Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

When and where can I apply for a license?

California’s three licensing authorities are currently accepting applications for commercial cannabis! Information on where to apply can be found on the licensing tab.

What type of license will I need to apply for?


The different licensing types include cultivation, manufacturing, testing laboratory, retailer, distributor and microbusiness. The subcategories for each type of license can be found in SB-94. Licenses will be designated as either “M” (medical) or “A” (adult-use), except for testing laboratories which will be able to test both medical and adult-use cannabis products. The requirements for “M” and “A” licenses are the same unless otherwise specified.

Who is responsible for distributing each type of license?

CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, operating under the California Department of Food and Agriculture, is responsible for distributing licenses to cultivators.

The Bureau of Cannabis Control, operating under the California Department of Consumer Affairs, will distribute licenses to retailers, distributors, testing labs and microbusinesses.

The Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch, operating under the California Department of Public Health, is responsible for distributing licenses to manufacturers.

How many licenses can I hold at once?

There are currently no restrictions to how many licenses an individual can possess. However, this may change when draft regulations are released. Local cities and counties may also limit the number of licenses that can be acquired.

How long will my license be valid for?

A license issued by the state will be valid for 12 months and will need to be renewed annually.

How much will licensing fees cost?
Which materials will I need to provide to the state on my licensing application?


The licensing application guidelines are listed in each licensing authority’s proposed emergency regulations. In preparing to apply for a state license, the three licensing authorities have provided fact sheets on what the anticipated annual requirements will be when preparing to apply for a license:

We also recommend individuals make sure their proposed business will be in compliance with all local laws and regulations. Contact your local city or county for more information about what commercial cannabis activities are allowed in your area and the requirements for those activities.


Do I need to get a state license or local city/county license first?

It is advisable to get a local city or county license first. Applicants for state commercial cannabis licenses must be in compliance with all local regulations and ordinances. In addition, applicants for temporary state commercial cannabis licenses must specifically hold a license, permit, or authorization from their local city or county when applying for a temporary state license.


Can I apply for a license through my city/county or do I need to apply for a state-issued license too?

A state-issued license is required in complying with the proper state regulatory agencies.

My city/county has banned commercial cannabis activities, can I still apply for a state license?


The Bureau will not issue the respective state licenses to individuals or commercial operations inside a city or county which has banned the cultivation, manufacturing or dispensing of cannabis or cannabis-related products.


Will there be a limit on the number of commercial cannabis licenses that the Bureau issues?

The Bureau currently has no plans to limit the number of commercial cannabis licenses it will issue. However, local cities and counties may limit the number of businesses they permit to operate within their jurisdiction. In addition, when deciding whether to issue or deny a retail or microbusiness license, the bureau is required to consider whether the issuance of the license would result in “excessive concentration” pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 26051(c).


What is a temporary license?

Beginning on January 1, 2018, the Bureau will issue temporary licenses to make sure commercial cannabis businesses operating under a valid local permit, license or other authorization can continue to do business while the Bureau processes regular (nontemporary) license applications. A temporary license will be valid for 120 days. Temporary licensees may apply for a 90-day extension to their temporary license if they have submitted a complete application for a regular license to the Bureau.


Will I be able to access a list of licensed commercial cannabis businesses once the bureau begins issuing licenses?


Yes, that will eventually be an option, though likely not on day one, as businesses will be applying for and receiving licenses to operate. As more and more people enter the regulated market, our online database will become more robust.

Will the bureau be providing educational workshops to help industry members understand the new regulatory structure?

The Bureau will be offering several workshops as a chance to interact with the public, receive comments and educate licensing applicants on proposed regulations. More information on the dates and locations of these upcoming workshops can be found on our website at, or accessed on our Facebook and Twitter pages, or on California’s Cannabis Web Portal at

If I suspect there is a commercial cannabis business operating illegally in my area, what should I do?

The Bureau is working on developing an enforcement system to allow concerned individuals to submit their complaints regarding possible illegal cannabis grows/businesses. At this time, we recommend reporting any illegal cannabis grows/businesses to your local city or county authorities.


What type of careers are available in cannabis regulation and are there any job openings at the Bureau I can apply for?

There are a wide variety of careers available in cannabis regulation. As we get closer to January 1, 2018 and a newly-regulated cannabis industry, the State of California’s three licensing authorities are searching for qualified candidates to assist in the ongoing regulation process.

The Bureau of Cannabis Control, CDFA’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing and CDPH’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch are all hiring for a wide variety of positions in the coming months. Active job seekers can find current open positions located on the State of California’s jobs website. We also have recent job postings available on our Facebook page.


What’s the best way to stay informed and up to date on recent cannabis regulations and news?

The Bureau actively updates its website,, with the latest news and updates in cannabis regulation. You can subscribe to our electronic mailing list to receive information as it becomes available to the public. We also have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts that are updated daily with cannabis news and events. The California’s Cannabis Portal,, features valuable resources from each of the three licensing agencies and other business partners.