City of Santa Rosa Cannabis Program

On December 19, 2017, the City Council unanimously adopted the City’s Comprehensive Cannabis Ordinance. The regulations address the locational and operational requirements for personal cannabis cultivation and commercial cannabis businesses, covering allowances for both medical and adult use. The ordinance goes into effect on January 19, 2018. For more information on the new regulations go to the Comprehensive Cannabis Policy Page.

Dual licensing required:

Commercial cannabis business operators must obtain both local authorization and a state license prior to conducting operations. In addition to land-use approval, through either a zoning clearance or a use permit, applicants are also required to secure a building permit and obtain a certificate of occupancy prior to conducting operations and prior to obtaining an annual state license.

Non-retail applications:

The City is accepting zoning clearance land use applications for non-retail adult use and medical cannabis businesses. See the Commercial Cannabis Applications Support page for assistance.

Retail applications:  

The City's most recent Cannabis Retail Application Period for dispensaries and microbusinesses with retail took place from April 4 to 20, 2018. A total of 38 Cannabis Retail applications were filed during the two-week period in accordance with the City’s Cannabis Retail Use Application Process Guide.  The site address, application status, and planner contact for each application can be accessed here:

Neighborhood Meetings. A total of 30 prospective retail sites are located near residential uses and therefore required a City staff-facilitated Neighborhood Meeting. Public comments and questions collected in these meetings are integrated into the staff analysis and public review process for the project. As of June 25, 2018, all 30 neighborhood meetings were completed by City staff.

Overconcentration Review. In addition to completeness review, applications were also evaluated for potential overconcentration and placed in a review track accordingly

    • Competitive track. If a proposed location is within 600 feet of another proposed or existing retail location, the application enters into a competitive, merit, point-based process. Applications are scored individually against merit-based criteria by a city staff review team, resulting in a staff recommendation to select the application with the highest-ranked average score. Staff findings and applicant proposals are presented to the City Council's Cannabis Policy Subcommittee who then select which applications move forward to the conditional use permit review process. Twenty-one applications representing seven areas of potential overconcentration were identified for this track. As of November 29, 2018, the Council Subcommittee has completed its review of seven Concentration Areas.
    • Non-competitive track. If a proposed location is not within an area of potential overconcentration, the application proceeds through the Conditional Use Permit process. Sixteen applications were identified for this track, and comprehensive City staff review began in July 2018. Applications of this type typically take 60 to 90 days to process, but due to peak workloads, the first public hearings did not begin until October.
Conditional Use Permit & Public Hearing Process. This process involves public noticing, staff analysis, issue identification and resolution, preparation of a Department recommendation and a public hearing with the City’s Planning Commission. On October 25, 2018, the Planning Commission conducted a study session on Cannabis Retail in preparation of the series of retail hearings that will take place. An action by the Planning Commission may be appealed to the City Council. In addition to public noticing, any interested person may monitor the progress of an application through Permit Santa Rosa and by signing up for email alerts.

Acceptance of New Applications. The Council Policy Subcommittee will discuss the timing for accepting new applications at its meeting on January 31, 2019, at 9 a.m. in the City Council Chambers. Until an acceptance date is determined, the City is not accepting new retail applications.
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Email Updates

  1. Cannabis Contacts

    1. Planning Inquiries - Permits
      Phone: 707-543-3200

    2. Jennifer Dewitt - Cannabis Tax

      Phone: 707-543-3153
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Cannabis Permitting Activity Update

Tracks number and concentration of new medical cannabis businesses in Santa Rosa, and the impacts to other industries that occupy similar zoning.  CLICK HERE FOR JULY 2018 UPDATE.

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