State Cannabis License

The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) issues licenses based on the type of cannabis activity. Please visit the DCC website to learn how to apply for or renew a license.

In California, the process of obtaining a cannabis license involves securing both a local and state license. This means that operations cannot begin until both licenses are granted. To encourage businesses to move to the legal market, the state introduced a provisional license program. This program allows applicants to operate their businesses while the remaining state application items are being processed. The state's provisional licensing program was originally set to expire on January 1, 2020, but was later extended to January 1, 2022, to provide more time for businesses to obtain their full licenses and comply with the regulations. Issued provisional licenses are eligible for renewal every twelve months and will continue to be eligible for renewal until January 1, 2025. By January 2026, state regulators are required to transition all provisional licenses into annual licenses.

All cannabis uses within the City require either a Zoning Clearance or a Conditional Use Permit. You can check our land use policy chart to confirm the required permit type. An approved Cannabis use can be transferred to a new operator through a Zoning Clearance application (at no cost) requesting a name change. To legally operate a cannabis business in the City of Santa Rosa, an approved land use permit and business tax certificate and the appropriate valid State operator license are required.

Before submitting your state license application, it is important to communicate with the planning staff. Staff can inform you if the City’s response to the DCC local authorization request regarding your permit would be “in compliance,” “underway,” or “incomplete.” This will help streamline the process and prevent any delays. 

The City only has a 60-day window to reply with local authorization once contacted and needs the following items to be completed by the applicant:

  • Finalized building permit
  • County health permit (for edible manufacturing and dispensaries)
  • Tax registration completed

Recommendations to transfer to annual license

  • Confirm with DCC when to submit the state license application and receive local approval confirmation.
  • We urge all provisional license holders to smoothly transition to annual licensure before the deadline for provisional license renewals. It is important to prepare and submit all requested documents from DCC in a timely manner and keep requesting updates to ensure a successful transition to an annual license.
  • Provisional license holders must work diligently with their local jurisdiction to complete all local permitting processes.