Commercial California Cannabis Cultivation License Info, costs, & application assistance.

How to Obtain Your Legal California Cannabis Cultivation License to Grow Commercially.

If you want to obtain your California cannabis cultivation license, this article will guide you.

We’ve seen the growing acceptance of marijuana being legalized across America throughout the years. Out of 50 states. In 2018, California’s Proposition 64 took effect, making the recreational use of marijuana legal while an average of 4.86% of California’s population use marijuana for medical purposes. Despite this, there are licensing laws implemented to prevent the cornering of the market. There are several cannabis license types in California, each used for different activities such as:

  • Cultivation
  • Manufacturing
  • Testing
  • Retailer
  • Distributor
  • Microbusiness
  • Events

Licenses for cultivation, manufacturing, retail, and distribution have subtypes depending on several factors. 

Being approved for a California cannabis cultivation license can be a long and difficult process.

Our team has never been denied a cannabis license application!

Contact us for help

Creating a California Cannabis Cultivation License Plan

As part of your California Cannabis Cultivation Business plan, you’re required to create a California Cannabis Cultivation Plan. This is a very specific document that details the operations of your cultivation. You must understand/include all of the below, with diagrams, and detailed explanations.

  • Administrative-Hold Area: A designated area for all segregated cannabis or non-manufactured cannabis products subject to being put on hold.
  • Canopy Type: The designated area(s) at licensed premises (except for nurseries and processors) that will contain mature (flowering) plants at any point in time, as follows:
  • A specialty outdoor canopy: is determined by either square feet or plant count, whereas a specialty cottage outdoor canopy is determined by plant count.
    • If mature plants are being cultivated using a shelving system, the surface area of each level must be included in the total calculation of the canopy.
    • The canopy shall be calculated in square feet and measured using clearly identifiable boundaries of all the areas that will contain mature plants at any point in time, including all the space(s) within the boundaries.
    • The canopy may be noncontiguous, but each unique area included in the total canopy calculation must be separated by an identifiable boundary that includes, but is not limited to, interior walls, shelves, greenhouse walls, hoop-house walls, garden benches, hedgerows, fencing, garden beds, or garden plots.
  • Composting Area: The area designated for composting on the licensed premises. 
  • Harvest Storage Area: The area designated in the cultivation plan for storing all harvested cannabis on the licensed premises.
  • A property diagram: is an illustration of the entire property (the bird’s-eye view) associated with the proposed premises. If the proposed premises span multiple parcels, all parcel numbers must be identified on the diagram.
  • A premises diagram is a bird’s-eye-view illustration of the proposed premises; requirements vary based on the type of license. Boundaries and dimensions (in feet) of the required areas must be identified, as specified below.
  • Lighting Diagram
  • California Cannabis Cultivation Pest Management Plan Form
  • California Cannabis Cultivation Waste Management Plan Form
  • Transportation procedures (DCC-LIC-015)
  • Inventory procedures (DCC-LIC-016)
  • Non-laboratory quality control procedures (DCC-LIC-017)These forms are not required to obtain your California cultivation license, but they can’t hurt to include.
    • Landowner approval form
    • Labor peace agreement notarized statement (if applicable)

    Applicants must submit evidence of a surety bond in an amount of no less than $5,000, made payable to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. To meet this requirement, contact a corporate surety company licensed for transactions in California and ask for a bond with a $5,000 premium

    Here is a great reference guide from the California Dept of Food & Agriculture on obtaining a California cannabis cultivation license

 

Being approved for a California cannabis cultivation license can be a long and difficult process.

Contact us for help

Our team has never been denied a cannabis license application!

What Is a California Marijuana Cultivation License

What Is a California Marijuana Cultivation License?

Are you planning to grow cannabis in California? If your answer is yes, you must obtain a California cultivation license in your city/county to do so legally. The type of license you would need depends on the size of the canopy and the kind of lighting you’ll be using. There are also different licenses for growing seedlings and immature plants and drying, curing, trimming, packaging, and making pre-rolls.

Laws for Personal Use Marijuana Cultivation in California

The statute that defines the crime of illegal marijuana cultivation is stated in the Health and Safety Code 1138 HS. According to Proposition 64, people 21 years old and above can legally cultivate or grow up to six marijuana plants for recreational use. 

