The Real Cost for a California Cannabis License

Have you Ever Wondered What was the Actual Cost to Get a Cannabis License? 

How Much Is a Weed License In California?

We know all cannabis business owners want to know how much is a weed license in California. In this article, we’ll break it down for you drawing upon our experience in acquiring cannabis licenses in 3 states and participating in over 30 successful cannabis licenses. Over this time, we identified the 6 main barriers to entry. Of course, the primary concern for everyone is:

California Cultivation License Cost

You may also be wondering what is the California Cultivation License cost. However, did you know that a cannabis manufacturing Type S License allows you to buy cannabis flower from thousands of cultivators and package it as your own? As a cannabis manufacturer, you can source flower from thousands of farms in California without the headache of having to grow from scratch. This is what most businesses do today. Unless your goal is to be a farmer, we would recommend getting a Type S License as you’ll have better variety, pricing, and flexibility to create your flower brand.

How Much Does it Actually Cost to Start a Cannabis Business?

We hope our experiences can help people take knowledgeable steps so they aren’t wasting their own, investors, or other people’s resources and time. We intend this to be a mini walk through of how much it costs to start a small facility 3000 square foot manufacturing facility in California. However, most of this is easily swappable/transmutable to all other legal/quasi-legal cannabis states. So, let’s get started.

The Average Cost to Open a Cannabis Business is $750,000+

This amount is a combination of a LOT of steps which no one says anything about, mostly because everyone is trying to get ahead of everyone else, attorneys have an overwhelmingly new area to learn and navigate through so they charge a ton, and everyone puts a premium on “cannabis” because well – it’s the future holy money-making grail.

First Step – Property Identification

First and foremost is identifying property. Cannabis is vastly different from any other industry in the world. This is because unlike alcohol, pharmaceuticals, cigarettes, or just purely illegal drugs – cannabis is a quasi-legal product which is not legal under federal law.

Green Zone Properties

In California, the cities and states have all the power in deciding zoning for cannabis properties. Commonly known as “Green Zone” properties, these properties automatically 2x to 5x in value if they are in the legal “Green Zone” for a city. So your first hurdle is making sure that the property you selected is even the Green Zone.

A cannabis consultant could charge anywhere between $1,000 to $10,000 or even equity depending on the length of time to go look for properties, check their zoning, then verify its location with the city. For us, it took us 16 cities and 43 different properties before we found one. Let’s just average it at $5,000 which is relatively cheap.

Leasing or Purchasing Green Zone Properties

As a result of the state vs federal law conflicts: No federal bank will give loans for cannabis properties.

Cannabis Property Costs

That’s right. This means you have two choices as a cannabis business – (1) own a property outright with NO loans or (2) Rent from a landlord who owns a property outright with no bank loans. With a 2x to 5x in value for no reason other than it’s Green Zone, this means that your property costs shoot up vastly.

Let’s average the cost for purchase at $300.00/Sqft and leasing at $3.00/Sqft. With a 3000 sqft facility, we’re looking at $900,000 (purchase) or $9,000 a month (Lease).

Second Step – City Application

The second opening cost of any cannabis application is the city or county fees. We break this down to two types of city fees: (1) Explicit Fees & (2) “Discretionary” Fees.

The explicit fees are what are publicly stated and the discretionary fees are while you are on the process – what a city a can charge you for any reason at any rate at their discretion.

Express Fees

Cannabis Property Costs and Fees

The express fees usually range from at a minimum, $5,000 to up to $25,000+ in some outlier cities. Most will charge between $5,000 – $15,000 For example, the city of Long Beach charges $5,925.45 in fees for 1 owner. If you have multiple owners – they add $145.00 for each additional owner. In Los Angeles, each license requires $8,059 per activity type. We’ll average it at $15,000.

