3 Steps to Get Your
1. Decide which license type you want
2. Confirm the business owners and property meet state and local eligibility requirements
3. Compile and submit the state and local license applications with fees
Cultivation will be licensed based on the size of the garden and the light source, either outdoor, indoor, or mixed. Large-scale licenses are not available until 2023. Nursery licenses will be available for businesses that sell seeds, clones, and other live plants.
Manufacturing of cannabis products is divided into two categories, volatile and nonvolatile. Nonvolatile licenses include edibles, topicals, and other solventless extractions. The number of licenses will not be limited by the state. Volatile licenses however will be limited.
State licenses will be available for retail storefront and mobile delivery businesses. A retailer must have a physical location but does not have to be open to the public and can therefore conduct sales exclusively through delivery. There is no limit on the number of state licenses.
State licenses will also be available for cannabis laboratories and third party cannabis distribution companies. To prevent conflicts of interest, labs may not hold any other type of cannabis business license, however they may service both Adult-Use and Medical-Use businesses under one license.
The state will issue two types of cannabis business licenses:
Type A for Adult-Use and Type M for Medical-Use
Get started with our two hour comprehensive consultation, perfect if you are just getting started in the industry. If you need advice for a specific issue, we also offer one hour consultations. Click for service details.
Both the new medical (MCRSA) and adult use cannabis laws (AUMA) require a state and local license to operate a cannabis business. Local licenses are currently available in various cities and counties. The state will begin issuing licenses in early 2018. Click for service details.
A nonprofit business is necessary for anyone who is currently distributing medical cannabis in California. We also set up for profits, LLC’s, and other business entities depending on your needs. Click for service details.
Collective formation is necessary for anyone who currently distributes medical cannabis to individual patients. Collectives are required through 2019 until MCRSA and AUMA licenses are issued. Click for service details.
Cannabis License Types & Regulations
Read the summary of regulations to be approved in November 2017 effective January 1, 2018
California will issue two types of cannabis business licenses
Type A for Adult-Use and Type M for Medical-Use
Type A is for Adults 21+ and Type M is for anyone with a valid doctor’s recommendation. One business can apply for and hold both types of licenses. Within these Types, one business may hold any combination of the license categories below with the exception of testing laboratories and the larger cultivators.
State Water Board Cannabis Policies & Orders – October 2017
Updates to Proposed State Cultivation Rules – September 2017
Response to Public Comments on Proposed State Cultivation Rules – June 2017
Proposed State Cultivation Rules – April 2017
Background Report for Proposed State Cultivation Rules – April 2017
Read the EPIC Cannabis Farmer’s Compliance Handbook
Type 1 = Specialty Outdoor Small; 5,000 sq. ft. of total canopy size on one premises or up to 50 mature plants on noncontiguous plots.
Type 1A = Specialty Indoor Small; Between 501 – 5,000 sq. ft. of total canopy size on one premises.
Type 1B = Specialty Mixed-Light Small; Between 2,501 – 5,000sq. ft. of total canopy size on one premises.
Type 1C = Specialty Cottage Small; <2,500 sq. ft. total canopy size for mixed-light total canopy size for indoor cultivation, on one premises.
Type 2 = Outdoor Small; Between 5,001 – 10,000 sq. ft. of total canopy size on one premises.
Type 2A= Indoor Small; Between 5,001 – 10,000sq. ft. of total canopy size on one premises.
Type 2B= Mixed-Light Small; Between 5,001 – 10,000sq. ft. of total canopy size on one premises.
Type 3 = Outdoor Medium; from 10,001 sq. ft. to one acre of total canopy size on one premises. The number of these licenses will be limited.
Type 3A= Indoor Medium; Between 10,001 – 22,000 sq. ft. of total canopy size on one premises. The number of these licenses will be limited.
Type 3B= Mixed-Light Medium; Between 10,001 – 22,000 sq. ft. of total size on one premises. The number of these licenses will be limited.
Type 4 = Nursery. Produces only clones, immature plants, seeds, & other Ag products used specifically for the propagation & cultivation of cannabis.
