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Running a business in California

Running a business in California

Cannabis businesses must follow the regular rules for businesses in California. We’ve gathered some of the most common information for cannabis businesses.

Business filings and trademarks

You must register your business with the California Secretary of State. The only exception is if you’re a sole proprietor. You can register as a:

  • Corporation
  • Limited liability company
  • Partnership
  • Nonprofit

You can also trademark your business, brand or product name to prevent someone else from using it. Learn more at Cannabizfile.

Banking and insurance

The Department of Cannabis Control can help your business access financial services. You can authorize us to share information with financial institutions. This may make it easier to get services from them.

Learn more about how to get banking and insurance services.


Your business must pay state income tax and payroll taxes. Cannabis businesses must pay cannabis-specific taxes. Examples include a cultivation tax and an excise tax. Cannabis taxes fund public health, environmental protection and public safety initiatives.

Operating a safe workplace

Your business must protect employees from work-related health and safety hazards. You need an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) that:

  • Identifies workplace health and safety hazards
  • Trains employees to work safely

Cal/OSHA has resources to help you create an IIPP.

A supervisor and employee must also complete a Cal/OSHA 30-hour general industry outreach course if your business has more than one employee. The course must be taught by a trainer authorized by the OSHA Training Institute Education Center.

Protecting the environment

Your business must follow all state and local laws intended to protect and conserve the environment. You must get entitlements, permits or licenses and follow rules when your activities:

If you use pesticides, you must prevent them from contaminating soil and groundwater.