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Frequently asked questions

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

To operate a cannabis business in Sacramento, you need:

1)  A LOCATION:

a) in a zone which allows cannabis uses

b) with a Conditional Use Permit (CUP), except small manufacturers, self distribution for small manufacturers and testing labs

c) with a Certificate of Occupancy specific to the cannabis use/activity

2) A BUSINESS OPERATING PERMIT(BOP) specific to the cannabis activity.  Visit the specific page of each cannabis business type to learn the application process and requirements.

Please visit the page of the cannabis business type under the Business Information tab for more details.

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 find out if a property has a CUP?

You can check if a property has a CUP through Development Tracker at https://sacramento.civicinsight.com/ by either entering the property address.  If you have a CUP application, you can also check the status of your application on the same portal using your CUP file number (starts with a Z or a P).

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.

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.

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.  As of April 15, 2021, the square footage cap has been reached.  Delivery (by either a storefront and a non-storefront dispensary) in the Southern Industrial area is also limited to 50 permits until the cap is lifted.  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.

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 type of manufacturing is allowed by the City?

The City only allows both non-volatile and volatile manufacturing.  Please detailed information on either type of manufacturing, please visit the Manufacturing page.

What is considered a small manufacturing? 

Small manufacturers are those whose gross receipts are less than $100,000 per year. 

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.  For more details, please check out our Delivery page, under the Business Information tab.

What are the Business Operating Permit Fees?

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

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)"

If there are any changes in ownership, the owners on the applications must complete and sign a Business Information Change Form and submit it to OCM no later than 30 days before the change occurs.  Required documents and other important information can be found on the form.  For storefront dispensaries, any changes to ownership are prohibited by a one-year moratorium under Ord. No. 2020-040, which remains in effect until November 10, 2021.  

Does the City of Sacramento have a social equity program?

Yes, the City of Sacramento has a social equity program called the "Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity (CORE) Program.  Detailed information can be found under the CORE tab on our homepage.

Is onsite consumption allowed in Sacramento?

Onsite consumption is only allowed at state licensed events at Cal Expo. The City of Sacramento does not permit onsite consumption outside of Cal Expo.

How do I get a permit for an onsite consumption event at Cal Expo?

The City does not an onsite consumption permit for Cal Expo.  It can only issue the local authorization required to get a State license for an onsite consumption event at Cal Expo.  To request local authorization, please complete the local authorization request form and email it along with the required documents listed on page 2 of the form to cannabis@cityofsacramento.org. 

Where can I find the State regulations?

As of July 13, 2021, the three State agencies that regulate cannabis have consolidated into the Department of Cannabis Control.  Regulations for all cannabis license types as well as all licensing information can be found on its website at cannabis.ca.gov.

How can I request a list of cannabis businesses in Sacramento?

You can request this and any other information that are considered as public information by submitting a Public Records Request to the Clerk's Office.

How do I report an illegal cannabis activities?

You can report an illegal cultivation activity to the Sacramento Police Department anonymous crime tip portal.  For other illegal cannabis activities, please contact 311 or send an email to 311@cityofsacramento.org.  To report odors from cannabis cultivation sites, please send an email to cannabis@cityofsacramento.org