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California Cannabis Retail


California storefront (dispensary) and non-storefront (delivery) licenses are issued by the same agency who issues cannabis distribution and testing licenses, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC.) Of course, like all other cannabis licenses, a prospective operator must first find a local jurisdiction willing to approve the project before the BCC will consider issuing a license.


A storefront cannabis business is a concept many will find familiar. The most notable dispensaries in the United States are those operated by MedMen. The most significant obstacle most will face in obtaining a cannabis dispensary license is the dearth of  suitable properties on the market meeting Los Angeles’ stringent zoning and sensitive use requirements. For example, in Los Angeles a dispensary must be located at least 700 feet from schools, public parks, public libraries, alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facilities, day care centers, permanent supportive housing; and outside of a 700-foot radius of any other Retailer or Micro-business Commercial Cannabis Activity having on-site retail sales.


Cannabis delivery services have fewer location restrictions. They need only to remain 600 feet or more from a school.


A dispensary or delivery may also try to gain the right to sell cannabis to an end user through a micro-business license. A micro-business is required to three out of the following four license types: cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and retail. A person or company may obtain all four license types. For example, a company may choose to operate a small 5,000 cultivation facility, a distribution facility, and dispensary all out of the same location. One drawback to a micro-business license is the cultivation canopy cannot exceed 10,000 sq ft. Also, any time a dispensary becomes part of a micro-business, more stringent zoning and sensitive use restrictions apply.


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

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