What Licensing Boards Look For
Since California legalized marijuana in 1996, over 10,000 cannabis operators have been licensed to become growers, manufacturers, distributors, testing labs, retailers, and more. For those who are planning to join this industry, there’s a lot to know about how to get a dispensary license in California.
The license you need to apply for goes through the California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control, but each branch of the industry must apply for a different type of license. Whether you’re planning on getting a retailer license or a microbusiness license, read on here to learn more about the requirements as well as any paperwork you need to submit along with your application.
For retailers, distributors, and microbusinesses, all the applications start with the same form. In addition to providing information for the owners of the company as well as any relevant business documents (DBA, incorporating documents, seller’s permit, etc.), you must specify whether you’re a Non-Storefront Retailer who operates exclusively through delivery or a Storefront Sales business who sells in a brick and mortar store. You also must decide if your classification is under Adult Use (A-License) or Medicinal Use (M-License).
Other required paperwork for getting your dispensary license in California includes:
- Business & Operations Plan
- Financial Plan
- Surety Bond
- Inventory Control Plan
- Dispensary Security Plan
- Quality Control Procedures
- Transportation Procedures
- Evidence of Your Right to Occupy
- Written Limited Waiver of Sovereign Immunity
- Evidence of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Compliance
Additional Information for Microbusinesses
A microbusiness must also be prepared to share documents that detail the following information:
- Delivery Procedures
- Certificate of Insurance for General Liability
- Cultivation Attachment
- Cultivation Diagram
- Manufacturer’s Attachment
Additional Information for Laboratories
While it’s rare to have a dispensary that has crossover with a testing laboratory, if having a lab is part of your business plan, you must also provide a variety of accreditation information and documents detailing standard procedures for various parts of your operation.
- ISO/IEC 17025 Accreditation
- Testing Methods Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
- Sample Preparation SOPs
- Sampling SOPs
After your initial application for a cannabis license, you will have to renew it annually and pay a fee based on your income. There are also additional fees for any environmental permits and waste disposal. Some of the costs you may encounter while getting your dispensary licence in California include:
- CA Cannabis License Fee: $1,000
- CA Cannabis Annual Fee: $4,000 to $70,000 (Determined by Income)
- Local Permits & Approval: $5,000 to $30,000 (Dependent on Project Size)
- Environmental Permits: Up to $30,000
Where to Apply
Currently, all applications for every aspect of the cannabis industry in California can be completed online. Most retail businesses will find all the resources they need on the Bureau of Cannabis Control. If you’re planning on opening a facility that infuses cannabis edibles or you will be engaged in cannabis cultivation, you can find additional assistance and instruction online at the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch and CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing respectively.
Armed with this information about how to get a dispensary license in California, it’s far less likely that your application will be denied, or that you’ll have to withdraw it. Carefully review all the resources at your disposal before submitting your final application.