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How Licensing Works Under MMRSA

How Cannabis Business Licensing Works under MMRSA

  1. Businesses that were both in operation and in good standing with their local jurisdictions prior to 2016 are given priority to receive licenses.
  2. Applicants must acquire a permit from their city or county prior to acquiring a license from the state of California prior to operating a cannabis business. Both are required for compliance with the new commercial cannabis laws – i.e., a state license does not remove the need for a local permit, or vice versa.
  3. While local jurisdictions have some ability to tailor their ordinances regarding medical marijuana licenses for business operations, all such localities must still meet the minimum standards established by the MMRSA and the state.
  4. The law creates seventeen types of commercial licenses, many of which depend on whether the cannabis is cultivated indoors or outdoors, along with the size and amount cultivated.
  5. There are limitations on the types and number of licenses that can be held by one licensee. As a general rule, under the new laws a licensee may only hold a state license in up to two separate license categories. Furthermore, a licensee is also prohibited from holding an ownership interest in real property, personal property, or any other assets associated with another license category.
  6. A licensee cannot also be licensed as an alcoholic beverages retailer.
  7. Licenses are valid for one year from the date they are issued, and they must be renewed annually in order to continue lawful commercial cannabis operations.
  8. Businesses that were previously allowed to cultivate, manufacture, and dispense cannabis or cannabis products under one permit may meet an exception. However, there are several requirements. Most notably, the business must have continuously complied with local ordinances without interruption prior to July 1, 2015. For more information on this exemption, click here.

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