Discretionary Fees

The discretionary fees are more interesting, in order to ensure that your premises meets the code, you’ll need to make sure your property is up to code from the local fire, police, architectural, and engineering departments – or however many departments the cities decides are necessary. Los Angeles Fire Department charges $918 + $216 for inspections exceeding 4 hours. However, they say nothing about any other departments. Basically, if a city likes you, they can charge you as little as a couple thousand and if they dislike you or think you have deep pockets – they can charge tens of thousands.

Cannabis Startup Pricing

It’s also incredibly common for a city to point out an issue and ask you make a modification so that they can come back in for another inspection, or simply put down a random number of how many hours it will take them. Most cities will also charge you a security deposit, legal fees, consulting fees, and operating agreements with the city, etc. In all of our licenses, we have never paid less than $35,000 for these discretionary fees. As a result, we’ll average these out at $30,000 to be really nice and overly optimistic.

Third Step – Premises Diagram

Almost all cities have a multiple-phase application process. At some point, you must have a premises diagram that meets all state and local cannabis codes, and specifically for cannabis. Unless you’re a cannabis architect yourself – you’ll need someone who can do this. Cannabis Architects charge a premium as they have to consider a lot of factors that most regular architects do not. Expect to pay about double to triple for cannabis architects.

Our cannabis architect states “While normally an architect would charge $1.50-5 for a commercial project – expect to pay closer to $8-$10 per square foot for a cannabis facility for a good cannabis architect.” Taking the low range of this, let’s tack on another $24,000 for premises diagrams.

Cannabis Startup Pricing & Licensing

Fourth Step – Engineering Plans

Once you have this set up, now you’ll need to get all your electrical, plumbing, and other items in order. Also known as MEP, these engineers are crucial in ensuring you have sufficient utilities coming in to operate your cannabis business. The average cost of this is probably around $2.00 – $4.00 per square foot. Taking the low range of this, another $6,000 for MEP.

Engineering Costs

Fifth Step – Interior Design

Now comes whether you want your place to look nice or not. This really is aggressive for retail but for other parts of the cannabis chain – the interior design really isn’t taken into account. So while normally it would be about $4.00 a square foot for retail, for our facilities only minimal costs were put into design costing about $1.00 square foot. We’ll tack on $3,000 for this.

Startup Pricing Design Costs

Sixth Step – Construction & Equipment

Now comes the REALLY expensive part, how much is your equipment and construction? A CO2 extraction machine goes from about $135,000 for small ones to $500,000 for larger ones. Then there is rotary evaporators, centrifuges, and much more depending on the needs of your engineer or scientist. Ultimately, the equipment probably averages around $250,000 for a small 3,000 sqft operation.

Then let’s also tack on general contractor costs (unless you are one yourself). General contractors get paid by taking a percentage of the overall cost of the completed project. Some will charge a flat fee, but in most cases, a general contractor will charge between 10 and 20 percent of the total cost of the job. This includes the cost of all materials, permits and subcontractors. The average cost per square foot for a commercial cannabis property goes from about $80 to $200.00 per square foot or more with most settling around $100 per square foot. This includes all the material, subcontractors, and labor. So let’s tack on another $300,000.

Cannabis Construction Costs

Seventh Step – State Licensing

Now that you’ve finished building out everything. Let’s assume that everything went PERFECT, and that you only need to do the final checkups. You can apply for your state licenses.

A 3,000 square foot facility with anticipated revenue of less than $500,000 – you are looking at a $1,000 application fee + $2,500 licensing fee. When you’ve received this and passed all inspection – now you can finally start operating. However, there’s a few more costs here that most people don’t account for.

Cannabis State Licensing Costs

Eighth Step – Legal Consultation

Hiring a cannabis consultant or attorney is expensive. The average cannabis attorney rate is around $750/hour being able to charge a premium as it’s a really exclusive field right now. This is coming from one of our founders who also runs a law firm specializing in cannabis contracts.

For example, the city of Los Angeles requires public notices, community meetings, pre licensing inspection etc. This includes having someone stand in front of the public population of a city at city council hearings, meet and greets with city officials, negotiations and more.

