Recreational marijuana sales have officially been legalized, and over the course of two months cannabis retailers have seen a big jump in traffic. The Bureau of Cannabis Control has been approving applications and issuing business licenses to an increasing number of California dispensaries. Applying for a dispensary business license requires proper preparation and quite a bit of documentation.
The BCC has launched an online portal so business owners can expedite the application process. In an effort to assist cannabis retailers, we’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist of required information when submitting an application for your dispensary business license.
The first step to submitting an application for a dispensary business license is entering all of the business details.
Business Type - There are several different business types so for brick and mortar dispensaries you’ll want to select Retailer-Storefront. For delivery services, you’ll want to select Retailer-Non-Storefront.
Business Information - The next section of your dispensary business license application will ask for all relevant information. You’ll need to include the business structure (LLC, Corp, etc.), business name, address, phone, email, and social security number or tax ID.
Primary Contact - You’ll need to select the primary contact for your cannabis retailer. This is generally the owner, and will be the point person for all communications with the California Bureau of Cannabis Control. The primary contact will also be responsible for providing track and trace information using the Metrc reporting system.
Declarations - Completing the declarations will require the primary contact to answer a series of questions related to your business. These typically revolve around whether or not your business is registered with the Tax and Fee Administration, if you comply with the Compassionate Use Act and the Environmental Quality Act.
List of Owners - Not all marijuana dispensaries are run by sole proprietors so submitting the names of any financial investors or business partners is required.
Before beginning the application for a dispensary business license, cannabis retailers will want to compile a few documents that will need to be submitted. Below we’ve provided a list of the documentation that will need to be uploaded in the required documents sections of the BCC online application portal.
Business Formation Document
Diagram/Floorplan of Premises
Evidence of Legal Right to Occupy (Deed/Lease)
Financial Information (Investments/Earnings)
Labor and Peace Agreement
Proof of Surety Bond
Quality Control Procedures
County Cannabis Permit
Government Issued Identification
Having these documents readily available when going through the application process will save you an immense amount of time and headache.
Application and License Fees
One of the big concerns for many cannabis retailers is the cost of a dispensary business license and application fees. Preparing for these expenditures can help mitigate the financial burden of paying these licensing fees.
Licensing Fee Determination - How much each marijuana dispensary is charged for their dispensary business license is dependant on how much they anticipate to earn. Applicants are asked how much they expect their business will net including the 15% mandatory excise tax. Retailers can then select the range of their estimated annual income. Once the amount is determined, applicants are responsible for paying the fee only after their application has been approved.
Application Fee - The application fee is due when you submit an application for a dispensary business license. Depending on the type of license you are applying for the fee can vary slightly but most cannabis retailers can expect to pay around $1,000 for each application. Convenience fees will be added for credit or debit card transactions but retailers can learn more about payment methods from the eLearning course that will provide more specific instructions.