How to start a commercial grow operation in California

By Alice

How to start a commercial grow operation in California:

Marijuana Business in California – Image powered by

  • Retail marijuana stores
  • Marijuana product manufacturers
  • Marijuana commercial grow facilities
  • Marijuana testing facilities
  • Marijuana distributors
  • Marijuana extraction services

Currently, regulators have until January 1st, 2018 to begin issuing these licenses. However, the state has not indicated when they will open the application period to potential entrepreneurs.

California cannabis history and market

On November 8, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) into law. MCRSA is composed of three separate bills (AB 266, AB 243 and SB 643) and forms a foundation for future medical marijuana regulations and a statewide licensing program for growing, manufacturing, transporting, testing, distribution, and retail dispensing of medical marijuana. Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996.

Cannabis history and market – Image powered by

California’s marijuana market has jumped to nearly $845 million annually, with over 2,800 marijuana businesses currently operating in the state.

Owner requirements

California’s law allows counties and cities to set rules for growers and sellers. They can ban them outright if they choose. So, you’ll need to check with local laws to see if you can acquire the necessary licenses to operate and learn what it will take to comply with the rules.

License requirements

If you want to open a growing facility in California, you must go through a demanding application process. According to official documents released by the state of California, the initial licensing process will go through four stages:

  • Stage 1: Preliminary determination of eligibility
    Cost: $3,258.00
  • Stage 2: Initial ranking.
    Cost: $701.00
  • Stage 3: Second ranking.
    Cost: $1,790.00
  • Stage 4: Public Meeting and City Council Final Selection.
    Cost: $1,937.00
License requirements

License requirements – Image powered by

Applicants will then need to undergo a criminal background check by the California City Police Department as part of the first stage. Resources for this are limited so no more than six applicants per day will be processed. Therefore, it is best to make an appointment. Please note that there is a $78 fee per background check, payable on-site.

Regarding location, applicants are required to submit a “Zoning Verification Letter” to the Planning Division in the City Hall. The documentation can be obtained by your local Public Works Department. The review takes approximately two weeks and costs $250.

There are several tiers of licensing for marijuana growers, depending on the size and type of your growing operation. The options are as follows:

Tier 1: Specialty (Up to 5,000 sq. ft. of canopy OR up to 50 mature plants on non-contiguous plots)

  • License 1: Specialty Outdoor.
  • License 1A: Specialty Indoor
  • License 1B: Specialty Mixed-Light.

Tier 2: Small (Between 5,001 and 10,000 sq. ft. of canopy)

  • License 2: Small Outdoor.
  • License 2A: Small Indoor.
  • License 2B: Small Mixed-Light.

Tier 3: (Between 10,001 sq. ft. to one acre of canopy) These licenses are limited in their access to …read more



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *