License types

License types

The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) issues licenses based on the type of cannabis activity that your business will perform. If you will do more than one activity, you may need more than one license.

You must have a valid DCC license before performing any commercial cannabis activity, including:

  • Growing cannabis (cultivation)
  • Transporting cannabis (distribution)
  • Making cannabis products (manufacturing)
  • Testing cannabis or cannabis products (testing laboratory)
  • Selling cannabis (retail)
  • Holding an event where cannabis will be sold (event organizers)

When you know what license type you need, DCC has resources to help you learn:

Cultivation licenses

Cultivation license types are based on the:

  • Type of production and lighting used
  • Number of plants grown or size of the canopy. The canopy is the area where mature (flowering) plants are grown.

The cultivation license types are:

  • Specialty cottage
    • Specialty cottage outdoor – up to 25 mature plants
    • Specialty cottage indoor – up to 500 square feet of canopy
    • Specialty cottage mixed-light tier 1 and 2 – up to 2,500 square feet of canopy
  • Specialty
    • Specialty outdoor – up to 50 mature plants or up to 5,000 square feet of canopy
    • Specialty indoor – 501 to 5,000 square feet of canopy
    • Specialty mixed-light tier 1 and 2 – 2,501 to 5,000 square feet of canopy
  • Small
    • Small outdoor – 5,001 to 10,000 square feet of canopy
    • Small indoor – 5,001 to 10,000 square feet of canopy
    • Small mixed-light tier 1 and 2 – 5,001 to 10,000 square feet of canopy
  • Medium
    • Medium outdoor – 10,001 square feet to 1 acre of canopy
    • Medium indoor – 10,001 to 22,000 square feet of canopy
    • Medium mixed-light tier 1 and 2 – 10,001 to 22,000 square feet of canopy
  • Large – By law, large size cultivation licenses cannot be issued until after January 1, 2023
  • Nursery – for cultivators that only grow clones, immature plants, seeds or other types of cannabis used for propagation
  • Processor – for cultivators that only trim, cure, dry, grade, package or label cannabis

Determining your license type

Outdoor licenses are for cultivators who grow cannabis outside without using any artificial lighting or light deprivation techniques on mature plants.

Indoor licenses are for cultivators who grow cannabis in a permanent structure using at least 25 watts of artificial light per square foot.

Mixed-light licenses are for cultivators who grow cannabis in a:

  • Greenhouse
  • Hoop-house
  • Glasshouse
  • Conservatory
  • Hothouse
  • Other similar structure

Mixed-light licenses have two tiers based on the amount of artificial light used:

  • Tier 1 – Up to 6 watts per square foot of artificial light
  • Tier 2 – 6 to 25 watts per square foot of artificial light

Manufacturing license types

Manufacturing license types are based on:

  • The activities performed
  • The chemicals used for extraction and post processing, if any
  • Whether the manufacturer works in a shared-use facility

Type 7: volatile solvent manufacturing

Type 7 manufacturers can:

  • Use volatile solvents for extraction or post processing (refinement) of cannabis extract
  • Use non-volatile solvents for extraction or post processing
  • Use mechanical methods for extraction
  • Make cannabis products through infusion
  • Package and label cannabis products

Volatile solvents are chemicals that produce a flammable gas or vapor. Examples include:

  • Butane
  • Heptane
  • Hexane
  • Propane

Type 6: non-volatile solvent manufacturing or mechanical extraction

Type 6 manufacturers can:

  • Use non-volatile solvents for extraction or post processing
  • Use mechanical methods for extraction
  • Make cannabis products through infusion
  • Package and label cannabis products

Non-volatile solvents are chemicals that do not produce a flammable gas or vapor. Examples include:

  • Ethanol
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Cooking oils
  • Butter

Mechanical extraction uses pressure, heat or cold to extract cannabinoids instead of using chemicals. Examples include:

  • Rosin presses
  • Dry ice

Type N: infusion of products

Type N manufacturers can:

  • Make cannabis products through infusion
  • Package and label cannabis

Infusion mixes cannabis extract or plant material with other ingredients to make a cannabis product.

Type P: packaging and labeling

Type P manufacturers can only package and label cannabis products.

Type S: manufacturers who work in a shared-use facility

Type S manufacturers operate in shared-use facilities and can:

  • Extract cannabis using butter or cooking oils
  • Make cannabis products through infusion
  • Package and label cannabis

Shared-use facilities are places where multiple Type S manufacturers rotate on a schedule and share space and equipment. A Type 7, 6 or N license can register all or part of their manufacturing premises as a shared-use facility.

Distribution licenses

Type 11: distributor

Type 11 distributors can:

  • Move cannabis and cannabis products between cultivation, manufacturing or distribution premises
  • Move finished cannabis goods to retail premises
  • Provide storage services to other licensees
  • Arrange for testing of cannabis goods

Type 13: transport-only distributor

Type 13 distributors can move cannabis and cannabis products between cultivation, manufacturing or distribution premises. Reduced fees are available if you only want to transport the goods you cultivate or manufacture.

Testing laboratory licenses

The Type 8 license is for laboratories that test cannabis goods prior to sale at a retailer.

Testing laboratories must obtain and maintain ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation. You can use an interim testing license while you work on your accreditation.

Retail licenses

Type 9: non-storefront retailer (delivery only)

A non-storefront retailer sells cannabis goods to customers only through delivery.

Type 10: storefront retailer

A storefront retailer has a physical location where cannabis goods are sold. Storefront retailers can also deliver cannabis goods.

Microbusiness licenses

The Type 12 license is for businesses that do at least three of the following activities at one location:

  • Cultivation – up to 10,000 total square feet
  • Manufacturing – use of non-volatile solvents, mechanical extraction or infusion
  • Distribution or distribution transport-only
  • Retail – storefront or non-storefront

Event licenses

There are two cannabis event license types:

  • Event organizer – for the person hosting cannabis events
  • Temporary cannabis event – for the event itself

Cannabis events can only be held by a person with an event organizer license.