Type 5 = Outdoor Large; > one acre of total canopy size on one premises. No Type 5, Type 5A, or Type 5B licenses may be issued before January 1, 2023. The number of these licenses will be limited. Type 5 Licensees cannot hold a Distributor or Microbusiness license.
Type 5A= Indoor Large; > 22,000 sq. ft. of total canopy size on one premises. The number of these licenses will be limited.
Type 5B= Mixed-Light Large; > 22,000 sq. ft. of total canopy size on one premises. The number of these licenses will be limited.
*Mixed-Light watts per sq. ft. TBD by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Updates to Proposed State Rules for Manufacturing edibles, extractions, etc. – September 2017
Summary of Proposed State Rules for Manufacturing edibles, extractions, etc. – April 2017
Proposed State Rules for Manufacturing edibles, extractions, etc. – April 2017
Type 6 License = Manufacture of cannabis products using nonvolatile solvents or no solvents (e.g. water or butter extractions)
Type 7 License = Manufacture of cannabis products using volatile solvents. Includes a solvent that is or produces a flammable gas or vapor that, when present in the air in sufficient quantities, will create explosive or ignitable mixtures. (e.g. butane, propane, ethanol)
Type N License (proposed) = Businesses that only conduct infusions (e.g. create edibles, topicals, or other products) using extracts from another licensed manufacturer
Type P License (proposed) = Businesses that only package and label products for other licensed cannabis manufacturers
Retail Storefronts and Mobile Delivery
Updates to Proposed State Retail Rules – September 2017
Type 10 License – For the sale and delivery of cannabis and cannabis products to consumers. A retailer must conduct business from a commercial premises that is a physical location. A retailer’s premises may be closed to the public and they may conduct sales exclusively by delivery. Retail includes onsite consumption lounges if approved by the local city or county.
Laboratories and Distributors
Type 8 License = Testing Laboratory; Type 8 Lab Licensees may not hold any other type of cannabis business license.
Updates to Proposed State Laboratory Rules – September 2017
Clarifications of Proposed State Laboratory Rules – September 2017
Proposed State Laboratory Rules – May 2017
Background Report for Proposed State Laboratory Rules – May 2017
Type 11 License = Distributor; Responsible for testing and track & trace oversight and tax collection. Distributors are the only license type that can transport commercial cannabis goods. A cannabis business may not deliver their own wholesale products to retailers unless they obtain the separate Distributor license. Type 5 Large Cultivator Licensees may not obtain a Distributor license.
Updates to Proposed State Distributor Rules – September 2017
Updates to Proposed State Rules for Microbusinesses – September 2017
Type 12 License = This is a special license that provides a winery/craft brewery model for cannabis. With a Microbusiness license a cannabis business that cultivates less than 10,000 square feet may act as a licensed distributor, nonvolatile manufacturer, and retailer under this one license reducing the costs for small cannabis businesses. Type 4 Medium and Type 5 Large Cultivators may not obtain a Microbusiness license.
Cannabis lounges with onsite consumption will be allowed for retail licensees that have local approval from their city or county for this activity.
State Regulatory Agencies & Resources
Below are links to the state agencies responsible for licensing cannabis businesses. They each have detailed information and FAQ’s on their websites.
Bureau of Cannabis Control – Oversees all aspects of regulating California cannabis businesses. The Bureau is responsible for licensing retailers, distributors, testing labs, and microbusinesses. Licensing Checklist and Temporary Licensing Handout
California Cannabis Portal -The state’s one-stop shop for all news and updates related to the effort to regulate the cannabis industry.
California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (Formerly the Board of Equalization) – Issues Seller’s Permits and collects cultivation and retail sales taxes. Handout on New Taxes January 2018
California Department of Public Health – Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch regulates manufacturing of cannabis products
California Department of Food and Agriculture – CalCannabis Division regulates cultivation. See their FAQ and Licensing Checklist
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Cannabis Program – Regulates the adverse impacts of cannabis cultivation. Requires Lake and Streambed Alteration Verification
California Department of Pesticide Regulation – See their published Cannabis Guide, Legal Pest Management Practices for Cannabis, and Pesticide and Rodenticide Handout
State Water Board Cannabis Cultivation Program – See their presentation on the final cannabis water policy. Review the background report for the final policy and read the Cannabis Cultivation Regulatory and Enforcement Unit list of enforcement priorities.
