Cannabis Permits

On January 1, 2018, California legalized cannabis use by adults 21 and older. San Francisco is moving to regulate both existing and new cannabis businesses.

All businesses that manufacture, sell and test cannabis in California must obtain local and state licenses to operate. If you want to start or continue your cannabis business in San Francisco, you’ll need to meet the new requirements for a local permit before applying for your state license.

Who can apply

In 2018, you can apply to the City of San Francisco for a cannabis permit if your business:

  • qualifies for the Cannabis Equity Program
  • holds a temporary permit from the Office of Cannabis
  • holds an Article 33 Permit from the Department of Public Health
  • registered with the Office of Cannabis in 2017 and signed an affidavit

All other businesses may submit cannabis permit applications in 2019. If you apply in 2019, you can start now to meet your permit application requirements.

Comment on cannabis regulations

The City of San Francisco is in the process of establishing cannabis related regulations. If you want to be involved in this process, you can submit written comments regarding the proposed rules and regulations to the Office of Cannabis.

Federal law

Even though cannabis is legal under California law, it is still considered an illegal drug by the federal government. Federal authorities may arrest and prosecute individuals who violate federal law, even if their conduct is legal under state and local law.

Many places in California, like airports, national parks, federal buildings, and military installations are policed by federal authorities.

If you have questions or concerns about compliance with federal law, you should seek legal advice.


The California Department of Public Health provides information on the penalties for:

More information

Local businesses are required to receive state approval. More information is available from state agencies responsible for regulating cannabis: