How to file for a recreational pot-growing permit in Sacramento

The city of Sacramento is now taking applications for permits to commercially grow marijuana.

The city is making new adjustments after California voters approved to legalize marijuana for recreational use and is allowing the cultivation of marijuana for commercial sale.

Sacramento city code defines cultivation as means to plant, grow, harvest, dry, cure, grade or trim marijuana. These new marijuana operations must be indoors, within a fully enclosed building and can't be visible from the public right-of-way. Additionally, all grow operations must be at least 600 ft. away from neighborhood and community parks.

Here are 5 things to know about filing for a permit:

1. In order to operate a cultivation business in Sacramento, you need both a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) from the Planning Division and a Business Operating Permit (BOP) from the Revenue Division. You can't have one without the other. In fact, the applications are processed concurrently. 

2. To file a CUP, you must visit the City of Sacramento's website and download an application. The paperwork must be submitted IN PERSON to the Planning Division, 300 Richards Blvd. 3rd Floor, Sacramento, CA 95811. To save time, you can email the City to make an appointment: Appt-Planning@cityofsacramento.org. Make sure to carefully follow the online instructions and provide the right information to confirm an appointment. A CUP costs between $16,640 to $33,610 depending on the proposed site and level of review.

3. Once you submit a CUP, you'll receive an application file number. You'll need this number to apply for a BOP. You can apply for a BOP online from the City's website or download the application packet and submit it in person at the Revenue Division, 915 I Street Rm 1201, Sacramento, CA 95814. The City website provides step-by-step instructions and graphics on the online application process, so it's a good idea to check it out before starting to fill out the application. A BOP fee ranges from $9,700 to $29,910 depending on the canopy size and is a separate fee from the CUP fee.

4. Canopy sizes range from 5,000 sq. ft. and under to 22,000 sq. ft.; the maximum allowed by state law. 

5. Keep in mind, all applicants are required to go through a background check and get a Live Scan fingerprint in person at the Revenue Division. After a business license has been issued, businesses are required to notify the City when staff is hired since all new employees need to go through the fingerprinting process.

To be eligible for business, a CUP must be approved by the Zoning Administrator. If approved, the BOP process continues and is then either denied or approved by the Revenue Division.

If a CUP is denied by the Zoning Administrator, it can be appealed through the Planning & Design Commission (PDC). However, an appeal fee is $4,000. An appeal by a third party is $298.

If denied by the PDC, a CUP can be appealed one last time through the City Council at no cost. Councilmembers can choose whether or not to take up a denied application in their district.  If it gets denied through the City Council, an applicant can submit a new application for another location. 

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