Sacramento Cannabis Attorney

Rooted Legal is a Sacramento based law firm with extensive experience handling cannabis matters. Our client list consists of cultivators, dispensaries, delivery-only, distribution and manufacturing. We have assisted with millions of square feet of indoor and outdoor cultivation facilities and large cannabis campuses.

Attorney Trevor Carson focuses on counties and cities in Northern California and has been selected to the 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 Northern California Rising Stars by Super Lawyers Magazine. Sacramento Magazine also named Attorney Trevor Carson as one of Sacramento’s Top Lawyers for 2015 and 2018!

  • Cultivation


  • Delivery


  • Distribution


  • Dispensaries


  • Manufacturing


  • Laboratories

We assist commercial cannabis businesses with preparing and submitting business operating permits and conditional use permits. We also help businesses obtain temporary and annual licensing with CalCannabis, the Bureau of Cannabis Control and the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch.

We act as an outside compliance regulation officer assisting commercial cannabis businesses navigate the ever changing legal landscape.

We act as outside counsel to assist with periodic legal matters and offer consulting services to cannabis businesses.

We pursue and defend litigation on behalf of cannabis investors and business operators.

The Governor signed into law three bills (Assembly Bills 243 and 266, and Senate Bill 643) that create a licensing and regulatory framework for commercial cannabis. The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act created seventeen (17) different types of licenses. There are several government entities that are involved in the cannabis regulatory process, including the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Department of Public Health.

The Bureau of Cannabis Control is responsible for regulating commercial cannabis licenses for retailers, distributors, mircrobusinesses, testing laboratories, and temporary cannabis events.

The CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, a division of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, manages the track-and-trace system. There are three branches to the CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing: (1) Licensing, (2) Compliance and Enforcement, and (3) Administration.

The California Department of Public Health's Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch handles licensing and regulation for commercial cannabis manufacturing. This branch handles cannabis product packaging and labeling.

Building a Successful Cannabis Business

Regardless of industry, there are basics to operating a successful business and the licensing restrictions have opened the door for a large variety of new cannabis businesses. The cannabis industry will include cultivation, processing, manufacturing, distribution, and retail. All of the sub-sectors will have their own complications. In preparation of licensing, businesses should begin drafting business plans and cashflow statements that account for insurance, furniture, construction, payroll, electricity, water, and licensing fees. Our Sacramento cannabis lawyers are experienced in transactional work and have assisted countless business with their daily operations. Please contact our office to schedule a initial consultation and to learn more about our services in the cannabis industry.

State of California Cannabis Licensing

The types of licensing are cultivation, manufacturing, dispensary, testing, distribution, and transporter. Below is a chart for the different types of cannabis licensing.

Cannabis Cultivation Licensing

Type of LicenseType 1Type 1AType 1BType 1CType 2Type 2AType 2B
License Type NameSpecialty OutdoorSpecialty IndoorSpecialty Mixed-LightSpecialty CottageSmall OutdoorSmall IndoorSmall Mixed-Light
Type of LightNaturalArtificialNatural and ArtificialNatural and ArtificialNaturalArtificialNatural and Artificial
Growing Area5,000sqft on one plot, or up to 50 mature plants on separate plots501sqft to 5,000sqft on one plot2,501sqft to 5,000sqft on one plot2,500sqft on one plot, up to 25 mature plants for outdoor, or 500sqft for indoor5,001 to 10,000sqft on one plot5,001 to 10,000sqft on one plot5,001 to 10,000sqft on one plot
Limited Number of Licenses to be IssuedNoNoNoNoNoNoYes
Type of LicenseType 3Type 3AType 3BType 4Type 5Type 5AType 5B
License Type NameOutdoorIndoorMixed-LightNurseryOutdoorIndoorMixed-Light
Type of LightNaturalArtificialNatural and ArtificialN/ANaturalArtificialNatural and Artificial
Growing Area10,001 to 1 acre on one plot10,001 to 22,000sqft10,001 to 22,000sqft on one plotN/AGreater than one acre on one plotGreater than 22,000sqft on one plotGreater than 22,000sqft on one plot
Limited Number of Licenses to be IssuedYesYesYesNoNoNoNo

Other Types of Cannabis Licensing

Type of LicenseType 6Type 7Type 8Type 10Type 11Type 12
License Type NameManufacturer 1Manufacturer 2Testing LaboratoryRetailerDistributorMicrobusiness

Local Cannabis Licensing

Local licensing for cannabis cultivation or marijuana dispensaries varies county-by-county and city-by-city. The local governments have the power to permit or ban cannabis and to crease the licensing framework. The local governments are still determining licensing for dispensaries, cultivation, manufacturing, lab testing, delivery, transportation, and distribution. Several local governments have banned commercial activities, including cultivation and dispensaries. The City of Sacramento is one of the few local governments that has decided to embrace commercial marijuana. The City of Sacramento is currently accepting conditional use permits and business permits for cultivation, manufacturing, testing laboratories, delivery-only, and distribution.

There are cities that have banned commercial marijuana, some cities have a moratorium, and other cities are beginning to accept new applications. With all commercial cannabis, licensing is a case-by-case situation and depends on the city or county. Please schedule a consultation to learn more about the particular cities and counties permitting marijuana dispensaries and cannabis cultivation. There is a $100 fee for consultations relating to the cannabis industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Cost to Start Commercial Cannabis Cultivation in Sacramento?

Cost to Start Cannabis Cultivation in Sacramento


Cultivation is the new gold rush and there are hundreds of individuals trying to jump on board. In Sacramento, there have been 100s of applications to obtain permits for commercial cannabis cultivation. Sacramento requires both a conditional use permit and a business operating permit. The cost will vary on the grow location and the size of the site. Here is a hypothetical cost to start a small 5,000 square feet cannabis cultivation business in Sacramento.