If you want to have a specialized, knowledgeable cannabis attorney – expect easily about 50 – 150 hours of legal work. Let’s take the mid area at about 100 hours.

Legal Aspects of Starting Cannabis Business

Ninth Step – Burn Rate

Here’s a super fun one for everybody. If you are leasing property – keep in mind that while you are struggling – this doesn’t mean your landlord lets you off the hook. We’ve spoken to a lot of people about the pain they have during this time frame – some are hitting about 14 months of processing time with over $30,000/month in just rental fees.

Everything above takes a long time to complete. Let’s estimate a “short” time frame of 12 months * the rent = $108,000. Let’s also add in the security deposit which is usually 3x normal rates. $108,000+$27,000 = $135,000.

LEASE: $846,500

PURCHASE: $1,611,500


Now comes the really fun part for us

Let’s compare the opening costs for you to start with us in making your own manufactured cannabis products versus the opening costs that everyone else has had to suffer.

My Green Network Cannabis Operational Costs

Santa Ana’s New Cannabis Law will Make the City a Cannapreneur Mecca. Here’s Why.

Cannapreneurs using California's Shared-Use Manufacturing License will see Biggest Benefits  

A new cannabis ordinance is set to make Santa Ana, Orange County’s 1st legal cannabis city, the best city in California for cannapreneurs.

Over the past few years, My Green Network has been working with Santa Ana's hard-working city staff and council. The new ordinance will create a truly beneficial environment for shared-use manufacturing using California's Type S License. Amazing organizations such as Orange County Advocacy Alliance and Santa Ana cannabis businesses have made it possible. 

Santa Ana's proposed cannabis laws, if passed, will make the City the top destination for cannapreneurs to utilize shared-use manufacturing.

Here's why.

1.    Shared-Use Manufacturing Taxes Set at 1% 

Shared-Use Manufacturing taxes will be set at 1%. This means shared-use manufacturers in Santa Ana will have one of California's lowest cannabis manufacturing taxes.

2.   Shared-Use Manufacturing SqFt. Taxes Set at ZERO 

Shared-use manufacturers will pay ZERO square footage taxes in Santa Ana. Compare this to other cannabis licenses state-wide that pay square footage tax even if they are losing money. Small businesses, cannapreneurs, and startups in Santa Ana will only pay city taxes when making sales. 

3.   Distribution Taxes Lowered from 6% to 1%

     Distribution will be set to 1% which means more distributors will start shifting their business to Santa Ana. Expect lowered distribution fees. Santa Ana is also strategically located with access to all of southern California (from San Diego to LA).  Santa Ana is set to become southern California’s hub for all cannabis distribution. 

4.   Retail Taxes Lowered from 8% to 7%, Potential 2% Tax Rebate

     Retail taxes will be reduced by 1% dropping from 8% to 7%. Retail stores that follow community benefits plan to pay prevailing wages and hire local will potentially see an additional 2% tax rebate. 

5.   Employee Livescans Finally Removed  

Previously, hiring employees required a livescan and almost a 30 day delay for badges to be issued. Cannabis businesses lost thousands of potential employees as a result. Shared-use manufacturers will now be able to hire faster, locally, and save money while getting better talent. 

6.   Owner Livescan Matches State Laws  

Previously, Santa Ana's livescan requirements were stricter than State laws deterring hundreds of potential cannabis owners. Shared-Use manufacturers can now apply with cannabis charges and convictions which would be approved by state law.

7.   1st City in Orange County to Allow Cannabis Consumption Events and Festivals  

Santa ana will be the first city in Orange County to allow cannabis consumption events and festivals. Being a shared-use manufacturer in Santa Ana means you'll be first priority for all events.  

8.   1st City in Orange County to Enable Collaborative Events between the City and Santa Ana Cannabis Licensees  

Santa Ana is enabling the City to coordinate cannabis festivals with its locally licensed cannabis businesses. Imagine a city-wide, Santa Ana 4/20 event with all local brands and retailers.  

