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What types of medical marijuana business licenses exist?

California offers multiple types of medical marijuana business licenses within the category of “M-licenses” (as opposed to “A-licenses,” which cover sale for recreational use). The licenses each carry specific limitations on the activities of the licensee, including whether cultivation is permitted, the amount that may be cultivated, the type of premises on which cannabis can be grown (indoor vs. outdoor, etc.), the usage of the plant, and distribution. Some permit licensees to have other licenses as well, while others restrict the ability of the licensee to possess other licenses (e.g., a licensed tester cannot also be a licensed distributor).

  • Type 1: Small Specialty Outdoor Cultivation. Naturally lit cannabis farms of up to 5,000 square feet or 50 plants.
    • Type 1A: Small Specialty Indoor Cultivation. Single-location indoor farms with up to 5,000 square feet of canopy, using only artificial light.
    • Type 1B: Small Specialty Mixed-light Cultivation. Single-location growing operations using a combination of natural and artificial lighting, on an area up to 5,000 square feet.
  • Type 2: Small Outdoor Cultivation. As above, with between 5,001 and 10,000 square feet of canopy.
    • Type 2A: Small Indoor Cultivation.
    • Type 2B: Small Mixed-light Cultivation.
  • Type 3: Medium Outdoor Cultivation. As above, with farms between 10,001 square feet and one acre.  There are a limited number of these licenses.
    • Type 3A: Medium Indoor Cultivation. Between 10,001 and 22,000 square feet, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premises.
    • Type 3B: Medium Mixed-light Cultivation. Between 10,001 and 22,000 square feet, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premises.
  • Type 4: Nursery Cultivation. The licensee may only produce clones, immature plants, seeds, and other agricultural products to be used for cultivating medicinal cannabis.  There is no limit on the plants or canopy area. Licensees may transport live plants.
  • Type 5: Large Outdoor Cultivation. As above, with farms above 22,000 square feet. These are not available until January 1, 2023.
    • Type 5A: Large Indoor Cultivation.
    • Type 5B: Large Mixed-light Cultivation.
  • Type 6: Manufacturer 1. Manufacturers of cannabis products that do not use volatile solvents, like butane.
  • Type 7: Manufacturer 2. Manufacturers of products that do require the use of volatile solvents.
  • Type 8: License to test medical cannabis and cannabis products, according to applicable regulations. Licensees may not have another license or any ownership of or interest in another medical marijuana facility licensed by California.
  • Type 10: A facility where medicinal cannabis and products are offered for retail sale. Includes delivery companies.
    • Type 10A: Dispensary, up to Three Retail Sites. Delivery permitted according to local ordinances.
  • Type 11: Distributor of cannabis products from manufacturer to dispensary.  Type 11 licensees should also have a Type 12 license but must not have a license in cultivation, manufacturing, dispensing, or testing, or have an ownership interest in those facilities.
  • Type 12: A business that conducts at least 3 of the following activities:  Retail/delivery; manufacturing; cultivation; distribution.

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