Under HS 11358, those cultivating marijuana at the ages of 18 to 20 violates the law, punishable by a maximum fine of $100. The statute defines the growing of more than six hash plants by a person 18 or older as a misdemeanor. Those who cultivate marijuana illegally may face jail time for up to six months and pay a $500 fine. Those who cultivate marijuana for medical use, patients and caretakers, can cultivate either 12 immature marijuana plants, 6 mature plants, or more as long as it’s consistent with the patient’s needs.

If you plan to sell the marijuana you grow, be sure to get a California cannabis cultivation license and follow state laws.

California Marijuana Cultivation License Requirements

California Marijuana Cultivation License Requirements

Obtaining a cultivation license is not that easy. Before you can qualify for a marijuana cultivation license in California, there are several documents you need to submit as per the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA), such as:

  • Cultivation plan. Your cultivation plan should include details about the canopy’s size, water source and storage, security protocols, chemical use protocols, inventory tracking procedures, waste removal plan, product storage, quality control procedures, and labeling.
  • Evidence of a bond of $25,000.
  • Evidence of your right to legally occupy the cultivation site.
  • Evidence of submission of your fingerprints to the California Department of Justice.
  • Copy of authorization to cultivate from your local jurisdiction.
  • Board of Equalization seller’s permit
  • Only if applicable, approval of water diversion and water rights.
  • Only if applicable, written verification from the Department of Fish and Wildlife stating that a streambed alteration agreement is not required or a copy of a valid Fish and Game Code section 1602 streambed alteration agreement. 
  • Only if applicable, rehabilitation for a conviction certification.

Aside from these documents, the MCRSA requires you to attest to the following:

  • You are not a licensed retailer of alcoholic beverages.
  • You must enter into a Labor Peace Agreement if you have 20 or more employees.
  • The location of the cultivation site is beyond a 600-foot radius from a school.
  • You are an agricultural employer.
  • A license is only valid for a single, identified location.
  • Under penalty of perjury, the information you have provided is complete, true, and accurate, and you have read and are familiar with all the applicable laws and regulations.

California Cannabis Cultivation License Application Process

California Cannabis Cultivation License Application Process

When it comes to marijuana cultivation, the regulating program under the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is the CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing (CalCannabis). Before applying for a California cannabis cultivation license, you must be familiarized with California’s cannabis laws that have been established under one act known as the Medicinal and Adult-Use of Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA)

You may get a temporary license or an annual license, a local authorization. For temporary licenses, you must take note of the following:

  • Good for 120 days
  • An extension is possible for an additional 90-day period and would require submitting a complete annual application.
  • Free
  • Must have a permit, local license, or other authorization
  • Temporary licenses are a legislative effort to bring the existing industry into a regulatory structure.

On the other hand, you must keep these in mind for an annual license:

  • You are not required to provide a permit, local license, or other written document.
  • Notifying the local jurisdiction to determine if you comply with all ordinances and local laws will be done by the CDFA.

Additionally, you would need to submit some required documents while your site should not sell alcohol or tobacco products. 

Being approved for a California cannabis cultivation license can be a long and difficult process.

Contact us for help

We can create your entire business plan and make sure you’re compliant.

Our team has never been denied a cannabis license application!

 

Commercial Cannabis Cultivation License Fee’s

California Commercial Cannabis Cultivation License Fee’s and costs

License Fees for Growing Commercial Cannabis in California:

When applying for a California cannabis cultivation license, you need to pay a one-time application fee when submitting an application and an annual CA Cannabis cultivation license fee. The fees for California cultivation licenses are based on the type of license you would be getting. 

