Rules for Marijuana Businesses

Here’s what you need to know about selling marijuana in California

Here are some of the key current statewide rules for marijuana businesses in California (see the full rules here). Keep in mind cities and counties can create stricter rules than this, and can even ban the growing, manufacturing and selling of cannabis completely. See specific rules for city of LA below.

  • In order to sell recreational marijuana, a business must obtain an “A-license” from the Bureau of Cannabis Control. To sell medical marijuana, a business must obtain an “M-license.”
  • Cannabis businesses can’t be located within 600 feet of a school.
  • Shops must close by 10 p.m.

  • Shops must have 24-hour video surveillance.
  • Edible products must be produced in serving sizes that have no more than 10 milligrams of THC and no more than 100 milligrams of THC for the total package.
  • Shops will only be allowed to give free cannabis products to medical patients or their caregivers. That is, shops may NOT give free cannabis to recreational users.
  • Businesses will be able to apply for a special license to host cannabis events, such as festivals at fairgrounds.
  • All cannabis products must be tested for safety, and must use child-resistant packaging.
  • Rules for advertising include only allowing cannabis ads in media where at least 71.6 percent of the audience “is reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older.”

Is there a grace period for any of the rules?

Yes. Through July 1 2018, licensed businesses will still be able to sell products in their inventory that haven’t been tested (as long as there is a label on the package disclosing this) or put in child-resistant packaging. And they’ll be able to work with other licensed businesses without worrying about whether their permits are for medical and recreational activities.

City of Los Angeles

In the city of Los Angeles, the new rules for cannabis businesses are slightly different from the statewide rules. Businesses must be licensed by both the state and the city of LA.

Where can the shop be located?

  • Retail cannabis businesses must be at least 700 feet from “sensitive” sites like schools and parks
  • Non-retail and delivery businesses must be at least 600 feet from sensitive sites
  • As with liquor establishments, there is a cap on the number of pot shops per neighborhood

Are there any hiring requirements?

  • Yes. 30% of the employees of a cannabis business must live within a 3 mile radius; 10% of the employees must be transitional workers

Can consumers use marijuana at the shop after purchasing?

  • No. Currently the city of LA does NOT allow on-site consumption, but the City Council is considering changing that


See other Drug Laws here.