Cannabis Licensing & Regulation Information Resources

This page contains many resources for the cannabis industry including cannabis regulations, mostly centered around the North Coast of California. This list is mostly a collection of governmental resources that are open to the public and not the extensive brain trust network that Humboldt Green has developed over the last 15 years in the industry. To become a part of our network, contact Humboldt Green at 707-443-3140. If you need help navigating through cannabis regulations, and could benefit from our network contact 1 Degree Consulting at 707-890-6600

Cannabis Laws in California

On November 8, 2016, California voters decided to pass the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), allowing the legal adult use of recreational cannabis. This also allows adults 21 and over to cultivate up to six plants for personal use, provided that your city doesn’t have a ban on it. Some cities have odor control regulations and even a requirement to obtain a cannabis activity permit, so check to see if your city has a ban or an ordinance in place. Additionally, this allows for the legal cultivation, manufacturing, and sales of both Adult Use and Medicinal cannabis starting January 1, 2018, through the Medical and Adult Use of Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAURSA). Some cities may also have a ban on these businesses in their jurisdiction, and others may have an ordinance in place in order to obtain a local permit or license. Through this process three cannabis regulation authorities were created to license and regulate these businesses in California.

Cannabis Regulations from California State Agencies

There are three major California state agencies that are regulating cannabis. They are as follows:

  • CA Department of Consumer Affairs has created the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation to license transporters, distributors, dispensaries, and testing laboratories
  • CA Department of Food and Agriculture has created the Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program to license cultivators and will also be responsible for implementing the track and trace program for plants from seed to sale.
  • CA Department of Public Health has created the Office of Medical Cannabis Safety to license manufacturers of medical cannabis.

Cannabis regulations are still in flux and being written right now, so don’t be worried if you don’t know everything right this second. If you need help understanding what department is in charge of what, the BMCR has made a handy State Agencies Responsibilities PDF to help you out.  Also, this page will be updated frequently as new cannabis regulations are published.

Flag of California

Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation

The Bureau is responsible for licensing retailers, distributors, testing labs, and micro businesses for medicinal and adult-use cannabis in California.
The online portal is open now to apply for a temporary state license with the Bureau at

California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation – Lead Agency and responsible for Testing Laboratories (Type 8 license), Dispensaries (Type 10 & 10A), Distribution (Type 11), and Transportation (Type 12) of cannabis.

In 2015, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law three bills (Assembly Bills 243 and 266, and Senate Bill 643) that create a licensing and regulatory framework for medical cannabis. It is anticipated that the regulations will be completed by January 1, 2018.  A draft of cannabis regulations should be published in time for Cannifest in mid April. Keep an eye here, as we will link to our in depth analysis of any draft cannabis regulations California publishes.


Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program

California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) Inspection Services: Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program for license types 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, & 4.

The California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) is developing regulations to establish medical cannabis cultivation licensing and a track and trace system, collectively referred to as the Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program (MCCP). Please note that they are in the early stages of developing the regulations that will define the medical cannabis cultivation licensing process.


Office of Medical Cannabis Safety

California Department of Public Health: Office of Medical Cannabis Safety for license type 6 & 7.

The Office of Medical Cannabis Safety (OMCS) was established in the Center for Environmental Health of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) after the Governor signed into law the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act in 2015. This department regulates the manufacturing of cannabis products. These cannabis regulations will impact a wide range of canna-businesses, including extractors as well as edible bakeries.

Humboldt County

Here’s a short list of useful website when dealing with cannabis in Humboldt County.  Please note that based on the specific project you are doing, there may be other needs through the Dept. of Health, building, etc. and that this is not a definitive list of everything you’ll need to complete an application for cannabis businesses. If you are just starting out, please check out the Cannabis Farmer’s Compliance Manual we’ve created for just that purpose.

First, there is the Humboldt County Commercial Medical Marijuana Permitting website. This is the place to download your application for a permit and license. You’ll need some info on your land, so check out Humboldt’s GIS Portal for detailed information on your parcel including Assessor Parcel Number and links to just about every zoning, environmental, or geographical data point the county has, and much more!

Of course, there is the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Cannabis Cultivation Waste Discharge Regulatory Program, which is a requirement for any cultivation larger than 2000 square feet. Their FAQ (PDF) is rather good, as is their Best Management Practices for Discharges of Waste Resulting from Cannabis Cultivation (PDF). If you plan on using any pesticides on your crop, you need to register with the County Agricultural Commissioner and submit monthly pesticide use reports (per California law)

A few cities are getting involved.  The City of Arcata has this Commercial Cannabis Activity Permit (CCAP) application. The City of Eureka also will be accepting cannabis business applications shortly, but they do not yet have a webpage for it.

California map with Humboldt County highlighted

Trinity County

Trinity County just updated their website. The Cultivation Compliance Program is now available at the Commercial Cannabis cultivation page for Trinity County. There you can fill out the Commercial Cannabis Application Packet (PDF). The packet includes a quick list of all the restrictions, exclusions, and set-back requirements, as well as a handy checklist for everything you’ll need to complete a full application with the county.

Geographical and land use information can be found at the Trinity County Parcel Viewer, which is just as detailed as Humboldt’s amazing GIS viewer.

California map with Trinity County highlighted

Mendocino County

The Mendocino County has a Medical Marijuana website that has links to the application packet and other information about legal cannabis cultivation and use.  Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has a Medical Marijuana website where you can view Ordinance 4291 (PDF).  There is also Draft 10A.17 Medical Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance (PDF) that really lays it all out for you as well as the Chapter 20.242 Medical Cannabis Cultivation Site document that has even more info on what you need to do on your farm.

Mendocino does not offer online interactive GIS information, but you can request access to GIS data here.

California with Mendocino County Highlighted

Siskiyou County

Siskiyou County currently has a moratorium on cannabis businesses in place. We will update this section when it becomes relevant.

Siskiyou doesn’t have a fancy online GIS parcel viewer, but it does have some geographical resources available online.

Siskiyou County

California with Siskiyou County Highlighted
If you have any questions about anything on this page, feel free to contact us, or give us a call at (707) 443-3140. If you are need help with your cannabis business, from getting your local permits, improving your farm operations, branding your product or service, or even getting your business plan out of your head and into reality, please contact 1 Degree Consulting.