Oakland's New Cannabis Licensing Rules: Oakland Residency Required

Oakland's City Council met through the night and until early Wednesday morning debating changes to cannabis licensing.   After a lengthy debate and numerous public speakers -- 108 individuals signed up to speak -- the council approved amendments to the licensing program.  Specifically the Council voted 8-0 in favor of amendments recommended by the city, with a number of changes that were put together by Council Member Desley Brooks.  

The City's staff report and recommendation is summarized here.

While no written report of the Council's action is yet available, based on the comments of the council members at the meeting, the changes to the staff's recommendation are as follows.

  • All general (non-equity) applicants must be Oakland residents for at least three years.  This is the most significant change and exactly how it will be implemented is not clear.  Presumably, the applicant will have to be owned at least 50% by an Oakland resident.
  • Police beats 5X and 8X were added to the equity eligible portions of Oakland.
  • For equity eligibility based on residence, a person must be a resident of the designated police beats for at least 10 of the last 20 years.
  • Additional documentation will be required to prove Oakland residency.
  • Edible and topical manufacturing will be allowed in commercial zones in permitted commercial kitchens, not just in industrial zones.
  • The RFP process to award dispensary permits has been eliminated.  How the City will choose among competing applicants for the 8 dispensary licenses is unclear.
  • $200,000 is allocated immediately to fund a consultant to administer the equity program's loans and technical assistance.
  • Staff will report back to the City Council in June on the progress of the program.. 

We will provide a more detailed account when a written copy of the Council's action is available.

Update:  Oakland's final licensing program was adopted on March 28, 2017, and we've got the details.

California Legalized's sponsor, the Ringgenberg Law Firm, represents cannabis businesses in licensing, business transactions, intellectual property, and other matters, and is available to help businesses analyze opportunities for licensing under Oakland's proposed legislation.