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Frequently Asked Questions About California Cannabis Businesses

LA County Cannabis Business Consulting

Cannabis Business Consultants in LA, San Diego and San Francisco Bay Area

At Green Wise Consulting (GWC), we provide a full range of consulting services for cannabis-related businesses in California. We understand that commercial cannabis is a relatively new industry, which means that there is still a great deal of uncertainty among entrepreneurs, business owners, investors, and the public at large. Our team works with growers, manufacturers, distributors, testing labs, retailers, and microbusinesses across the supply chain as they look to claim a share of this emerging market. Some of the most common questions we hear include:

Q. I'm interested in opening a cannabis business. How do I get started?

A. Before you begin the process of opening a cannabis business, you will need to educate yourself on the state of the industry. Take every opportunity to understand what is going on nationwide in terms of medical cannabis, adult-use cannabis (recreational), and numerous other considerations. You will also need to decide what type of business you want to open. Cultivation operations and retail dispensaries are the most visible types of cannabis businesses, but there are many other important cannabis activities that play integral roles in the supply chain.

Q. How much will I have to spend to open my business?

A. As with any business venture, the costs of starting a cannabis business may vary greatly depending on a number of factors. The type of company and the scale of your operation will influence how much money you need to get started. Your costs may also be affected by the local real estate market where you wish to open. The team at GWC can help you conduct a cost analysis before you get started.

Q. What licenses will I need to get started?

A. California has established a dual licensing system for commercial cannabis businesses in the state. This means that you must obtain a license or local authorization from the local municipality in which you conduct business prior to applying for the companion license from one of the three state regulatory agencies: BCC, CDFA or CDPH. GWC maintains a full working knowledge of the licensing application system, and we are equipped to guide you through the process.

Q. Are there limits to how many cannabis businesses can be licensed in my area?

A. Depending on where you wish to operate, local regulations might limit or cap the number of available licenses. This makes the licensing process even more competitive. We can help you understand the restrictions in your area and can assist you in choosing a location that best suits your needs and goals.

Q. What is a sensitive use buffer?

A. Certain areas have been designated by state and local laws as "sensitive use" areas. Depending on the specific regulations, these areas may include K-12 schools, public parks, churches, day care centers, youth centers, libraries, drug treatment facilities, and other places where the medical or adult use of cannabis may be restricted. A sensitive use buffer is the minimum distance that a cannabis business must be from a sensitive use area in order to qualify for a license. State law prohibits cannabis businesses from operating within 600 feet of a K-12 school, day-care center, or youth center, while local regulations may extend the buffer zone and include other sensitive use areas.

Q. How can GWC help me?

A. The team at GWC includes experienced consultants and other professionals with extensive experience in the California cannabis industry. We use our knowledge to guide you through every stage of starting and maintaining a cannabis business.

Q. What is GWC's audit program, and how will it help my business?

A. Our audits include inspection of people, processes, and equipment for compliance. We recommend ongoing, quarterly, unannounced audits, with monthly check-ins to ensure no lapse in compliance. The number and frequency of site visits/audits would be agreed between the parties prior to the beginning of your custom compliance plan. Through our audit program, you will be better prepared for state agency visits and better equipped to avoid state fines.

Q. Does GWC offer legal services?

A. No. GWC is not a law firm. We do not provide legal advice, guidance, or representation. Our associated entity with some partial common ownership overlap, Green Wise Legal, P.C. can address your cannabis business-related legal concerns.

To learn more about us or to schedule an appointment, contact our office by calling 323-645-7669 today.


The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Green Wise Consulting, LLC is not a law firm. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this website or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between GWC and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of GWC.

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California Cannabis Industry Association National Cannabis Industry Association Focus Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards Sierra Club
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