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Frequently asked questions

What types of businesses are currently permitted by the City of Sacramento?

The City of Sacramento currently permits the following cannabis businesses: cultivation, manufacturing ,testing laboratories, distribution and non-storefront (delivery-only dispensaries).  The City currently does not issue permits for a storefront dispensaries.

Cultivation will be permitted on a case by case basis in the following zones:

  • Agricultural A
  • General Commercial C-2
  • Heavy Commercial C-4
  • Light Industrial M-1 and M-1(S)
  • Heavy Industrial M-2 and M-2(S)

Cultivation must be within a fully enclosed building not be visible from the public right-of-way. Permits may be issued for three different cultivation types, namely:

  • Class A for indoor cultivation of no more than 5,000 sq. ft. of total canopy size
  • Class B for indoor cultivation of no more than 10,000 sq. ft. of total canopy size
  • Class C for indoor cultivation of no more than 22,000 sq. ft. of total canopy size

Nurseries must apply as a Class A cultivation permit. 

Manufacturing and testing laboratories and distribution will be permitted on a case by case basis in the following zones:

  • General Commercial C-2 (max. of 6,400 sq. ft. for manufacturing and testing)
  • Heavy Commercial C-4
  • Light Industrial M-1 and M-1(S)
  • Heavy Industrial M-2 and M-2(S)
  • Manufacturing - Industrial Park (MIP)
  • Manufacturing - Research and Development (MRD)

Non-storefront (delivery-only) dispensaries will be permitted on a case by case basis in the following zones:

  • General Commercial C-2
  • Heavy Commercial C-4
  • Light Industrial M-1 and M-1(S)
  • Heavy Industrial M-2 and M-2(S)

 

What permits do I need to start a cannabis business and how do I obtain them?

In order to operate a cannabis business in the City, you will need two permits: 1) a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) issued by the City's Planning Division; and 2) a Business Operating Permit (BOP) issued by the City's Office of Cannabis Policy and Enforcement.  Testing facilities, small manufacturers (Type N  and P manufacturers who make less than $100,000 in gross receipts) and transport-only distributors are exempt from obtaining a CUP.  Applicants also need to obtain a building permit for any proposed constructions and all work previously done without a permit.

CUP applications forms may be picked up from and submitted in person to the Planning Division at 300 Richards Boulevard.  All applications forms are also available from the Forms page.

A CUP application number Z# or P#or Final Notice of Decision, if available is required to submit an application for a BOP. The CUP and BOP applications may be reviewed concurrently, but a BOP will not be issued until a CUP for the cultivation site is issued.

What is a Conditional Use Permit?

A Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is a City Planning Division land use permit which must be obtained for the subject property before any cannabis permits can be issued. The CUP process, which includes a public hearing, evaluates the site to determine whether or not marijuana business is an appropriate use of the property, consistent with the City’s General Plan and not detrimental to the public health, safety, convenience, or welfare of persons residing, working, visiting or recreating the in the surrounding neighborhood and will not result in the creation of a nuisance.

A CUP is approved by either the Zoning Administrator or the Planning and Design Commission and involves a public hearing and compliance with the General Plan, Zoning Code, and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

  1. The proposed use is allowed within the applicable zoning district and complies with all other applicable provisions of the Zoning Code and the City Code;

  2. The proposed use is consistent with the General Plan and any applicable specific plan;

  3. The design, location, size, and operating characteristics of the proposed activity would be compatible with the existing and future land uses in the vicinity;

  4. The site is physically suitable for the type, density, and intensity of use being proposed, including access, utilities, and the absence of physical constraints;

  5. Granting the permit would not constitute a nuisance or be injurious or detrimental to the public interest, health, safety, convenience, or welfare, or materially injurious to persons, property, or improvements in the vicinity and zoning district in which the property is located; and

  6. The proposed project has been reviewed in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

In addition to the above noted findings, a review authority may also require conditions of approval to address impacts associated with the proposed use.

How do I know if a cannabis business is allowed on the property where I plan to operate?

You can look up the zoning designation for your property by entering your address at:

http://www.cityofsacramento.org/Community-Development/Planning/Current-Planning/Zoning. You can also send an email to planning@cityofsacramento.org and provide the assessor's parcel number and/or the address of the property.

I registered my cultivation operation with the City of Sacramento pursuant to Ordinance No. 2016-0007. Do I get special priority in the application process?

No. The registration process does not grant existing cultivators any special priority. All complete applications will be processed on a first-come-first-serve basis.

What is the term of a Cannabis Business Operating Permit?

Business Operating Permits are valid for one year from the time they are issued and need to be renewed annually. Conditional Use Permits are attached to the property and do not expire as long as the use does not change.

How are your permit fees calculated?

The fees are calculated based on the administrative and enforcement efforts that will be required to run the City's cannabis program.

What is the City's Tax on Cannabis Businesses?

All cannabis businesses are subject to a 4% gross receipts tax.

Is there a cap to the number of permits the City will issue?

The square footage for cultivation and distribution in the Southern Industrial area of District 6 is capped at 2.5 million sq. ft.  Delivery (by either a storefront and a non-storefront dispensary) in the Southern Industrial area is also capped at 50 permits for a period of one year.  The cap will be lifted in October 2019.  Otherwise, there is no cap to the number of permits the City will issue. However, this can change due to a number of factors, which may include the availability of land or properties, or the number of existing cannabis businesses in the City.  

