Sixteen Cannabis Business Granted Licenses in San Rafael, California

Officials in the northern California city of San Rafael have chosen the 16 medical cannabis businesses that will receive operating licenses. It’s one of the first cities in Marin County to take advantage of the new state rules.

The application fee costs $3,600 per application, which is non-refundable, and approximately 30 business applied for the San Rafael licenses. Of those applicants, the city distributed 16 licenses: Five to delivery companies, eights to product manufacturers and three to distributors. “We’re really happy with the results,” said Danielle O’Leary, city economic development director, referring to the application process over the last three months. “We didn’t know what to expect . . . We did an online intake and had good feedback from that,” she added. “We had good mix of people applying—really good quality people.” Within the next two weeks licenses will be issued to businesses, as they are required to secure a new location within the “green zone” which has to be approved by the city.

While typical cannabis business licenses have been approved, licenses for lab testing were not issued due to the lack of qualification by applicants. “There’s a higher barrier to starting a testing lab—the cost of equipment, for example,” O’Leary stated. “Statewide, there are 31 testing lab licensees, but only 19 of those are active.”

License approval process was temporarily placed on hold for a few weeks after two files by delivery business failed to require the appropriate ranking. Ranking criteria included the following: Business plan summary, qualifications of the business team, safety and security, local preference, patient benefits, education as well as community belief. Fortunately this issue was resolved in early August.

In a situation where a business was not approved by the city, that business may still apply again before Marin County closes its application process for licensing.

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