9.   1st City in Orange County to Allow Cannabis Consumption Lounges

All Santa Ana retail stores can build attached cannabis consumption lounges. Think cannabis nightclubs, bars, cannagar bars, cafes, and a whole lot more. Expect shared-use manufactuers with unique products servicing these lounges to get the leg up. Ready-to-eat infused products? Here we come.  

10.   1st City in Orange County to Allow Cannabis Consumption Demonstration Rooms

Local dispensaries that do not have the space to create a lounge will be able to host educational and small tasting events in designated demonstration areas. Cannabis tasting flights? Senior medicinal cannabis education events? Veteran appreciation days? Expect a lot of very interesting and positive add-ons to Santa Ana's dispensaries.  

11.   All Retail Stores Given Medical and Adult-Use Designation 

A My Green Network Type-S License allows for shared-use manufacturers to create both medical and adult-use cannabis products. Either way you choose, all Santa Ana dispensaries can buy your products for their consumers. 

Summarizing it Up

Basically, shared-use manufacturers who get a Type S License in Santa Ana will be able to take advantage of the new laws and complete lack of unique cannabis products in the market.

They can enter the cannabis industry faster than anywhere else, pay the lowest taxes in California, have the best location in southern California to sell and distribute their cannabis products, and participate in Orange County's ONLY city to allow cannabis consumption lounges and festivals. 

Santa Ana has just become the best place to start a California cannabis business

Add onto the fact that My Green Network  offers the lowest cost to acquire a cannabis manufacturing license in the State, flexible memberships, guaranteed placement for licensed delivery, and more - It's clear. 

Santa Ana is set to become the mecca for cannapreneurs, shared-use manufacturing, and therefore - cannabis product innovation. 

Get Ready. Set. Go Green the Way You Want. We do the Rest. 

What are the Benefits of a Cannabis Shared Kitchen?

My Green Network - Cannabis Shared Kitchen

A cannabis shared kitchen, also known as a cannabis cloud kitchen is where cannabis manufacturers coincide together to create and manufacture cannabis products in a centralized facility. If you can make it, bake it, or create it, chances are you can do so at a commercial level through a cannabis-shared kitchen.

Here’s the inside scoop, many small business owners, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs aren’t aware of the beneficial components that come alongside a shared cannabis kitchen. They often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment and facilities before ever selling a single product.

A shared cannabis kitchen facility is equipped with commercial-grade equipment to give manufacturers the leg up to create larger batches when creating a product without the crippling overhead. While in-home kitchens are a great way to produce your first product – it is mandatory to have access to a licensed manufacturing facility to be able to legally sell your products.

What is the Cost for Cannabis BusinessGet your own California Cannabis Manufacturing License

California’s DCC, also known as the Department of Cannabis Control regulates all licensing and commercial cannabis activity and manufacturing in California. In 2018, the DCC created the Type-S Cannabis Manufacturing License– allowing the creation of cannabis shared kitchens.

The biggest advantage is that when properly executed, each operator in a cannabis shared kitchen will get their own cannabis manufacturing license.

To frame it properly, if you had a choice between starting your own mocktail business vs owning an alcohol license to produce and sell hard liquor – which would you prefer? The Type S Cannabis Manufacturing License is the hard-liquor license giving opening the doors to the exclusive THC recreational/medical cannabis industry.

Get Access to Commercial-Grade Equipment & Facilities

Our shared cannabis facilities are perfect for individuals who are at-home manufacturers wanting to branch out into commercial cannabis manufacturing, as well as companies that are doing small production looking to scale, grow, and expand their business.

Being a My Green Network member means you get immediate access to facilities and commercial-grade equipment you normally would not have access to. We carefully review, perform due diligence, and select tried-and-true equipment which is purposely designed for cannabis manufacturing. If you need something special? That’s great! Our members are also allowed to bring in their own commercial-grade equipment to use during production.

