Licensing Requirements for Common Cannabis Companies

In the Cannabis industry, there are several types of companies you can start. Each differs in requirements for obtaining a license as well. Below are three common Cannabis business licenses you can apply for in California.


In the state of California, dispensaries are popping up in almost every city. These retail storefronts offer a variety of products to their customers. As a business owner, you’re required to ensure your marketing, design, site planning, and public outreach follow the Cannabis laws and regulations. If you’re looking to open your own dispensary, you’ll need to take care of a few things when applying for your license. You’ll need a land-use permit, a building permit, and an operator permit. You may also be required to prepare an environmental assessment related to company vehicle pollution, customer traffic, or other aspects of development.

As part of the retail license umbrella, mobile delivery is one of the hottest trends in the Cannabis industry today. Although some cities and counties require that anyone operating a delivery service also operate a retail storefront, more municipalities are starting to see the benefit in allowing stand-alone delivery services. It can sound like a win-win from a revenue standpoint. However, many cities in California may not support or allow delivery licenses. 


Cultivation licensing applies to businesses that produce raw Cannabis flower or biomass. Because of the type of products cultivators produce, business owners are required to obtain a license from the Department of Food and Agriculture. Running a cultivation business can also be costly. Having a professional Cannabis lawyer in your corner like those at Unlock Legal can help you understand exactly what you need to start and maintain your business.


Hosting a public event requires a different kind of Cannabis license and regulations. These events can only be held by a person who has a Cannabis event organizer license approved by the BCC, and also requires a separate permit for each individual event. The licensing fees for this type of business are also a little different. They are based on the number of events planned for the year. Additionally, the event organizer and participating vendors are not authorized to cultivate, distribute, manufacture, or sell cannabis products at the event unless they have an additional license in those areas. On-site consumption is usually permitted at these licensed events, but California still does not permit free companies to distribute free samples to other businesses or consumers.

No matter which Cannabis business type you choose to focus on, filling for a license or multiple licenses can be difficult. Each license requires you to create a detailed work plan, site and facility plan, business plan, and obtain state and local approvals. Small mistakes on these documents can result in a denied application and set you back months. Our team at Unlock Legal can help you prepare and review all of these documents before you submit them. We know what common compliance and regulation mistakes many businesses make and how you can avoid them.

Do you need help finding and resolving cannabis compliance and regulatory issues before your license is questioned?

  We can help.  Give us a call at 949-988-4444.

Request a free consultation

"*" indicates required fields

Last Name*
Are you currently under investigation by your licensing board?*
Are any disciplinary proceedings pending from your licensing board?*
Does your case involve any arrest or criminal conviction?*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Search through our posts...