Cannabis Licenses

Licensing for California cannabis businesses


The Licensing Maze

With the passage of the Proposition 64, California is set in 2018 will become the largest market in world for state legal, adult-use cannabis. But Proposition 64 and it medicinal counterpart require that all businesses engaged in commercial cannabis activity obtain licensing.  That includes cultivators, retail stores (dispensaries) and delivery services, extractors, concentrate, edible and topical manufacturers, distributors, and testing laboratories.

Ringgenberg Law Firm help businesses navigate through and over the licensing maze to enter the cannabis industry and obtain compliaece with local and state law.

Selecting Locations

The first step in obtaining licensing for a cannabis business in California is selecting a location or locations for the business. Under California's combined medicinal and adult-use licensing system - now called the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) - necessary state licensing requires that a business have approval from the local government where the business is located. The permitting process, fees, and tax rates vary tremendously around the state. Every location has different rules on where cannabis businesses can locate, based on zoning, proximity to schools and other sensitive locations, and types of licenses allowed.

Ringgenberg Law Firm helps clients analyze the opportunities for licensing based on the needs of their business. With knowledge of the permit opportunities around the state, we can identify suitable jurisdictions, discuss their strengths and drawbacks, and confirm that proposed real estate options meet local and state requirements.

City or County Permits

Nearly all cities and counties allowing commercial cannabis activity require a permit of some variety. In many jurisdictions, permits are limited in number and awarded on a competitive basis. A professionally-developed application package can make the difference between success or failure.

Ringgenberg Law Firm works with clients to prepare application materials that satisfy the requirements of the local permit process, and maximize the opportunity to succeed in the permit application process.

Unlike many "consultants" in the industry, Ringgenberg Law Firm operates under ethical conflict of interest guidelines and does not represent more than one applicant in any competitive licensing application process.  We will not put ourselves in a position where two of our clients are competing with each other for the same license.

State Licenses

State licensing under MAUCRSA will start in January of 2018.  Initially, the state agencies will offer temporary licenses, with permanent licensing coming later in the year.

Ringgenberg Law Firm will assist clients in applying for state licenses. Because state law imposes many requirements in additional to what is needed to satisfy local governments , businesses should take a long view and prepare their business in advance for what will be required in the future. 


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To reach us for more information, or to schedule an introduction, just give us a ring at (510) 775-7000.