Step by step

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.

You need a cannabis business permit if you want to sell, deliver, manufacture, cultivate, distribute, and test cannabis in San Francisco. You'll need both a city Cannabis Permit and a California license.

Along with application fees, you must pay for a location during this entire process, which takes a long time. Applying does not guarantee you will get a permit.

1

Check if you can apply

Time:

3 to 4 months

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

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2

Find a location

Cost:

Rent or own a business space

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

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3

Set up your business

Cost:

$300.00
and up.

Time:

Several months

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

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4

Apply for Cannabis Permit Part 1

Cost:

$5,000.00
and up.

Free for equity applicants.

Time:

2 hours

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.

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5

Meet with your neighbors

Time:

1 to 3 months

Set up a meeting with the Office of Cannabis to prepare for outreach.

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

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and

Meet with other departments

Cost:

$347.82
-
$390.00

per hour per City staff.

Time:

3 to 6 months

If your location is viable, you will be referred to SF Planning. You might need to prepare for a hearing in front of the Planning Commission.

You can also meet with other departments before you get plan checks for building permits.

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6

Get building permits

Time:

Up to several months

Hire an architect to draw your plans. Get your plans checked by the Department of Building Inspection (DBI). You will then get a job card from DBI to start construction. You might also need other permits and pay other fees.

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and

Plan how you will run your business

Time:

Several months

Set up a meeting with the Office of Cannabis to prepare for your operations.

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

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and

Set up staffing

Time:

Weeks to months

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.

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7

Fill out the rest of the Cannabis Permit

Time:

Several weeks

The Office of Cannabis will send you links to any other forms you need.

We will check your operations plans, neighborhood notices, and staffing.

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and

Apply for your state license

Time:

Several months

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.

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8

Post your cannabis business permit

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

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

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Last updated December 19, 2019