All equipment within the facility can be transported and stored. or rented at a set price per day. Meaning, you will never have to worry about the “what-if’s” during your manufacturing process while creating your products in our cannabis cloud kitchen.

As a My Green Network member, you Weed License in California through a Shared Cannabis Kitchen receive immediate full access to our entire facilities as well, including conference rooms, production rooms, packaging rooms, storage rooms, etc. In addition, each business will also receive a storage locker to keep their materials in a temperature-controlled and safe environment while you are not on site.

Production, Distribution, and Experience All in One Place

Get all of your manufacturing, distribution, and experience to succeed all in one place. The cannabis industry is a nascent industry in which experience and education play a huge role in ensuring your products hit the market compliantly and saving time, money, and resources.

We have a saying in the cannabis industry – every year in cannabis is like a dog year.

Here’s an interesting fact, only licensed cannabis distributors can request the final state compliance test for a cannabis product. That means normally, a cannabis manufacturer cannot do their own state compliance – they must hire a distributor to request that test from a licensed testing lab.

Many new cannabis manufacturers are laser-focused on production thinking they’ll address issues as it comes along. However, in the cannabis manufacturing industry, even a small mistake can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Sometimes this is completely out of your control. Here’s a prime example and some free advice:

Ever wonder why 99% of cannabis products you find at the dispensary have stickers with the THC quantity, description, etc.? You have definitely thought “this would look so much nicer if they just printed everything on the package.” 

In 2019, the state of California changed labeling requirements and over the last 3 years, it has made multiple modifications such as placement, sticker size, font size, additional label information, etc. As a result, cannabis manufacturers produced their products then because they could not do their own state testing without a distribution license – they sent the products to a licensed distributor for final testing and distribution. Every time California changed labeling laws, the cannabis manufacturers lost millions of dollars because they had to recall and redo their packages, pay the licensed distributor to sticker their old packages, or just throw out their old packaging.

At My Green Network, we have production and distribution all in one place enabling our members to flexibly adapt to changes, address production/testing issues faster, and get state testing without having to waste time. We also help with the distribution for our member’s products at rates which crush the competition.

Why Choose MyGN as your Cannabis Shared Kitchen

My Green Network offers you the most professional and reliable services for our members in addition to full use of our cannabis cloud kitchen, facilities, equipment, and its benefits. Start smart with My Green Network and expand your cannabis small business into commercial cannabis manufacturing, today.

Where is the Future Largest Edibles Market in the United States?

The Future of Edibles in the Cannabis Industry

Los Angeles

And the best part is that there are oceans of opportunity for anyone to be the next cannabis version of Nestle, Pepsi, or Wrigley. Let’s take a look at how we came to this conclusion of the future largest edibles market in the United States.

The Emerging Edibles Market

In 2018, U.S. Consumers Ordered Cannabis Every 8 Seconds Source – Forbes
Let’s combine this statement with another fun statistic:

Cannabis Statistic

Edibles are no longer limited to homemade brownies and cookies. Edibles today include gummies, breath strips, chocolates, beverages, mints, gum, popcorn, potato chips, etc. – if you can imagine it, someone can make it.

Non-Flower Sales %

Non-Flower Sales %

When a state legalizes cannabis, the American hallmark of innovation, free expression, and creativity shine brightly in the edibles market. Edibles sales in America exponentially rise when a recreational cannabis industry grows. The historical preference for cannabis flower takes a back seat for more convenient and discreet ways to ingest cannabis.

The reason is clear why this is the case too.

Global Trends

Less Americans Are Smoking

Less Americans Are Smoking

Smoking rates in America are falling with the adult smoking rate down to 15.5% in 2016 from more than 40% in the 1960s. But that’s not it, edible products are rapidly becoming the preferred product to sell due to a key driving factor…Edibles are the most profitable cannabis product to sell.

