The City of Santa Rosa is accepting medical cannabis business permit applications for medical cannabis businesses testing, light manufacturing (non-volatile), distribution and/or transporters. The Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA), formerly Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), requires a two-step permitting/licensing process for medical cannabis operators. Per the regulations, operators must obtain a permit at the local level before they can apply for a state license. California State licenses will not be available until 2018, and the regulations pertaining to the licenses are still being drafted by the California Department of Food and Ag, State Water Resources Control Board, California Department of Public Health, and the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMCR formerly BMMR).
Until state licenses are available, operators should focus on ensuring their operation is in compliance with state law and local regulation, and then the operator should apply and obtain the necessary permits to operate their business.
California City and County Medical Cannabis Business Ordinances
Many cities and counties have either adopted relevant ordinances and/or they are working on development of comprehensive ordinances to allow local permits to be obtained for medical cannabis businesses consistent with the license types that will be available by the state for cannabis operators.
Santa Rosa California Medical Cannabis Business Ordinances
On August 2, 2016, the Santa Rosa City Council directed staff to issue a zoning interpretation document that allows medical cannabis support businesses to operate in the City of Santa Rosa, in specific zoning districts, after obtaining necessary permits. These medical cannabis support businesses are necessary to connect medical cannabis cultivators with dispensaries. The City of Santa Rosa already has existing ordinances for dispensaries and commercial cultivators, and the zoning interpretation allows the City to fit the cannabis support businesses into existing land use classifications. One of the conditions of the permit will be for the applicant to apply for and obtain a state license once they are available.
City of Santa Rosa Medical Cannabis Business Permit Compliance Program
The City of Santa Rosa Council directed the Santa Rosa Medical Cannabis Policy Subcommittee to provide a proposal for a permit compliance program to allow existing medical cannabis operations to become compliant and obtain permits without having to cease their operations. The Medical Cannabis Sub-committee and the Council have been working diligently toward development of a comprehensive ordinance that could expand the zoning districts for operation of medical cannabis businesses. The City of Santa Rosa hopes to have the comprehensive ordinance released before the end of the year.
The City of Santa Rosa has a webpage dedicated to the Medical Cannabis Policy Subcommittee, which contains detailed information relating to the subcommittee’s work on ordinance development.