Is there a limit to the number of permits a cannabis business can obtain?

The City does not have a limit on the number of cannabis permits a business can hold. However, a business that holds a testing license cannot hold any other cannabis licenses.

Are there distance requirements from a cannabis operation site to schools or parks?

Cannabis cultivation, manufacturing and testing cannot be located within 600 ft of a school that provides instruction in kindergarten or grades 1 through 12. That distance is measured from the property line of the lot on which the school is located to the property line of the lot on which the cannabis business is located, without regard to intervening structures. There is no required minimum distance from parks, but if a cultivation or manufacturing site is within 600 ft of a neighborhood park or a community park, the Conditional Use Permit must be approved by the Planning & Design Commission, instead of a Zoning Administrator. The proximity of a cannabis business to a day care centers and youth centers may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Is cultivation in a greenhouse allowed?

Greenhouse cultivation is allowed, as long as it is not visible from public right-of-way. The structure must be a detached, single story building with a maximum height of 20 feet measured from grade to the highest roof ridge, and a maximum building area of 5,500 sq. ft.

What type of permit do I need to operate a nursery for cannabis plants?

Nurseries are currently classified as part of cultivation. To operate a nursery for cannabis plants, you need to obtain a Conditional Use Permit for cultivation and submit a BOP application for a Class A cultivation site.

If I have multiple buildings in one parcel and plan to use all of them for cultivation, do I need multiple CUPs?

No, you only need one CUP if the uses for the buildings are all cultivation.

What is a Production CUP?

A Production CUP is an land use entitlement that covers cultivation, manufacturing and distribution on one property.  If you plan on doing any 2 of the 3, or all 3 cannabis activities on one property, you will need to apply for a Production CUP.  If you already obtained or in the process of obtaining a CUP for a specific use,  and would like to add a second or third use, please call your Planner to modify your CUP application. 

What is the difference between Nonvolatile and Volatile Manufacturing?

Non-volatile manufacturing, as defined in the City of Sacramento Code is "the production, preparation, propagation and compounding of cannabis and cannabis products, without the use of a volatile solvent. Nonvolatile cannabis manufacturing includes and is not limited to the extraction of a substance from a cannabis plant with nonvolatile solvents, the infusion of mixture of cannabis into another substance, the preparation of an edible item that includes cannabis, and the packaging and labeling of cannabis or cannabis products. Nonvolatile cannabis manufacturing does not include cannabis cultivation."

Volatile solvents, as defined in the State Health and Safety Code are "volatile organic compounds, including: (1) explosive gases, such as Butane, Propane, Xylene, Styrene, Gasoline, Kerosene, 02 or H2; and (2) dangerous poisons, toxins, or carcinogens, such as Methanol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Methylene Chloride, Acetone, Benzene, Toluene, and Trichloroethylene.”

What type of Manufacturing is Allowed by the City?

The City only allows non-volatile manufacturing.

What is Tiered Manufacturing?

Tiered manufacturing is a permitting structure that allows smaller manufacturers to apply only for a specific manufacturing type and according to their gross receipts.  Please see our manufacturing page for more information on the different tiers of manufacturing.

What type of permit do I need to operate a cannabis delivery service?

Under State law, delivery is a service to be provided only by dispensaries. You cannot operate as a courier or a third party delivery service. Additionally, all delivery drivers must be employees of the dispensary. To qualify for a delivery-only dispensary, you will need a brick-and-mortar location with a Conditional Use Permit for a dispensary, and a Business Operating Permit.

What are the Business Operating Permit Fees?

Business Operating Permit fees are listed by business type on our Fees page.

What is the Equity Program?

The Equity Program was adopted by the City Council on November 28, 2017 to create a path for small businesses, women and veteran-owned businesses and minority communities to enter the cannabis industry.  It is comprised of the 1) Community Opportunity, Reinvestment and Equity (CORE) program; 2) tiered manufacturing permits; 3) waiver of CUP requirements for certain small manufacturers; and 4) Cannabis Production CUP.  A Request for Proposal (RFP) is in the process of being written to hire a consultant who will implement the CORE program.  The other components of the Equity Program are already in place.

Is a Cannabis Business Permit transferable?

Sacramento City Code Section 5.150.050 - Permits not transferable.  "Cannabis business permits issued pursuant to this chapter are not property and have no value. Cannabis business permits may not be transferred, sold, assigned or bequeathed expressly or by operation by law. Any attempt to directly or indirectly transfer a cannabis business permit shall be unlawful and void, and shall automatically revoke the permit. (Ord. 2017-0046 § 1)"

The City does not allow an entity to change in its entirety, however employees, managers, and officers will need to change on occasion.  As long as there is documentable continuity, a permit holder must submit a Business Entity/Ownership/Management Change Form along with the required submissions listed on page four to the Office of Cannabis Policy and Enforcement for review. 

How do I check the status of my CUP application?

You can check the status of you CUP through Development Tracker at https://sacramento.civicinsight.com/ by either entering the property address or the CUP file number (starts with a Z or a P). 

Where Can I Find the State Regulations?

Regulations for the three State agencies that regulate cannabis can be found on our Policy page, under State Regulations.  Retail (storefront and non-storefront), distribution and testing are regulated by the Bureau of Cannabis Control; cultivation is regulated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture; and manufacturing is regulated by the California Department of Public Health.