Apply for a cannabis business permit

Check if you can apply, and what you need to do to open a cannabis business in San Francisco.

What to do

1. Check if you can apply

All businesses that cultivate, manufacture, distribute, sell, and test cannabis in San Francisco must have both a city Cannabis Permit and a California license.

Only Equity Applicants, Equity Incubators, or preexisting cannabis businesses can apply for a permit now.

Check if you can apply for a Cannabis Permit

2. Find a location

You must work with SF Planning to finalize your location. There are other requirements for retail businesses.

Find a location zoned for cannabis businesses

3. Set up your business

Register your business with the city and state. Get information on your business owners and get a background check.

Set up your cannabis business

4. Apply for Cannabis Permit Part 1

The Office of Cannabis will send you a link to Part 1 of the form, if you are eligible.

The Office of Cannabis will check your proposed location and your owners’ backgrounds.

5. Meet with your neighbors

Cannabis businesses should write a Good Neighbor Policy and support the neighborhood where the business will be located.

Have neighborhood outreach meetings

6. Meet with other departments

If your location is viable, you will be referred to SF Planning. You can also meet with other departments before you get plan checks for building permits.

Meet with City departments about your proposed cannabis business

7. Get building permits

You will get a job card from the Department of Building Inspection to start construction. You might also need other permits and pay other fees.

Get other permits for cannabis businesses

8. Plan how you will run your business

In the application, we will ask you how you will run your business for the activities you applied for.

Write operation plans for your cannabis business

9. Set up staffing

We will ask you about your staff. There are union requirements for larger businesses. Cannabis businesses must get City help to hire for entry level positions.

Hire staff for your cannabis business

10. Apply for your state license

Retailers, delivery, distributors, and testing laboratories can apply online at the Bureau of Cannabis Control website.

Manufacturers can apply online at the California Department of Public Health website.

Cultivators can apply online at the CalCannabis website.

You will also get a background check for the state license application.

11. Post your cannabis business permit

We will email you a PDF of your permit. You must post it in your business location.

12. Open your cannabis business

You will renew your cannabis permit every year. We’ll ask for updated owner information every 2 years.

Get help

Last updated October 11, 2019