Cannabis Consultants: Navigating California

Marijuana Laws & Licenses

Higher Yields Cannabis Consultants offers a full range of cannabis consulting services in the state of California. Our vertically integrated consulting system offers a complete roadmap from startup to scaling and expansion of your cannabis-related business. In line with California marijuana laws, we also offer METRC compliance programs geared towards California cannabis license holders. If you have any questions please contact us online or call (844) HI-YIELD.

Important Compliance Considerations
for METRC in California

As part of the most regulated industry in history, cannabis operators face intense scrutiny from local and state governments. METRC, a seed-to-sale tracking system, helps operators stay compliant with California marijuana laws by creating an easily identifiable chain of custody for each cannabis product. Using METRC makes recalls easy and ensures accountability.

Mandated in 15 states plus Washington D.C., METRC is similar everywhere. However, there are nuances in each state. In order to remain compliant, businesses must be aware of and adhere to their state’s specific regulations.

California marijuana laws are tricky to navigate because several agencies oversee the industry. California is one of the most heavily regulated cannabis states as well as one of the most complicated for operators. When the Golden State chose to use METRC back in 2017, several problems were created. 

For starters, many local governments have their own track-and-trace requirements that use different systems. If your business operates in one of these areas, you’re required to use both the local system and state-mandated METRC. Fortunately, a few third parties offer software that integrate different systems to avoid double entry.

Due to California’s desire to have control over the process, RFID tags — which are required for METRC — have to be bought through the state. The process is needlessly complicated and sometimes prevents businesses from opening their doors. 

If you’re getting started in California, find an experienced consultant who’s familiar with with current California marijuana laws as well as with METRC.

Questions on cannabis
in California?

Cannabis Consultants: Navigating California Marijuana Laws & Licenses


California has granted $15 million to 10 cities and counties that are part of social equity programs. 

At least $11.5 million will be given out to social equity entrepreneurs through low/no-interest loans or grants. The following ten cities received their grant awards:

  • Oakland, $2.4 million
  • San Francisco, $2 million
  • Los Angeles, $2 million
  • Sacramento, $1.8 million
  • Long Beach, $1.2 million  
  • Fresno, $1.2 million
  • Humboldt County, $1 million  
  • Lake County, $888,000
  • Palm Springs, $869,000
  • Mendocino County, $832,000

In addition, a total of eight local governments received up to $75,000 each to boost creating social equity programs, including San Diego County, Sonoma County, Trinity County, Escondido, Modesto, Richmond, San Diego, and Isleton.

Current Marijuana Laws: Regulatory Status for Dispensing, Cultivating, Processing, and Manufacturing Cannabis in California

With many states legalizing the consumption, production, and sale of cannabis, the industry is certainly booming. However, it’s important to be aware of California marijuana laws and regulations set forth by the state. In 2016, California voters approved the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Under this act – and therefore, California marijuana laws – it is legal for adults age 21 or older to purchase, possess, and consume up to 28.5 grams of marijuana per day in their private residence or in an establishment with a marijuana consumption license. Read on to learn about California marijuana laws and regulations for the cannabis industry.

Contact Us to discuss cannabis
Licenses in California

If you are looking to attain a license for hemp or cannabis in California Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting can help. Our team of cannabis licensing consultants and technical writers has had great success helping newcomers and experienced operators attain licenses all over the world.

Cannabis Consultants: Navigating California Marijuana Laws & Licenses

California Cannabis
Dispensary Licensing

In order to open a dispensary in the state of California, you must apply for and receive a cannabis retail license that corresponds with current California marijuana laws. You can begin this process by going to the California Bureau of Cannabis Control website. Requirements for licensure include general business information, physical location information, and a $5,000 bond payable to the state of California.

Once you receive your license, investing in a quality point-of-sale system will help you ensure that you remain in compliance with all California dispensary laws. Basic California marijuana laws and regulations include the following:

  • All cannabis products must be packaged and labeled prior to arriving at the dispensary.
  • Dispensary operation hours can take place between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Pacific time.
  • Products cannot be visible from outside the store.

In addition, dispensary owners are responsible for proper customer verification. Owners must ensure that customers are of age and not attempting to buy more than the legal amounts of cannabis. To learn more about California marijuana laws, legal sale amounts and other dispensary regulations, visit the California Bureau of Cannabis Control Regulations page.

California Cannabis Cultivation Licenses

CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing is a division of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. This division manages California’s track-and-trace system to follow cannabis products through the distribution chain. If you want a license to cultivate adult recreational and medical-use marijuana, you can visit their application page to get the process started, in line with California marijuana laws.

The current cannabis cultivation regulations went into effect in January 2019. California marijuana laws state that cannabis is an agricultural product limited to the Medicinal and Adult-Use Regulation and Safety Act. Cultivation in California is heavily regulated, and licenses must be renewed every year. There are 17 types of cultivation licenses you can apply for. These include:

  • Specialty Cottage Outdoor
  • Nursery
  • And Large Indoor.

For example, if you want to cultivate 25 or fewer mature plants outdoors, you’d apply for a Specialty Cottage Outdoor license. To learn more about California marijuana laws and types of licenses, visit the CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Laws and Regulations page. If you need help with cannabis compliance or Metrc Audits please contact us.

Processing and Manufacturing Licenses

The department that maintains regulation of cannabis processing and manufacturing in California is the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch. In order to process cannabis in line with California marijuana laws and manufacture biproducts for sale, you need to apply for a license with this department.

It’s important to note the difference between processing and manufacturing cannabis. Essentially, processing happens within manufacturing. Processing refers to the acts of preparing the cannabis itself for consumption, such as extraction. Manufacturing encompasses these acts as well as:

  • Infusion
  • Packaging
  • Labeling
  • And making products such as edibles.

Due to California marijuana laws, all of the above must be completed before cannabis products can be transported to dispensaries. To learn more about cannabis processing and manufacturing licensing requirements, visit the MCSB Laws and Regulations page.

Why Choose Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting?

Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting is a premier cannabis industry consulting firm. We have decades of experience helping all kinds of cannabis professionals from cultivators to dispensary owners and everyone in between. To help get your cannabis business off the ground, we can assist with licensing, regulation compliance, cannabis brand building, and more.

To learn more about how we can assist you, give us a call at (844) HI-YIELD or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a no-obligation consultation.

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