• Local jurisdictions and licensing
  • Local Planning and Safety and Fire Departments
  • ​Understand local rules and regulations
  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • ​California Licensing Requirements
  • California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • Local Water Boards
  • State Board of Equalization
  • California Natural Resources Agency
  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and Exemptions


  • Give us a call at (916) 292-9412
  • California Energy Commission
  • California Department of Public Health (for Manufacturers)
  • Department of Pesticide Regulation
  • Department of Industrial Relations
  • Bureau of Cannabis Control (Cultivators except for Microbusiness)
  • California Franchise Tax Board
  • California Department of Fish and Game
  • ​California Secretary of State
  • California Department of Business Oversite


Real Estate and Zoning 

The first step is to ensure that you can run your operation at a particular location. There are hundreds of local governments in California, each with a different approach to regulating cannabis land use. Analyzing zoning classifications, sensitive use restrictions, and commercial real estate markets, we assist clients in finding and securing properties that will work for their particular business plan. The first step is to understand if the location is regulated by County or by an Incorporated City (and its City Council). A city can be unincorporated or incorporated. If a city is unincorporated than the County regulations apply. You can not assume a considered location is in a particular jurisdiction. Once the applicable jurisdiction is determined, the applicable regulations have to be reviewed to ensure the business activity you desire to conduct is allowed.  

Licensing & Permitting

Every commercial cannabis organization in California needs a local permit to operate. In 2018, the state regulatory authorities will likewise begin issuing licenses for every type of cannabis activity. We have developed an exhaustive knowledge of peculiar local requirements and state law, and assist cultivators, manufacturers, dispensaries, and other cannabis businesses obtain the necessary authorizations to operate.

California became the first state to allow for the medical use of marijuana in 1996. In 2015, California adopted the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act to bring robust regulation to its medical marijuana industry. Under this Act, multiple state agencies are tasked with the oversight, licensing, and control of all medical marijuana businesses. The Act also allows cities and counties to further regulate or ban medical marijuana businesses.  Our team helps direct cannabis and ancillary businesses throughout the state comply with the specific laws governing state licensing, corporate and regulatory compliance, and navigating local laws and regulations in their cities and counties. Our state licensing, regulatory and review services include:

  • State license application assistance
  • Site review, Land Use and Zoning
  • Coordination with local agencies
  • Review of local regulations and zoning requirements
  • Drafting and managing of operational plans to be submitted to state and municipalities for operational licenses
  • Advice and assistance on local permitting and licensing processes
  • Periodic legal compliance audits
  • Monitoring existing and changing state and local regulations for marijuana businesses
  • Monitoring Federal regulations
  • Guidance regarding compliance with state regulations and the interplay between governing state agencies
  • Business plan development
  • Education regarding ongoing compliance with applicable regulations
  • Development of required manuals and handbooks to meet state regulations
  • Financial reviews to ensure compliance with state regulations
  • License application assistance for cultivators, manufacturers, and retailers
Entity Formation & Business Planning:

As state and local regulations continue to change, choosing the right structure for a cannabis organization is critical. We have assisted hundreds of clients in organizing their businesses in way that complies with current law, meets organizational needs, and provides durability as the regulatory environment and business needs change. Choosing an entity type can affect other important issues such as the ability to deduct operating expenses for California income taxes and protection against personal liability. This is extremely important if the business is subsequently audited by the IRS and large levies are imposed against the licensed business. 

Corporate & Commercial:

The industry's shift to a regulated environment brings with it an increased emphasis on complex contracts and financing that is new to many cannabis entrepreneurs. We advise clients in all stages of the business on operating a regulated commercial enterprise. 

Business Strategy & Industry Advice:

Running a cannabis business requires more than just legal advice. We have provided strategic advice to cannabis organizations in all aspects of their business, and our assistance continues to go beyond purely legal matters. We have reviewed numerous tag and track systems and the ability to produce financial statements to comply with California taxes for the business, personal income tax returns and deduction of expenses and applicable restrictions under IRC 280E. We assist with advice on filing Form 1099 and Form 8300. The failure to file such forms on a timely manner can be devastating to a cannabis business. Let's be perfectly clear; the Federal Government continues to wage a war against cannabis businesses and is using the IRS as a weapon.