Salinas marijuana industry being hindered by licensing hold-ups


The City of Salinas in Monterey County is chomping at the bit as licensing hold-ups are hindering the City Council’s decision to grant unlimited permits for cannabis testing facilities and small distribution outlets, as well as a further 23 for the rest of the industry’s entrepreneurs.

As the largest municipality in the California County of Monterey, Salinas is ideally situated outside the Greater Bay Area to attract a substantial amount of interest as a chosen marijuana site for everything related to the cannabis industry.

However, retail operations are being hindered by the Bureau of Cannabis Control which, to date, has only issued 500 licenses to 1,800 applicants.

Permit allocations

Salinas City Council has agreed to the following permit allocations:

  • Cultivation – 5
  • Dispensaries – 5
  • Standard Distribution – 5
  • Manufacturing – 5
  • Delivery Services – 3
  • Small Distribution – Unlimited
  • Testing Facilities – Unlimited

Permits that are required by the Salinas City Council

Cultivation, delivery, standard distribution and manufacturing all require a Commercial Cannabis Permit.

Administrative Permits must be obtained by Small Distribution companies and Testing facilities.

All businesses, however, must obtain:

  • Any required land use permits
  • Must be licensed by the State of California (Bureau of Cannabis Control)
  • Must obtain any other required permits, licenses and/or approvals

Who is eligible for a Commercial Cannabis Permit?

Anyone is eligible to apply for a Commercial Cannabis Permit, excluding convicted felons.

The City Council has made it clear that anyone charged or convicted of a felony in the last 10 years will be excluded, with limited exceptions, from owning, operating or working in the cannabis industry.

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Salinas’ marijuana tax rate

  • Cultivation – $15 per square foot of canopy space which automatically increases to $25 per square foot after three years
  • Dispensaries, Manufacturing and Delivery Services – 5% of annual gross receipts, increasing to 10% after three years
  • The tax rate will be automatically adjusted at the beginning of 2020 in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Restrictions on the location of Commercial Cannabis Businesses

The City Council has restricted operations in sensitive areas. Businesses cannot operate within 1,000 feet of:

  • Alcohol-related outlets
  • Card rooms
  • Churches
  • Firearm retail outlets
  • Libraries
  • Parks
  • Playgrounds
  • Residential properties
  • Schools
  • Smoke shops
Permit renewals

Commercial Cannabis Permits mus t be renewed annually and submitted at least 60 days before the expiry of the current Permit.

Employee Work Permits

Employee Work Permits must be obtained from the Salinas Police Department. Applications are subject to a criminal history check. Work Permits must be renewed annually and are not transferable if the employee changes his/her place of work.

Licensing hold-ups

While the City Council has given operators the green light, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) is lagging behind in its license allocations.

As far as can be established, to date, the BCC has only issued 500 licenses to more than 1,800 applicants. The majority of licenses issued have been for dispensaries state-wide.

The licenses issued to date are also only a temporary stop-gap and expire early in May. According to the BCC, this will allow them time to finalize regulations surrounding the cannabis industry.


While Salinas City Council has approved five marijuana retail outlets within the city limits, only one has opened its doors because of licensing hold-ups.

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However, “weedsters” who don’t want the hassle of standing in line are serviced by delivery companies, such as Pot Valet and, in the interim, can rely on obtaining their supplies in that manner.

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Comments (1)

  1. Avatar for Asheley Asheley April 2, 2018 / 11:50 pm / Reply

    Cultivation, delivery, standard distribution and manufacturing are required for Commercial Cannabis Permit.

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