- Posted by Erica Treeby
- On December 27, 2016
- breaking, California, cannabis, cannabis law, Cannabis License, Cannabis Permit, city, commercial cultivation, commercial medical cannabis, County, dispensary, licensing, local jurisdiction, MCRSA, regulations
There’s no denying that California is experiencing a cannabis boom. But, while many counties and cities are welcoming the green rush with open arms, other localities are closing their doors.
With the adoption of the Medical Cannabis Regulation & Safety Act (“MCRSA”) in October of last year, California created a comprehensive state licensing system for the commercial cultivation, manufacture, retail sale, transport, distribution, delivery, and testing of medical cannabis. Under MCRSA’s dual licensing scheme, an applicant is not eligible for a state-issued license without first obtaining a local license or permit. (AB 266, Bus. & Prof. Code section 19320(a); AB 243, Health & Safety Code section 11362.777 (b)).
Because MCRSA allows municipalities to determine their own regulations, over the past year, local jurisdictions have scrambled to craft laws relating to commercial medical cannabis operations. This means that local jurisdictions have the option of allowing none, some or all such businesses through some form of a local regulatory permit/license
Although the majority of the state’s counties allow at least one category of medical cannabis activity within their borders, the following TEN counties have banned all forms of medical cannabis businesses, including cultivation, retail and manufacturing activities:
- Riverside County
- Los Angeles County
- Kings County
- Fresno County
- Alpine County
- Stanislaus County
- San Joaquin County
- Contra Costa County
- Colusa County
- Placer County
While a little more than 15% of California’s counties have chosen to exclude all categories of medical cannabis businesses, THREE counties have chosen to open their doors to commercial cultivation, retail, and manufacturing, at a minimum:
- San Francisco, City and County
- Santa Cruz County
- Humboldt County
In order to ensure your medical cannabis business is fully compliant with the law, it’s imperative to understand your county’s or city’s local regulations. With 58 counties and 482 incorporated cities in California, each with the option of designing their own medical cannabis laws, determining which activities are permitted in various municipalities can be a time consuming process.
CannaBusiness Law’s interactive map is a helpful resource, with up-to-date information on regulations in all 58 counties in specified categories of medical cannabis activity, specifically commercial cultivation, manufacturing and retail. The medical cannabis policies that correspond to the counties listed on the map apply only to the unincorporated areas of a particular county; cities within those counties may have different regulations–except for San Francisco, which is the only consolidated city-county in California.
For example, if your cannabis business is in an unincorporated area of Riverside County, county regulations apply. If, however, your business is in the City of Desert Hot Springs (an incorporated city in Riverside County), regulations specific to the City of Desert Hot Springs apply. For more information on the differences between cities and counties, see Commercial Cannabis Regulations 101: Understanding State and Local Authority.
Contact CannaBusiness Law for expert assistance in compliance with cannabis licensing, permitting and the application process relating to commercial cannabis in California.