Conditional Use Permit in Sacramento


The conditional use permit in Sacramento for a cannabis cultivation site less than 10,000 square feet ranges from $16,640.24 to $25,726.28. The application fee depends on the condition of the building:  no exterior changes, minor exterior changes, or director level site plan/design review. The application fee will jump dramatically if the cultivation site is within 600 feet of a park. Proximately to a park will require a planning and design commission application and, if there are additional entitlements such as rezoning, the fees will be further increased.

Here is an example fee breakdown for a 5,000 square feet cannabis cultivation conditional use permit that is within 600 feet of a park thereby requiring a planning and design commission application.
Conditional Use Permit: $19,415.00
Site Plan/Design Review: $2,700.00
Environmental Review: $226.00
Planning Technology Fee: $1,787.28
Public Works Deposit: $1,000.00
Utilities Deposit: $304.00
Fire Deposit: $294.00
Total: $25,726.28

Business Cultivation Operating Permit in Sacramento


In addition to the conditional use permit, Sacramento will also require a business permit. An indoor cannabis cultivation of no more than 5,000 square feet requires a Class A cultivation permit. The initial cost for a Class A permit is $9,700.00.

Other Expenses and Total Estimated Cost to Start a Cannabis Cultivation Business in Sacramento


The conditional use permit requires a licensed architect. These fees will vary depending on the architect and the number of square feet. For a 5,000 square feet cannabis cultivation site, the estimated cost is from $7,500.00 to $15,000.00. In this example with a 5,000 square feet cannabis cultivation conditional use permit that is within 600 feet of a park, the estimated cost for a conditional use permit with an architect and a business permit, is $45,426.28. However, there are potentially other costs that could be incurred depending on the building site condition and other general factors. These estimated fees are related to Sacramento and do not include California State licensing fees, which will become operative in 2018.
How long does it take to obtain a conditional use permit for commercial cannabis in Sacramento?
The City of Sacramento estimates that the process for obtaining a conditional use permit is six (6) months.
How long does it take to obtain a business operating permit for commercial cannabis in Sacramento?
The City of Sacramento estimates that the process for obtaining a business operating permit is six to eight (6-8) weeks.
What is the first step for setting up a commercial cannabis business?
Location. Most cannabis licensing requires the business to have a physical location. The business owner must either (1) purchase a building or (2) lease a space. Purchasing a building will take time to identify the location and close escrow. Leasing a space is challenging. Delivery-only businesses do not need a large space, but landlords are reluctant to bring their property into the cannabis industry for a small lease. There are also lingering concerns that an application could be denied; therefore, the lease should include a contingency for the business owner to exit the lease without penalty. Acquiring the location and getting the landlord to sign off is time-consuming; but, location is the first step and one of the most important steps.
Can I obtain a temporary licensing and conduct commercial cannabis activity?
Business and Professions Code section 26050.1 provides that a temporary license may be issued by the Bureau of Cannabis Control that will allow a business to engage in commercial cannabis activity for a period of 120 days. The temporary license requires compliance with local laws and regulations.
What can I do to prepare for requesting a cannabis license from the State of California?
Businesses interested in applying for a cannabis license should:

  1. Review the existing regulations to ensure compliance;

  2. Reviewing local licensing and regulations to ensure compliance;

  3. Arrange for capital to start the business and pay the licensing fees; and,

  4. Consider a business structure like limited liability company or corporation.


The State of California will be providing preference to cannabis businesses already legally operating. The immediate goal should be to register and locally license a commercial cannabis business. There are hundreds of applications pending in Sacramento with caps on the number of businesses being consider and, in some cases, implemented. Contact our office to learn more about the opportunities.
Can I start trademarking and branding my cannabis business?
Branding is different from trademarking. Trademarking consists of registering a "mark" with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or the California Secretary of State. The USPTO is a federal entity. Registering the mark with the USPTO provides notice to everyone in the United States that the mark is being used in commerce by a business. After registration, the business will have better protection rights against anyone who infringes on the trademark. The problem is that the USPTO is a federal governmental entity, and marijuana is not federally legal. This means that any trademark for cannabis or marijuana will be rejected. Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(a), bars any trademark registration of immoral, deceptive or scandalous matter. Marks that can result in rejection include references to sex, offense to religion, race or to honor, and references to illegality.

Applications for trademarks that are ancillary to cannabis may still be approved. For example, clothing like t-shirts and hats. A trademark referencing marijuana, but its not selling the product, still has an opportunity to pass muster. In conclusion, building a brand around a particular name can be dangerous at this early stage because other businesses could pop up throughout the United States with a similar and potentially confusing brand. There are limited option to protecting a brand name in the cannabis industry.

Registering Cannabis Trademark with the California Secretary of State


The California Secretary of State allows for registration of state trademarks and service marks. The California Secretary of State has been actively marketing that they will register trademarks and service marks in the cannabis industry. The filing fee is $70.00 per mark classification. The California Secretary of State recently added an online search for active trademarks. Previously, the information on registered marks is accessible only upon public request. Therefore, it is now much easier to determine whether a mark has already been registered with the California Secretary of State. General provisions governing trademarks and service marks are found in the Model State Trademark Law, California Business and Professions Code sections 14200 et seq.

In addition to considering trademarking and branding, the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act does have specific limitations on marketing and labeling. The Act should be carefully reviewed prior to conducting a branding or marketing campaign. Its best practices to start in compliance rather than changing branding strategies after January 1, 2018.