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5 Frequently Asked Questions About Oakland California Cannabis Permits

by Faith Fidura December 29, 2017

Confused About the Oakland California Cannabis Permit Process? Your frequently asked questions are answered.


Oakland California Cannabis Program Overview

In California, local governments have authority over the regulation of marijuana businesses. This means cities and counties are able to ban or allow the operation of marijuana businesses within their borders. Therefore, getting city approval is required before applying for a license with the state to become fully able to operate as a legal marijuana business.

The City of Oakland, California is currently accepting applications for cannabis permits. On November 28, 2017, the City Council approved an ordinance amending Chapters 5.80 and 5.81 of the Oakland Municipal Code to authorize the operation of marijuana businesses for recreational purposes as well as medicinal.

As many have concerns have been raised about the application process for cannabis permits in Oakland, the Dispensary Permits team has answered some of the most frequently asked questions for you:


1. What types of cannabis permits can I apply for?

Currently, the City of Oakland is accepting applications for cultivation, delivery-only dispensaries, distributors, testing laboratories, manufacturers, and transporters. As of December 2017, the city is not accepting applications for dispensaries.

A cultivation permit is required to plant, grow, harvest, dry, cure, grade or trim cannabis in an area greater than two-hundred and fifty square feet of total area within one parcel of land.

A delivery-only dispensary permit is required for the commercial transfer of medical cannabis or medical cannabis products from a dispensary to a primary caregiver or qualified patient as defined in Section 11362.7 of the Health and Safety Code, or a testing laboratory.

A distribution permit is required for the procurement, sale, and transport of cannabis and cannabis products between State licensed cannabis entities.

A testing laboratory permit is required to conduct analytical tests of cannabis, cannabis-derived products, hemp, or hemp-derived products.

A manufacturing permit is required to produce, prepare, propagate, or compound manufactured cannabis or cannabis products, directly or indirectly, by extraction methods, independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis.

A transportation permit is required for the transfer of cannabis or cannabis products from the permitted business location of one licensee to the permitted business location of another licensee, for the purposes of conducting commercial cannabis activity, as defined by State law.


2. Is there a limit on the number of permits awarded?

There is no limit on the number of medical cannabis permits, except for brick and mortar dispensaries. The City Administrator is to issue no more than eight new brick and mortar dispensary permits per year, with a minimum of half of the dispensary permits issued to Equity Applicants.


3. Are permits transferable to an alternate location?

A permit may be transferred to a new location if a cannabis permittee applies in writing to the City Administrator’s Office to transfer the permit to a new location and successfully undergoes an equivalent application process for the new location.


4. Can multiple permits be issued to the same location?

Yes, as long as each cannabis operator obtains a permit for their cannabis operation.


5. How do I apply for a permit?

The instructions for the application process and the cannabis permit application document is available on the City of Oakland’s website.

The City of Oakland requires you to submit several business/operational plans as part of your application. To view our business plan templates available to help draft your application, visit