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Legal Cannabis in California

Since November 2016, it is legal under California law for adults over 21 years of age to legally grow up to six marijuana plants and possess personal use quantities of cannabis up to one ounce (and/or eight grams of concentrates). The licensed manufacture and sale of cannabis and related products is also legal subject to the state's regulatory requirements.

California regulations provide for licenses for the following types of businesses: dispensary/retail marijuana stores, marijuana product manufacturers, marijuana cultivators, marijuana testing facilities, marijuana distributors, and marijuana microbusinesses

Temporary licenses issued by the Bureau of Cannabis Control are now in effect as of January 1, 2018.

California is currently accepting applications for recreational marijuana business licenses.

However, California has a dual licensing system so that businesses must obtain a state license AND comply with local ordinances and permitting requirements.  Some cities and counties have placed moratoriums on certain types of cannabis businesses, so you may want to confirm that your business will not be impacted by local restrictions before applying for a state license.

Before you get started on your marijuana business application, review the California Cannabis Business License Application Overview as well as the laws and regulations below.

You can apply for your California marijuana business license here.

Ballot Measure

In November 2016, California voted to legalize the use, cultivation, and sale of marijuana by adults ages 21 and older.


The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) creates the general framework for the regulation of commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis in California.


Under MAUCRSA, a single regulatory system governs the medical and adult use cannabis industry in California. The three licensing authorities are currently working to draft regulations to clarify the requirements in MAUCRSA.