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California Cannabis Cultivation


The State of California has taken an interesting approach in creating several types of cannabis cultivation licenses. Specifically, the California Department of Food and Agriculture has created 18 distinct licenses:


  • Specialty Cottage Outdoor

  • Specialty Cottage Indoor

  • Specialty Cottage Mixed-Light Tier 1

  • Specialty Cottage Mixed-Light Tier 2

  • Specialty Outdoor

  • Specialty Indoor

  • Specialty Mixed-Light Tier 1

  • Specialty Mixed-Light Tier 2

  • Small Outdoor


  • Type 1: Specialty Outdoor – up to 5,000 sq ft, or up to 50 mature plants on non-contiguous plots;

  • Type 1A: Specialty Indoor – up to 5,000 sq ft;

  • Type 1B: Specialty Mixed-light – up to 5,000 sq ft;

  • Type 1C: Specialty Cottage – up to 25 mature plants for outdoor; up to 500 sq ft for indoor; or up to 2,500 sq ft for mixed-light;


  • Type 2: Small Outdoor – 5,001 to 10,000 sq ft;

  • Type 2A: Small Indoor – 5,001 to 10,000 sq ft;

  • Type 2B: Small Mixed-light – 5,001 to 10,000 sq ft;


  • Type 3: Medium Outdoor – 10,001 sq ft to one acre;

  • Type 3A: Medium Indoor – 10,001 to 22,000 sq ft;

  • Type 3B: Medium Mixed-Light – 10,001 to 22,000 sq ft;


  • Type 4: Nursery Outdoor/Indoor/Mixed-Light – up to one acre.

A prospective applicant has several options depending on the size, setting, and nature of the cannabis grow. For example, a “small indoor” license requires a license to maintain an indoor cultivation canopy between 5001 and 10,000 square feet. A nursery license permits only the cultivation of clones, immature plants, seeds, and other agricultural products used specifically for the propagation of cultivation of cannabis.


Annual cannabis licenses are valid for 12 months. The fees for an annual license range from $1205 (Specialty Cottage Outdoor) to $77,905 (Medium Outdoor) payable prior to the issuance of a license.


The process of obtaining a cannabis cultivation license is similar to other license types. An applicant must disclose owners and financial interest holders, show it has a legal right to occupy the premises from which the cultivation activity will occur, a property diagram, water source information, a waste management plan, and proof of local authorization. Currently, the CDFA is backlogged more than 4 months in the processing of its applications.

Please contact CLS for more information regarding cannabis licensing, and how to get started with the application process.

  • Small Indoor

  • Small Mixed-Light Tier 1

  • Small Mixed-Light Tier 2

  • Medium Outdoor

  • Medium Indoor

  • Medium Mixed-Light Tier 1

  • Medium Mixed-Light Tier 2

  • Nursery

  • Processor


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