Cannabis Knowledge & Insights

What You Don’t Know About Getting A California Cannabis Permit

It takes a lot more than just a local and state license to get your commercial cannabis business legally up and running. In addition to the commercial cannabis licenses, your business needs to be compliant with other building codes, zoning requirements, environmental regulations, and more. Understand what other local and state certificates, permits, and reports you need to save a lot of time, money, and frustration down the road. Here’s a breakdown of other local and state requirements you might know have known you needed in addition to your local and state commercial cannabis business license.

Local Permit Requirements for California Cannabis Businesses

Every California city and county will have different requirements for cannabis businesses. Here are a few you can expect will be widespread.

Certificate of Occupancy

Each city will require licensees to get the local fire, police and Building and Safety Departments to inspect and sign off on their cannabis facility before issuing a Certificate of Occupancy. The Certificate of Occupancy basically verifies a building’s compliance with local building codes and other laws. It certifies that the building is in suitable condition for use.

Make the necessary inspection appointments with each local agency to ensure that your application review process is as seamless as possible. As you look for cannabis real estate, get in touch with the local Planning Division, which usually oversees the application process and enforcement for issuing certificates of occupancy. They can provide you with good insider tips to help you prepare to get all the necessary local permits and certificates you will need to have before they issue your commercial cannabis business permit.

Conditional Use Permits (CUP)

A Conditional Use Permit lets a cannabis property owner use his or her land in a way that is not usually otherwise permitted in a particular zone. Some cities will require cannabis businesses to get a Conditional Use Permit in addition to the commercial cannabis business permit. This will allow a cannabis business to conduct specific commercial cannabis activity in certain zoned areas. If you have questions about zoning, check out this quick guide on cannabis zoning from GreenGrowth CPAs.

Local Seller’s Permit

Cities will usually require cannabis businesses to get their local Seller’s Permit aside from the state issued Seller’s Permit in order to conduct their business. Getting ahead and getting this permit could potentially save you from spending on operating costs without being in operation. Sign up for our newsletter to get updates when a city opens permit applications.

Additional California State Permit Requirements

California requires a lot of licensing to begin operating in the lucrative cannabis market. Be prepared to invest your time and effort – and money – into starting up, particularly when it comes to licensing fees.

Seller’s Permit: California Department of Tax and Fee Administration

Commercial cannabis businesses that intend to sell or resell cannabis products will need to get their state issued Seller’s Permit. Businesses can only issue Resale Certificates if they have Seller’s Permits. If you have a manufacturing facility, you will need to issue re-sale certificates for packaging and sales to other manufacturers so you don’t have to pay the Sales and Use Tax.

EnviroStor Database- Department of Toxic Substances Control

All commercial cannabis businesses will need to register with the Department of Toxic Substances Control to enlist themselves in the EnviroStor database. The database tracks cleanup, permitting, enforcement, and investigation efforts at hazardous waste facilities and sites with known or suspected contamination issues.

Since each commercial cannabis business vertical has specific operations and products, each business type is governed by a specific state agency or department. Cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, testing, and distribution all require additional permits from various state agencies in order to meet the local and state licensing requirements.

Cannabis Cultivation Permit Requirements

For commercial cannabis cultivators, the two state agencies to reach out to are:

  1. State Water Resources Control Board
  2. California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Regardless of whether the cultivation facility is for indoor or outdoor growing, all cultivation facility types are required to register with both departments. It will be a lot easier for an indoor grower to register versus an outdoor grower in an unincorporated area, since indoor cultivation in incorporated cities typically engage the services of the local water and utilities. If a water and energy source is hard to come by, then these departments will require independent geological surveys and studies before approving your registration.

Cannabis Manufacturing Permit Requirements

Stamped and Certified Documentation

Commercial cannabis manufacturers will need to get their extraction systems certified by a California licensed engineer who can vouch that the system commercially manufactured, safe for its intended use, and built to code recognized and generally accepted a s good engineering practices. A stamped and certified document must be issued by the inspecting engineer and must also be approved by the local Fire Code Official, who will determine whether the system and equipment meet all fire and safety codes.

Cannabis Distribution Permit Requirements

Motor Carrier Permit

Distributors, transporters and delivery retail establishments will need to get Motor Carrier Permits from the Department of Motor Vehicles in order to transport cannabis and other cannabis products. In order to get this permit, licensees will need to register and apply for a CHP number with the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

Cannabis Testing Laboratory Permit Requirements

ISO/IEC Certificate of Accreditation

Testing laboratories will require ISO/IEC 17025 Certification that attests to competency of testing production variables like cannabinoids, heavy metals, microbial impurities, residual pesticides, and solvents. This certification isn’t necessary when applying for a temporary license but is a requirement in attaining both local and state permits and licenses.

Overall, the cannabis permitting application process can be quite tedious and grueling. But knowing what you need to prepare ahead of time could make the process easier and less costly. Making sure you have everything you need ahead of time could prevent any untimely delays and added costs. If you need guidance in mapping your action plan out, or would like to know more about the licensing process, get in touch with a team member today.