State Water Board Compiled Handouts for Water and Land Use
State Water Board Cannabis Water Rights
State Water Board Cannabis Water Quality – Regional offices issue water discharge regulations. See Region 1 North Coast Orders, Best Practices, Fact Sheet, and FAQ; Region 5 Central Valley Orders and Best Practices
Division of Measurement Standards – Regulates scales and cannabis packaging & labeling. See their Recommendations for Weighing Cannabis.
Our comprehensive consultation includes:
- Advice specific to what you want to do and where you want to do it
- Overview of federal laws, risks, and consequences
- Explanation of California’s current medical cannabis laws and future laws under MCRSA and AUMA (Prop 64)
- Review of business options and operations
- Local city and county license, permit, and tax requirements
- Referrals for industry experts
Consultations are available in Oakland or Sacramento and last approximately 2 hours. The fee is $600. Online consultations may be available upon request. We also offer one hour consultations if you need help with a specific legal or business matter.
Nonprofit Business Formation
Nonprofit business formation is necessary for anyone who is currently distributing medical cannabis in California. The following are included in this service:
- Advice on the best nonprofit business type for you (LLC, Corporation, Cooperative, etc.)
- Advice for your business name
- Draft and file all the required state forms including the Statement of Information follow-up filing
- Draft the bylaws or operating agreement for your business entity
- Draft the initial resolutions and written consent for your business
- Business binder to store all of your documents and required records
- In-person consultation to sign your documents, complete the initial actions to finalize your business, and review the requirements for operating your business
- Advice for filing Seller’s Permit, Taxpayer ID, Business License, and Fictitious Business Name applications
- Vendor Authorization to use with dispensaries/delivery retailers (also included with Collective Formation)
- Retail Certificate form for Wholesalers
The fee is $2,500 – $4,000 (plus state filing fees) depending on the type of entity, number of owners, and other factors. The service includes everything above. Ask about our bundle discount when you combine nonprofit and collective formation.
Collective formation is necessary for anyone who currently distributes medical cannabis directly to individual patients. This service includes:
- Membership Application & Agreement
- Caregiver Membership Application
- Membership Rules & Regulations
- Collective Cultivation/Transportation Authorization forms for owners, employees, and vendors that go in cars and gardens
- Vendor Authorization for wholesales to dispensaries or delivery services (also included with Nonprofit Formation)
- In-person consultation to review your documents and explain how to use them with patients, dispensaries, and police
The fee is $2,000 and includes everything above. Ask about our bundle discount when you combine nonprofit and collective formation.
State & Local Licensing
Both the new medical (MCRSA) and adult use cannabis laws (AUMA) require a state and local license to operate a cannabis business. Local licenses are in development around the state and applications for various cities are currently available. The state will begin issuing licenses in early 2018. AUMA businesses will not be able to operate before obtaining a state license. Existing medical cannabis collectives may continue operating for now, but must obtain a local license and state MCRSA license by 2019 or they will have to close. We can assist you with your state and local license applications. The fee varies widely based on the help you need.
Other Services (a la carte)
- Know your rights trainings for employees and delivery drivers
- Review of product labels, website, and promotional materials
- Collective Cultivation/Transportation Authorization (AKA Grower’s License, Vendor Authorization)
- Lease Review
- Employee policies and labor law compliance
- Government relations and political consulting
- Purchasing policies and vendor transactions
- Zoning & land use advice
- Branding strategy
- Dissolve a company
Rates & Fees*
- Comprehensive Consultation – $600
- Business Formation – $2500 to $4000 plus state fees (includes in-person consultation to review documents & requirements)
- Collective Formation – $2000 (includes in-person consultation to review documents & requirements) **Bundle and Save! Sign up for nonprofit formation and collective formation and save $500.**
- State & Local License Applications – Flat fee as agreed to between Lauren & client
- Other Medical Cannabis Legal Services – Flat fee as agreed to between Lauren & client or billed hourly at $300/hr, contact us to receive an estimate
- Payment plans are available upon request and approval