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 cultivate, manufacture, distribute, 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.

The Office of Cannabis will soon launch the application process for the Cannabis Business Permit (part 1). See below for those who are eligible to apply.

If you are seeking a storefront retail permit, review the Final Regulations on the 600 Foot Rule to better understand what happens if your application is not complete when you submit it.

For more information: Starting May 7, 2018 office hours (for walk-ins or appointments) are Monday to Friday 1pm to 5pm at San Francisco City Hall, Room 018. To schedule a meeting, email

For questions related to enforcement, the Equity Program, or permitting, visit room 362 at City Hall between 9am to 1pm, or call (415) 554-4420.

Who can apply

You can apply for a Cannabis Business Permit in the City of San Francisco if your business:

  • qualifies for the Equity Program
  • holds a temporary permit from the Office of Cannabis
  • is a Medical Cannabis Dispensary with a permit under Article 33 from the Department of Public Health
  • applied for an Article 33 Permit from the Department of Public Health that required referral to and approval by the Planning Commission before September 26, 2017
  • registered with the Office of Cannabis in 2017, proved existing activity, signed and complied with an affidavit
  • operated in compliance with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and were forced to stop operations as a result of federal prosecution or threat of federal prosecution

The City’s goal is to issue at least half of all cannabis permits to Equity businesses before allowing any other types of cannabis businesses to apply.

How to apply

We are not accepting applications for Cannabis Business Permits yet, but you can start gathering the information that’s required for the application. The Office of Cannabis will email all verified applicants instructions on how to apply for a Cannabis Business Permit (part 1) as soon as the application is available.

After you submit part 1 of the application, you must:

  • pay the $2,000 application fee (waived for Equity Applicants)
  • have all business owners complete background checks

The Office of Cannabis will email you information on the next part of your application after we have received background checks on all owners.

Comment on cannabis regulations

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

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 must comply with state cannabis regulations. Learn more about state requirements: