California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) established that marijuana can be possessed, used, and sold commercially for recreational usage. Legal cannabis sales totaled $2.5 billion in 2018, and now is the perfect time to get in the industry at its early, developmental stages. But cannabis is like any other business, and in order to legally and successfully set up shop, you need to comply with all of the appropriate regulatory and licensing requirements. A Los Angeles cannabis business lawyer at McReynolds Vardanyan, LLP in Glendale has the knowledge, experience, and passion to help you through the process of starting your marijuana business and can make sure you get all appropriate licenses to get your business off the ground.
California Cannabis Licensing Requirements
Marijuana sellers in California are subject to the laws and requirements set out in MAUCRSA, the regulations issued by the Bureau of Cannabis Control, and the myriad rules and regulations issued by local county and city governments. State law sets out different types of licenses depending on whether the seller intends to only sell or also cultivate marijuana, the amount of marijuana the seller intends to grow, whether the cultivation will occur indoors or outdoors, and the type of lighting used. Under current law, for example, regulators cannot issue licenses for growth sites larger than one acre until January 1, 2023; different licenses and fee requirements apply for the different sizes of growth sites currently available up to one acre.
Cannabis businesses must pay a licensing fee that scales based on the size of the business. These fee scales were amended on January 16, 2019. For example, for retailers whose businesses are worth up to $500,000, the license fee is $2,500; between $500,000 – 750,000, the fee is $5,500; between $750,000 – $1 million, the fee is $7,500; if the retailer tops $7.5 million, the fee is $96,000. These rules represent only some of the various licensing requirements and sale regulations cannabis businesses must follow in order to stay in business, and the laws are rapidly changing as the industry grows. It is vital to retain the help of a knowledgeable cannabis business attorney to ensure that your business is in compliance with the various and complex regulatory requirements.
Local Licensing Requirements and Prohibition at the Local Level
The sale of cannabis, like alcohol, requires that you comply with all of the state, county, and city licensing requirements. In addition to state law, many cities and counties across California, including Los Angeles, have their own licensing requirements and upkeep regulations. The requirements vary by city and county. Some do not require anything beyond the applicable state license to operate in their jurisdictions, while others prohibit marijuana sale entirely. If your city and/or county does have a licensing requirement, it is helpful to obtain this license before applying for your California state license in order to show compliance with local ordinances on your state license application.
Currently, only 89 of California’s 482 cities allow the commercial sale of cannabis, as well as only six of the 88 municipalities in Los Angeles County. State law allows for home delivery of marijuana, which can help sellers get around local sale bans, but the application of state law is still unclear. The experienced cannabis licensing attorneys at McReynolds Vardanyan can help you wade through the requirements at the county and city level and make sure you are not trying to set up shop in a locale where cannabis sale is not allowed.
Conflict With Federal Laws
It is important to note that the sale of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Marijuana is a schedule I controlled substance, and state licensing does not protect someone from being arrested for the violation of federal law. Federal officials do not make investigating and prosecuting the sale of marijuana a priority, but the federal prohibitions may create other hurdles in establishing a commercial cannabis business. Federally-insured banks, for example, may be wary of lending money to or otherwise keeping accounts for marijuana-related businesses because they may lose their coverage if they are supporting “criminal” enterprises. A knowledgeable cannabis business lawyer can help you keep on top of the issues that may arise as a result of federal law conflicts.
Our Cannabis Business Lawyers are Ready to Help You
If you are interested in setting up a marijuana business in Los Angeles or southern California, call McReynolds Vardanyan, LLP in Glendale at 818-855-2115. Our Glendale cannabis licensing lawyers are available 24/7 and are ready to help you step through the legal hoops necessary to get your budding business off the ground effectively, efficiently, and legally.