What you need to obtain a California cannabis cultivation license

 California Cannabis Seedling

The California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) released the initial draft outline of the Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program (MCCP) regulations.  Part of the draft includes the requirements to obtain a state cultivation license.  One of the most important parts of this draft is the requirement of a "local license, permit, or other authorization from a local jurisdiction to cultivate." 

As the draft becomes final it will be interesting to see what "other authorization" actually means.  Will that mean that cultivators operating in a grey area (without a local permit) will be considered in compliance?  If not, will these cultivators have any path to state licensure?  There is still a lot of work to do at the state level to answer these and so many other remaining questions.  

CDFA will be holding a number of public scoping workshops throughout California in the September.  

Below is the language from the CDFA draft.


Application Requirements: Licensees will have to provide the following, at a minimum, in order to be considered for a license:

  • Board of Equalization seller’s permit number
  • Proof of fingerprinting submission to the California Department of Justice.
  • Copy of a local license, permit or other authorization from a local jurisdiction to cultivate, and related California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) documentation.
  • A cultivation plan detailing grow site dimensions, chemical use protocols, water source and storage, waste removal plan, security protocols, inventory tracking procedures, quality control procedures, product storage and labeling, and details regarding the method of compliance with applicable MCCP environmental requirements.
  • Proof of the legal right to occupy the proposed cultivation site.
  •  Proof of a bond in the amount of $25,000.
  • If applicable, copy of a valid Fish and Game Code section 1602 lake or streambed alteration agreement or written verification from the Department of Fish and Wildlife that an agreement is not required.
  • If applicable, approval of water diversion and water rights.
  • If applicable, a certificate of rehabilitation for a conviction.

Applicants will also need to attest to the following:

  • A license is only valid for the single, identified location.
  • The proposed location is located beyond a 600-foot radius from a school.
  • The applicant is not a licensed retailer of alcoholic beverages.
  • The applicant is an “agricultural employer.”
  • For an applicant with 20 or more employees, the applicant will enter into a Labor Peace Agreement.
  • Comply with prohibition of weapons and firearm at the cultivation site.
  • Under penalty of perjury, the information in the application is complete, true and accurate; the applicant has read and is familiar with all applicable laws and regulations .