for three more months.

Annual licenses must be renewed every year. Whether you have a temporary or an annual license, you must follow all the same regulations.

What if I live in an area that has banned cannabis use?

Some individual cities and counties in California have bans on the cultivation or sale of recreational marijuana. If you apply to the state board for a license to have a commercial operation in one of these areas, it will be denied.

The best way to deal with this is to hire an experienced marijuana lawyer who can help you find a way to navigate the regulations and open your business in a better place while still reaching a viable customer base.

What if someone near me is running an unlicensed business?

Unlicensed commercial marijuana activity can pose a potential health threat to the public, as well as an economic threat to legitimate, licensed businesses. For that reason, all three of the licensing authorities provide a way for you to report an unlicensed business.

Make a complaint using the CalCannabis hotline at 1-833-WEED-TIP or file a complaint online to alert authorities if you suspect someone to be cultivating, manufacturing, or distributing cannabis without the proper oversight.

What if the laws change?

Laws and regulations do change with some frequency, so it’s important to stay on top of those changes. Fortunately, the California state agencies responsible for licensing marijuana activity hold frequent meetings to update the public on any changes. Anyone is free to attend these workshops, and you can find out when and where they will be held at the California.gov cannabis portal page.

That being said, it can still be difficult for the average layperson to navigate the myriad of regulations surrounding the cultivation and distribution of cannabis. It’s a smart move to get the advice and help of a lawyer familiar with all the aspects of cannabis law and experienced in navigating the red tape.

Currently, California has no plans to limit the number of licenses they grant, and now is a great time to get into the market. Get the right help in acquiring your license and you’ll be ready to make money very soon.

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