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COMMERCIAL CANNABIS PERMITTING REQUIREMENTS

These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) are available to address any questions you may have regarding the allowance of Commercial Cannabis Activities in the unincorporated area of Stanislaus County. Please review the FAQ prior to contacting County staff. You may e-mail additional questions to cannabis@stancounty.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

A 15-day registration window for interested applicants will be opened from October 2, 2017 and will end on October 20, 2017 3:00 p.m. Registration requires submittal of a Commercial Cannabis Registration form describing property information, applicant/owner information, and commercial cannabis business permit type(s) requested, and pre-background screening interview questionnaire, along with a $4,359 non-refundable deposit submitted to the Treasurer/Tax Collectors Office. This registration form does not guarantee a permit and does not grant authorization to conduct commercial cannabis activities in the County.

If the Board of Supervisors approved the Commercial Cannabis Permitting Program, which consists of an amendment to the land use ordinance, a regulatory ordinance, and a fee schedule, on December 5th, 2017, registrants will be required to go through a background investigation performed by the Sheriff’s Department. Registrants who pass the background investigation will then be required to submit a commercial cannabis permit application, which may be obtained from the county website and will include the application form, list of compliance regulations, check list, required permits, and a draft Development Agreement. This application package will be due with a fee no later than February 9, 2018 by 3:00 p.m. to be considered for a permit type. The application package will include a business plan, security plan, environmental plan (water, wastewater/ sewer), and a traffic plan.

If there are less than 61 permit interests received during the 15-day registration period, applications will move directly to the land use and regulatory permit review process. If more than 61 permit applications are received a review committee consisting of Chief Executive Office, County Counsel, and Planning staff will review and rank based on a set scoring criteria. Those applicants ranked in the top 61 allowable permit spots will then be able to go through the discretionary land use and regulatory permit process, which is estimated to take a minimum of 120 days. A Development Agreement will be processed in conjunction with the land use process and will be required to be approved by the Board of Supervisors for approval. After the development agreement is completed, applicants will be eligible for a County regulatory permit. After the regulatory permit is issued, applicants will have 120 days to obtain their State Commercial Cannabis permits. County Commercial Cannabis permits are required to be renewed on an annual basis.

You can sign up to receive updates on Stanislaus County’s Commercial Cannabis Permitting Program at cannabis@stancounty.com

Commercial Cannabis Registration forms will be accepted by the Treasurer/Tax Collectors Office between October 2, 2017 and October 20, 2017 3:00 p.m.

The following schedule is proposed for the remaining phases of the County’s Commercial Cannabis Permitting Program:

Date Activity
October 2, 2017 Open Cannabis Registration Interest
October 19, 2017 Planning Commission to consider Zoning Ordinance Amendment
October 20, 2017 Close Cannabis Registration Interest (3:00 p.m.)
December 5, 2017 Hold Public Hearing to consider Regulatory Ordinance, Zoning Ordinance Amendment, and Fee Schedule Ordinance
December 19, 2017 Second reading of Regulatory and Fee Ordinances
January 18, 2018 Open Cannabis Permit Application period
February 9, 2018 Close Cannabis Permit Application period (3:00 p.m.)

If there are less than 61 permit interests received during the 15-day registration period, applications will move directly through the land use and regulatory permit review process. If more than 61 permit applications are received a review committee consisting of Chief Executive Office, County Counsel, and Planning staff will review and rank based on a set scoring criteria. Those applicants ranked in the top 61 allowable permit spots will be able to move to the land use, development agreement, and regulatory permit process. The land use entitlement process requires environmental review and a public hearing which is estimated to take a minimum of 120 days after the Cannabis Permit Applications are selected and a complete Use Permit application is submitted. Development agreements require a Planning Commission hearing and Board of Supervisors hearing for approval. After the development agreement is completed, applicants will be eligible for a County regulatory permit. After the regulatory permit is issued, applicants will have 120 days to obtain their State Commercial Cannabis permits. County Commercial Cannabis permits are required to be renewed on an annual basis.

No, Stanislaus County will not issue any regulatory commercial cannabis permits until all land use entitlements are obtained, a development agreement is signed, and a regulatory permit is issued.

Stanislaus County is proposing a maximum of 61 commercial cannabis permits in the following categories: cultivation, nurseries, manufacturers, testing, dispensaries, distribution, and transporters. The County is proposing to prohibit outdoor cannabis cultivation, cultivation on Williamson Act properties, and limits retail to no more than seven establishments in the unincorporated area. License Classifications are those defined in Business and Professions Code §§ 26050 and 26061:

A-Type Adult-use cannabis activity
M-Type Medicinal cannabis activity
Type 1A Cultivation; indoor max 5,000 sq.ft.
Type 1B Cultivation; mixed-light max 5,000 sq.ft.
Type 2A Cultivation; indoor 5,001 -10,000 sq.ft
Type 2B Cultivation; mixed-light 5,001 -10,000 sq.ft
Type 3A Cultivation; indoor 10,001 – 22,000 sq.ft
Type 3B Cultivation; mixed-light 10,001 – 22,000 sq.ft
Type 4 Nursery
Type 5A Cultivation; indoor large; greater than 22,000 sq.ft.
Type 1C Cultivation; “Specialty Cottage”
Type 5B Cultivation; mixed-light large; greater than 22,000 sq.ft.
Type 6 Manufacturer using nonvolatile solvents
Type 7 Manufacturer using volatile solvents
Type 8 Testing Laboratory
Type 10 Retailer (Storefront and Delivery)
Type 11 Distributor
Type 12 Microbusiness

M-Type licenses refer to medicinal permits and A-Type licenses refer to adult use permits. Each M-Type or A-Type license is a separate activity. For example, if you plan a Type- 2B Mixed Light Greenhouse activity and you will be engaging in Medical cannabis as well as Adult-Use cannabis activities at the property, which count as two (2) permits requested.

