Carson City, California has once again opened the application window for commercial cannabis business permits. Applications are due on February 14, 2019 at 5PM.
Carson City uses a slightly different permit process than many other California cities. The City intends to issue four licenses for “cannabis centers,” which could hold multiple licenses for cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, testing and distribution. A cannabis center may host multiple cannabis operators – and when you prepare your application you must include all cannabis operators in one “parcel,” or permit application. Each operator must also submit separate supplemental application materials depending on their type of cannabis operation (distribution, testing, cultivation, etc.).
Given all the moving parts involved in gathering your application materials (which are extensive), filling out the supplemental forms, and making sure all your operators are in compliance with the City’s regulations, we suggest working with an outside firm to give your application the best chance of approval. Don’t be fooled: February 14 will be here before you know it!
Here’s what’s new in the Carson City, California cannabis center permit application.
Carson City Cannabis Licensing Process
Carson City’s main cannabis licensing application can be found here. The city has also issued a set of application instructions that you can refer to here. The instructions provide a sample breakdown of what your application should include, as well as some scoring guidelines which may prove helpful in putting together a thorough submission.
In addition to the main application, cannabis operators must submit separate supplemental material depending on their role in the cannabis industry:
Applicants must also submit the following additional forms:
Main Cannabis Application
There are 13 suggested sections the City will evaluate in the main cannabis application. The city has assigned a maximum possible points they will use to score each section. This should help guide you in putting together the strongest possible submission. Read the main application and supplemental materials carefully to be sure you are meeting the requirements under each section.
Section 1: Application and Documents
Section 2: Operation Plan (400 pts)
Section 3: Security Plan (300 pts)
Section 4: Health and Safety Plan (300 pts)
Section 5: Impact on the Environment (150 pts)
The application should state and describe the extent to which the Cannabis Business will engage in “green” business practices. Describe practices designed with a focus towards renewable energy techniques, water and power conservation measures and environmentally responsible waste management.
Section 6: Neighborhood Compatibility (200 pts)
The application should state and describe the extent to which the Cannabis Business will be managed to avoid becoming a nuisance or creating negative impacts on its neighbors and the surrounding community. Describe measures designed to create good neighbor policies, public relations techniques and nuisance mitigation.
Section 7: Employment Opportunities for City of Carson Residents (150 pts)
The application should state and describe the extent to which the Cannabis Business will be a locally managed enterprise whose owners and/or employees reside within the Carson and/or South Bay area.
Section 8: Economic Benefits (150 pts)
The application should state and describe the extent to which the Cannabis Business will be a direct and/or indirect economic benefit to the City of Carson.
Section 9: Community Benefits (150 pts)
The application should state and describe the extent to which the Cannabis Business seeks
to be an integral part of the City of Carson. Describe how the Cannabis Business proposes to develop and maintain community engagement through programs and economic incentives. For help on this section, check out our recent guide to strengthening your community benefits section.
Section 10: Experience of the Operators, Managers, and Employees (200 pts)
The application should include information concerning any special business or professional
qualification or licenses of Owners that would add to the number or quality of services that the
business would provide, especially (if applicable) in areas related to medicinal cannabis. Describe background of operators, managers and employees, as well as, if applicable,
industry specific training and experience.
Section 11: Capitalization of the Business (100 pts)
Section 12: Educational Plans (100 pts)
The application should state and describe the extent to which the Cannabis Business will develop and maintain community focused educational opportunities, possibly including general health risks associated with cannabis use, youth addiction and drug prevention programs, and measures to reduce risks associated with minors.
Section 13: Promotion of Equitable Business Ownership and Employment Opportunities (100 pts)
The application should include a proposed plan to develop a social equity program designed to ensure the Cannabis Business is diverse and inclusive. Describe how the Cannabis Business will engage in proactive efforts to hire partners and employees from marginalized communities and /or rehabilitated persons.
This is obviously a ton of information to compile – in addition to the supplemental application material found in Appendix A – so start this process sooner rather than later!
Carson City Application Review and Assessment
Once you submit your application, the Carson City staff will have a 90 day review period. The first review is to determine that your application complies with the Carson Municipal Code. If you are found compliant, your application will move to the Cannabis Permit Committee.
If your application is not compliant, within 60 days you will receive notice that your application is missing some required information. You may be given 30 days to resubmit; if your resubmission continues to be non-compliant, or you fail to meet the new 30 day deadline, your application will be “deemed abandoned” and you may start over.
Then, a Cannabis Permit Committee review the application for merit (based on the scoring outlined above). The Merit List is submitted to the City Council, who will then review the recommendations at a public meeting. The City Council makes the decision on whether to issue a Cannabis Center a permit based on Merit List criteria. If you do receive a permit, then your cannabis operation will enter a Development Agreement with the city planning council.
Carson City Cannabis Application Fees
The initial application deposit is $20,000. This is down from last year’s initial deposit of $25,000.
Need help preparing your application? Get advice from our licensing and finance experts who have helped dozens of cannabis operators in California.