License Type Application Fee License Fee
Small indoor $3,935 $35,410
Small outdoor $535 $4,820
Small mixed-light tier 1 $1,310 $11,800
Small mixed-light tier 2 $2,250 $20,235
Medium indoor $8,655 $77,905
Medium outdoor $1,555 $13,990
Medium mixed-light tier 1 $2,885 $25,970
Medium mixed-light tier 2 $4,945 $44,517
Specialty indoor $2,170 $19,540
Specialty outdoor $270 $2,410
Specialty mixed-light tier 1 $655 $5,900
Specialty mixed-light tier 2 $1,125 $10,120
Specialty cottage indoor $205 $1,830
Specialty cottage outdoor $135 $1,205
Specialty cottage mixed-light tier 1 $340 $3,035
Specialty cottage mixed-light tier 2 $580 $5,200
Processor $1,040 $9,370
Nursery $520 $4,685

California Cannabis Cultivation License Types

It is best to know the cultivation license you need before starting your application. Here are the California Cannabis Cultivation Types and their brief descriptions:

  • Small California Cannabis Cultivation License Info
  • Type 1 – Small Specialty Outdoor Cultivation License:
  • Outdoor cultivation
  • using no artificial lighting 
  • less than or equal to 5,000 square feet of total canopy size on one premises
  • OR up to 50 mature plants on noncontiguous plots.
    • Application Fees $270
    • Licensing Fees $2,410
  • Type 1A – Small Specialty Indoor Cultivation License:
  • Indoor cultivation 
  • using exclusively artificial lighting 
  • between 501 and 5,000 square feet of total canopy size on one premises.
    • Application Fees $2,170
    • Licensing Fees $19,540
  • Type 1B – Small Specialty Mixed-Light Cultivation License:
  • Cultivation using a combination of natural and supplemental artificial lighting at a maximum threshold to be determined by the licensing authority
  • Between 2,501 and 5,000 square feet of total canopy size on one premises.
    • Application Fees $1,310
    • Licensing Fees $11,800
  • Type 1C – Small Specialty Cottage Cultivation License:
  • Cultivation using a combination of natural and supplemental artificial lighting at a maximum threshold to 96 Ch. 27 — 42 — be determined by the licensing authority
  • 2,500 square feet or less of total canopy size for mixed-light cultivation
  • Up to 25 mature plants for outdoor cultivation or 500 square feet or less of total canopy size for indoor cultivation, on one premises.
  • Application Fees $340
  • Licensing Fees $3,035
  • Type 2 – Small Outdoor Cultivation License:
  • Outdoor cultivation using no artificial lighting
  • Between 5,001 and 10,000 square feet, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premises.
    • Application Fees $535
    • Licensing Fees $4,820
  • Type 2A – Small Indoor Cultivation License :
  • Indoor cultivation using exclusively artificial lighting 
  • Between 5,001 and 10,000 square feet, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premises.
    • Application Fees $3,935
    • Licensing Fees $35,410
  • Type 2B – Small Mixed-Light Cultivation License:
  • Cultivation using a combination of natural and supplemental artificial lighting at a maximum threshold to be determined by the licensing authority
  • Between 5,001 and 10,000 square feet, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premises.
    • Application Fees $1,310
    • Licensing Fees $11,800

Medium California Cannabis Cultivation License

  • Type 3 – Medium Outdoor Cultivation License:
  • Outdoor cultivation using no artificial lighting 
  • 10,001 square feet to one acre, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premises. 
  • The Department of Food & Agriculture shall limit the number of licenses allowed of this type.
    • Application Fees $1,555
    • Licensing Fees $13,990
  • Type 3A – Medium Indoor Cultivation License:
  • Indoor cultivation using exclusively artificial lighting between 10,001 and 22,000 square feet inclusive, of total canopy size on one premises. 
  • The Department of Food & Agriculture shall limit the number of licenses allowed of this type.
    • Application Fees $8,655
    • Licensing Fees $77,905
  • Type 3B – Medium Mixed-Light Cultivation License: 
  • Cultivation using a combination of natural and supplemental artificial lighting at a maximum threshold to be determined by the licensing authority.
  • Between 10,001 and 22,000 square feet, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premises.
  • The Department of Food & Agriculture shall limit the number of licenses allowed of this type.
    • Application Fees $2,885 (Tier 1)
    • Licensing Fees $25,970 (Tier 1)
      • Application Fees $4,945 (Tier 2)
      • Licensing Fees $44,517 (Tier 2)
  • Type 4 – Nursery Cultivation License:
  • Cultivation of cannabis solely as a nursery.
    • Application Fees $520
    • Licensing Fees $4,685

There will be No Type 5, Type 5A, or Type 5B cultivation licenses issued before January 1, 2023.