Please note commercial cannabis activities are currently prohibited in the unincorporated areas of Stanislaus County. The Board of Supervisors must approve the proposed regulatory and land use ordinance amendments along with a commercial cannabis fee schedule (Commercial Cannabis Permitting Program) for the current ban to be lifted. The number and type of commercial cannabis permits allowed in the County is subject to change throughout the review and approval process of the County’s Commercial Cannabis Permitting Program.

M-Type licenses refer to medicinal permits and A-Type licenses refer to adult use permits. Each M-Type or A-Type license is a separate activity. For example, if you plan a Type- 2B Mixed Light Greenhouse activity and you will be engaging in Medical cannabis as well as Adult-Use cannabis activities at the property, which count as two (2) permits requested.
Yes, the County will allow Microbusiness permits. However, when selecting Microbusiness on your Commercial Cannabis Registration form, also indicate all activities that are planned to be conducted, such as cultivation type, distributor, manufacturer, and retailer type. Count each activity to be conducted within the microbusiness separately. Do not count the microbusiness itself as a separate activity.
Yes, the recommended allowance strategy would allow up to 61 cannabis activities permits. The recommended strategy prohibits outdoor cannabis cultivation, and cultivation on Williamson Act properties, and limits retail to no more than seven establishments in the unincorporated area.
No, but all locally permitted commercial cannabis activities will be required to enter into a development agreement. A development agreement is a contract between Stanislaus County and the property owner(s)/project applicant(s), which details the standards and conditions for the development of the property and activity. The proposed development agreements will include a Community Benefit Fee, which is in addition to application and permit fees, which can be used for essential services currently supplied by the County. It is anticipated the Community Benefit Fee would raise a similar amount of revenue as a general tax.

At this time there is no plan to give currently operating cannabis activities any preferential or negative treatment.

However, the criteria for the selection process have not yet been finalized. There may be positive or negative impacts arising out of that yet to be finalized criteria on currently operating businesses. For example, two criteria we anticipate utilizing are whether the operator of an existing activity has paid all state and local taxes and whether there have been nuisance issues arising from the activity. Such criteria could have a positive or negative impact depending on the past practice of the business.

Our proposed local regulatory ordinance would prohibit the sale of alcohol on land held under the control of the applicant or owner. As such, a location that includes alcohol sales would not be able to obtain a permit for retail cannabis sales.

The County is not at this time addressing commercial hemp cultivation. Such activity is not covered under cannabis cultivation as defined in the Business and Professions Code.

Interested applicants must submit a Commercial Cannabis Registration form along with a $4,359 deposit submitted to the Treasurer/Tax Collectors Office. There will be additional costs associated with obtaining a commercial cannabis permit in unincorporated Stanislaus County. A Commercial Cannabis Fee schedule which will identify additional fees associated with the Commercial Cannabis Permitting program will be considered by the Board of Supervisors on December 5th, 2017. A fee associated with a required background check will be included in this fee schedule. Registrants who pass the background check will be allowed to move forward with the Commercial Cannabis Permit Application process. The $4,359 deposit fee will count toward additional application costs. All land use applications and development agreement applications are At Cost applications.

The county will be adopting fees for the regulation of commercial cannabis in our county. Those fees are anticipated to be applied to each separate type of permit issued.

Note that land use approvals are separate and apart from the administrative regulatory licenses. For example, a hypothetical property may have obtained land use approvals to conduct retail, manufacturing, testing, distribution and cultivation, but only have obtained regulatory licenses for retail and distribution. So, while the property may be approved for all those uses, it will only be charged the licensing fee for the two regulatory licenses in use.

All persons who will be managing a commercial cannabis activity must be included as an applicant on the registration form.

On September 26, 2017 the Board of Supervisors approved an item which allows County staff to move forward with an ordinance amendment which would allow a maximum of 61 commercial cannabis permits, including a maximum of 7 retail/dispensaries, to be permitted throughout the unincorporated county. Cannabis activities are currently prohibited in the unincorporated areas of Stanislaus County.

The number and type of commercial cannabis permits allowed in the County is subject to change throughout the review and approval process of the County’s Commercial Cannabis Permitting Program.

Yes, multiple license types may be combined onto one property with the exception of testing licenses. Combining license types is limited to those types which may be permitted in each zoning district, subject to Board approval.

Information regarding our point system or criteria for ranking the applications will be posted on the County’s website www.stancounty.com/cannabis soon.

We have no plans at this time to allow an applicant/permittee to switch properties. As a practical matter it will be difficult to do so and further the Board of Supervisors will soon consider adoption of a regulatory ordinance that may restrict the transfer or assignment of permits. The type and number of regulatory permits issued to an applicant will depend greatly on the land use approvals received, those activities approved in the Development Agreement and the quantity of the 61 regulatory licenses remaining when those land use approvals are obtained.

Land use approvals are, as you might anticipate, highly dependent upon the specific property and its location, environmental issues, etc. You are not guaranteed a regulatory permit at any point in the process. Once the 61 permits are issued, if another one becomes available, we will go back to our ranking and take the next applicant.

The county currently has no preference regarding medical or adult use permits. We anticipate these activities will be treated similarly.

The State's micro business license is a unique designation for a small vertically integrated business and is intended to relieve some of the permitting pressure and cost on those small businesses. A micro-business operating a vertically integrated retail activity in Stanislaus County would count as one of the seven (7) retail permits we will issue.

While felony convictions will likely be disqualifying, the commission of one or more of the offenses listed on the questionnaire may not automatically disqualify you from consideration. Your responses to these questions will be evaluated and considered in relationship to your entire background.

Copyright © Stanislaus County, California 2017

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