- Posted by Erica Treeby
- On October 25, 2016
- breaking, California, cannabis, Cannabis License, commercial medical cannabis business, cultivation, delivery, dispensary, MCRSA, medical marijuana collectives, regulations
In the wake of the newly enacted Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MCRSA”), codified by AB 243, AB 266, and SB 643, many counties have rushed to align their regulatory framework with that of the State. MCRSA recognizes a range of medical marijuana businesses referred to as “commercial cannabis activities,” and provides immunity to marijuana businesses operating with both a state license and a local permit. The new legislation also preserves local control over medical cannabis facilities and land uses, including the authority to ban medical marijuana businesses completely.
Despite the evolution of progressive medical cannabis regulations in neighboring counties like San Francisco and Alameda, San Mateo County has seen little change in its regulatory framework over the past several years.
In May 2009, the Board of Supervisors adopted San Mateo County Ordinance Code Chapter 5.148, which sought to regulate commercial collective cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana within the unincorporated area of the county. The ordinance does not apply to personal cultivation of medical cannabis by a qualified patient for his own use.
The current version of San Mateo’s ordinance requires medical marijuana collectives to obtain a County license in order to operate. On top of the standard business license findings detailed in Chapter 5.04 of the Code, additional findings must be made for medical marijuana businesses. For example, the business’s location must be sufficiently buffered in relation to any residential area in the immediate vicinity so as not to adversely affect said area; and the use of the property cannot adversely affect the use of any school, playground, park, church, or library.
Section 5.148.050 of the Code sets forth an extensive list of conditions a medical marijuana business must comply with in order to obtain a business license. Advertising of marijuana is strictly prohibited, and any exterior signage at the location is limited to the site’s address. Moreover, the medical marijuana collective must be more than 1,000 feet from a school, recreation center, or youth center.
The activities that may be conducted at a licensed marijuana business are limited to cultivation and storage of marijuana for personal use and preparation of marijuana for personal use, such as drying or processing. Sales of cultivated medical cannabis are not permitted on site; nor is the cooking, sale, preparation or manufacturing of marijuana edible products. Significantly, the ordinance does not foreclose the operation of medical cannabis delivery services.
Although the County shows no sign of relaxing its medical cannabis regulations anytime soon, several cities within the County, including Redwood City and Menlo Park, are currently considering amendments to their ordinances.
Contact CannaBusinessLaw for expert assistance in compliance with cannabis licensing, permitting and the application process relating to commercial cannabis in California.