  • Type 5 – Large Outdoor Cultivation License – 
  • Outdoor cultivation using no artificial lighting 
  • Greater than one acre, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premises.
  • Type 5A – Large Indoor Cultivation License – 
  • Indoor cultivation using exclusively artificial lighting
  • Greater than 22,000 square feet, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premises.
  • Type 5B Large Mixed-Light Cultivation License
  • Beginning on January 1, 2023, a Type 5, Type 5A, or Type 5B licensee may apply for and hold a Type 6 or Type 7 license and apply for and hold a Type 10 license.
  • A Type 5, Type 5A, or Type 5B licensee shall not be eligible to apply for or hold a Type 8, Type 11, or Type 12 license.

Easy Reading:

  1. Small outdoor (5,001 to 10,000 sq. ft. of canopy)
  2. Small indoor (5,001 to 10,000 sq. ft. of canopy)
  3. Small mixed-light tier 1 and 2 (5,001 to 10,000 sq. ft. of canopy)
  • Medium California Cannabis Cultivation License
  1. Medium outdoor (10,001 sq. ft. to 1 acre of canopy)
  2. Medium indoor (10,001 to 22,000 sq. ft. of canopy)
  3. Medium mixed-light tier 1 and 2 (10,001 to 22,000 sq. ft. of canopy)
  • Large California Cannabis Cultivation License (issuing cultivation licenses for large-sized canopies is suspended until January 1, 2023.)
  • Specialty California Cannabis Cultivation License
  1. Specialty outdoor (up to 50 mature plants or 5,000 sq. ft. of canopy)
  2. Specialty indoor (501 to 5,000 sq. ft. of canopy)
  3. Specialty mixed-light tier 1 and 2 (2,501 to 5,000 sq. ft. of canopy)
  • Specialty cottage California Cannabis Cultivation License
  1. Specialty cottage outdoor (maximum of 25 mature plants)
  2. Specialty cottage indoor (up to 500 sq. ft of canopy)
  3. Specialty cottage mixed-light tier 1 and 2 (maximum of 2,500 sq. ft. of canopy)
  • Nursery (growing of clones, immature plants, seeds, or other cannabis types for propagation)
  • Processor (trimming, curing, drying, grading, packaging, or labeling)

Other California Cannabis Licenses You Might Need

Depending on the marijuana activities your business will be doing, you might need more than one license, such as: 

  • Event licenses
  • Testing laboratory licenses
  • Manufacturing licenses
  • Retail licenses
  • Microbusiness licenses
  • Distribution licenses
  • Cultivation licenses

It can be an overwhelming process of obtaining all your necessary cannabis licenses. If you need help with getting cultivation, dispensary, distribution, delivery, and manufacturing licenses, we can help.

Get in touch with us!

We’re cannabis license experts, and have never been denied a cannabis license application. 

FAQs

  1. How many cultivation licenses are there in California? There are 18 different types of cultivation licenses in California. The types are based on the size of the canopy or the number of plants and light used.
  2. Is it legal to sell cannabis clones in California? Selling cannabis clones or any cannabis for that matter is still illegal in California if you do not have a valid state and local license.
  3. How many plants can I grow with a medical card in California? A patient or caregiver can grow or possess either twelve immature plants, six mature plants, and eight ounces of dried cannabis for medical purposes. 
  4. How much is a grower’s license in CA? The license fee for cultivation varies depending on the type of license you need. A grower would spend $4,820 per year for a small outdoor canopy.
  5. How much cannabis can you buy per day in California? If you are 21 years old and above and buying for recreational use, you can buy 1 ounce of cannabis per day. On the other hand, medical patients or caretakers can buy up to 8 ounces a day, depending on their doctor’s prescription. 
  6. What is mixed-light cultivation? If you’re growing or cultivating cannabis inside a greenhouse that uses both natural and artificial lighting, this would be considered mixed-light cultivation. 
  7. How do you become a legal grower? If you want to become a legal grower, you need to have all the required documents and obtain a cultivation license.
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