After the rush and scramble for operators to apply for their temporary State licenses, the question of ”what do I do next?” keeps coming across my desk. It is important for everyone to remember that issuance of a temporary State license is only a “placeholder” to allow you to continue to operate while you compile and submit your complete application to the State. However, the State will not grant you a commercial cannabis license unless you are licensed in your local jurisdiction. That being said, it is critical that operators/applicants continue working on becoming licensed in their local jurisdiction.
In the unincorporated areas of Monterey County this is a three to four step process depending on what your business is. At baseline, the property you operate on, or wish to operate on, needs to become entitled with a commercial cannabis conditional use permit. This is a land entitlement that runs with the property and allows for cannabis operations to take place on the premises. The filing fees for the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is upwards of $7,200.00 at this point in time.
After the land is entitled, each and every operator/business on site must apply for a commercial cannabis business permit through Monterey County. The application should include all aspects of your business operations including standard operating procedures, background checks and disclosure of all parties with over 10% interest in the business. If you apply for a Type 6 or Type 7 manufacturing license you will be required to disclose all hazardous products, provide a waste disposal plan and apply for a California Environmental Reporting System (CERS) permit through the State. If you apply for a retail facility you are required to apply for a food retail permit (formally referred to as a dispensary) through the Monterey County Health Department.
Finally, a commercial cannabis business license is also required through the Monterey County Tax Assessors office and costs approximately $227.00.
If you are operating through the licensing process you must self-report and pay your commercial cannabis tax which is calculated per square foot. Payment of local taxes keeps you in “good standing” at the County level which enables operations to continue while working diligently on obtaining all licenses and permits required. Of course, if you are not in “good standing” you will not receive a temporary State license.
Jennifer Rosenthal is a local cannabis and criminal defense attorney. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and does not reflect an official position of the Association.