Flower to Infusion Journey

We’re extremely experienced in the legal cannabis industry with operator knowledge and know this is a chance that can’t be passed up. With this opportunity, it’s no wonder why billionaires are jumping into the edibles market like the billionaire Wrigley heir, Arizona Iced Tea, and other huge companies.

California is the Largest Edibles Market in the United States

We’re going to go over some mind-blowing, super fun facts here. With a GDP of $2.9 trillion, California would slot between Germany and the United Kingdom in the world’s top economies. California actually accounts for 14% of the United States entire economy.

California Population

The California population is estimated to be approximately 39.75 million making it the most populated cannabis market in the America.

In fact, the population of California is bigger than the entire country of Canada which has a population of 37.5 Million.

California is the leading state in the United States for cannabis sales.

In 2018, California legalized cannabis and had $2.51 billion in sales eclipsing Colorado’s 6 year running cannabis market by 60% in the span of 1 year.

This goes into a really interesting statement that we have personally experienced.

As of 2019, California’s edibles market is still immature.

California only started issuing commercial cannabis licenses in January 2018. It is still an extremely immature market that is poised for explosive growth if we follow the edibles market trends of every other state that went recreational.

Evolution of Recreational Cannabis Edible Markets

Year 1

Cultivators begin harvesting and get a jumpstart in the market with easy to sell packaging. Manufacturers and distributors are learning how to make products.

Year 2

Companies work out final formulations to consistently meet State THC requirements and make good cannabis edible market products.

Year 3

The third year and beyond – branding and marketing starts with aggressive competition to be “the brand” for a particular edible product. Right now, California is in its 2nd year of true legalization. As a result – the edibles market is still wide open.

It’s pretty clear that the California’s edibles market is the largest edibles market in the country (and potentially the world), now and in the future.

The Los Angeles County Cannabis Market is the largest in the United States


Los Angeles is the most populated county in the United States with over 10 million people.

If we’re talking about potential cannabis consumers, 85% of those 10 million are 21+ making it over 8 million potential customers.

Los Angeles Cannabis Statistic

Another fun fact is that “cannabis tourism” is quickly becoming a thing.

Los Angeles had over 50 million tourists in 2018 essentially 5x-ing the potential consumer market where people visit just to try California cannabis – known as the “best weed in the world”.

This makes Los Angeles the most populated cannabis county in the United States with the most aggressive potential cannabis tourism in the world.

How to Easily Enter the Largest Edibles Market in the United States

So let’s recap. We said it and we mean it that Los Angeles is the largest edibles market in the United States, now and in the future.


In 2018, with only 9 recreationally legal states, a handful of medical states – cannabis products were being purchased every 8 seconds. In mature legal cannabis states (those that have legalized and operated for several years), more than 50% of their sales were from edibles.


This is heavily influenced by a clear trend by Americans to NOT smoke + edibles have the highest profit margins in the cannabis industry.

Let’s couple it with the purchasing power and the size of the edibles market.

Purchasing power – California economy vs all other Countries – ranked 5th in the world ensuring plenty of money to spend.

Population – California vs all other states – Rank #1 beating 2nd place Texas by over 26% with almost 40 million population.

Cannabis Sales – California vs all other states – #1 in America beating the longest running cannabis market (Colorado) by 60% in less than 1 year.

Los Angeles edibles market – Los Angeles county has over 8 million potential consumers 21+ making it the largest cannabis market in the United States.

This means that entering the Los Angeles edibles market is an immediate opportunity to be part of the future largest edibles market in the United States.

The best part? It’s pretty easy to enter this market.

You don’t need to be the Wrigley billionaire or the Arizona Tea with millions of dollars of funding. You don’t even need $100,000.

Through My Green Network and its Cannabis Coworking platform – the costs to enter the largest edibles market is affordable, guaranteed, and easy. You’re also only 20 minutes away from Los Angeles situated in the largest edibles market in the United States, now and in future.

We already did all the heavy lifting and evened the playing field making it so you jump ahead of everyone else (including those billionaires) with a complete support system dedicated to your success.