Frequently-Asked Questions

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Local Cannabis Business Licensing

No.  Personal Use means the cultivation, harvesting, drying, or processing of cannabis plants with the intent to possess, smoke, or ingest cannabis or cannabis products for one's own individual use or by a primary caregiver for their qualified patient(s) in accordance with State law. 

The following cannabis activities are exempt from needing a cannabis business license:

  • Possession, processing, storage, transportation, or donation of not more than 28.5 grams of cannabis or not more than eight grams of concentrated cannabis by persons 21 years of age or older.
  • Cultivation in a legally established, secure dwelling or an enclosed, legally established, secure building that is accessory to a dwelling of up to six cannabis plants by persons 21 years of age or older as allowed pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 11362.1(a), as may be amended, and as allowed by the County Land Use and Development Code Section 35.42.075, Montecito Land Use and Development Code Section 35.422.055, and Coastal Zoning Ordinance Section 35-144U, as may be amended.
  • Legal nonconforming medical marijuana cultivation sites established by County Code Section 35-1003, until they are terminated, pursuant to County Code Section 35-1003.C, as may be amended.

Yes.  Commercial cannabis activity is, recreational or medicinal, including the cultivation, possession, manufacturing, distribution, processing, storing, laboratory testing, packaging, labeling, transportation, delivery, or sale of cannabis and/or cannabis products as provided in this Chapter 50 of the County Code. 

A Cannabis Business License is required before the start of a cannabis business or, if the business is in operation and a license possessed, prior to the expiration of such license. 

It is unlawful for any person to conduct, engage in, or allow to be conducted or engaged in a commercial cannabis activity in the unincorporated area of the County, unless the County has issued such person a business license under Chapter 50 of the County Code and the license is in effect.

Any person who seeks or obtains the following State licenses is also required to obtain the corresponding Santa Barbara County Cannabis Business Licenses as identified below:

State License Types* Santa Barbara County Cannabis Business License Required
Cultivation Licenses - Type 1, 1A, 1B, 1C, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 5, 5A, 5B & Processor Cultivator
Cultivation Licenses- Type 4 Nursery
Manufacturing – Type 6 & 7, N (edibles/topical) & P (packaging) Manufacturer
Testing – Type 8 Testing
Retailer – Type 9 & 10 Retailer
Distributor – Type 11 Distributor
Microbusiness – Type 12 Microbusiness

* Pursuant to Business and Professions Code § 26050, as may be amended.

Failure to possess, or operating without, a valid cannabis business licenses for each and every cannabis operation as required by Section 50-3 of the County Code, unless exempted in Section 50-5 County Code, is a misdemeanor.

No. A Cannabis Business License is issued to and covers only the licensee(s) identified on the cannabis business license and only the premises identified on the cannabis business license.  A Cannabis Business License is not transferable and automatically terminates upon transfer or change of ownership pursuant to Section 50-23 of the County Code. A Cannabis Business License does not run with the land.

First, you need to have a County land use or conditional use permit

Second, complete a County Cannabis Business License Application (coming soon) and compile the required documents

Third, submit the entire package to the County Executive Office at 105 E. Anapamu Street, Suite 406, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 with your Cannabis Application Fee deposit of $3,250. The County Treasurer has only authorized check and money order payments for cannabis related business licenses. Any check or money order used to pay for cannabis related licensing must clearly include the payer's information (particularly on money orders). Cash payments will not be accepted at this time.

First, you need to have a County land use or conditional use permit

Second, complete the Cannabis Business License Application (coming soon) and compile the required documents

Third, submit the entire package to the County Executive Office at 105 E. Anapamu Street, Suite 406, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 with your Cannabis Application Fee deposit of $3,250. The County Treasurer has only authorized check and money order payments for cannabis related business licenses. Any check or money order used to pay for cannabis related licensing must clearly include the payer's information (particularly on money orders). Cash payments will not be accepted at this time.

First, you need to participate in the Cannabis Zoning Review process.

Second, you need to acquire a County land use or conditional use permit.  

Third, complete the Cannabis Business License Application (coming soon) and compile the needed attachments. 

Fourth, submit the entire package to the County Executive Office at 105 E. Anapamu Street, Suite 406, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 with your Cannabis Application Fee deposit of $3,250. The County Treasurer has only authorized check and money order payments for cannabis related business licenses. Any check or money order used to pay for cannabis related licensing must clearly include the payer's information (particularly on money orders). Cash payments will not be accepted at this time.


Most importantly, you will need to have a land use or conditional use permit for the cannabis operations site.

Then, complete and sign the Cannabis Business License Application form (coming soon) and collect all required attachments.

All cannabis business licenses shall be valid for one (1) year from the date of issuance by the Treasurer-Tax Collector, unless suspended or revoked by the County pursuant to Section 50-27 of the Santa Barbara County Code.

The Cannabis Business License Application Fee deposit is $3,250.  As county staff reviews your application, they will charge their hourly rate against that deposit.  The deposit was set at about 80% of the time estimated to complete the application review.  If the operation and application is complex it may take more time, so we may be invoiced for the additional hours.  If it is simple, you may receive a refund.  This deposit fee is only charged once for each application.

After an application is approved, the new licensee will pay a Cannabis Business License fee of $2,500.  This is for the first year only.  It includes the costs of providing the actual license and the compliance review work, including site visits, over the first year of licensing. Again, it is a deposit, so we will only bill actual hours against that deposit. 

At the end of the first year, the Cannabis Business License Renewal Fee deposit is $3,600. This will include the processing costs of the renewal plus the compliance review over the subsequent years that the license remains active.  Again it is a deposit, so we will only bill actual hours against that deposit.  This Renewal Fee would be ongoing annually as long as the license remains in effect.  If a license is revoked for noncompliance, the Renewal Fee deposit will not be refunded.

Most likely, you will provide the State of California with a copy of your Santa Barbara County Cannabis Business License to support your application or renewal of your annual State cannabis license.

Yes, in two cases.

Cannabis storefront retail licenses are limited to eight countywide, with no more than two in any supervisorial district.  There will be a pre-qualification process and random selection process conducted to establish a list of eligible storefront cannabis retail operations in each district.  In order, eligible operators will have the chance to complete their permitting and licensing applications.

Cannabis cultivation is limited in the Carpinteria Valley to a total of 186 acres.  If the cap is achieved and whenever five acres become available, then the same pre-qualification and random selection process would be implemented for cultivation licenses in the Carpinteria Valley area.

More details are available in Section 50-7 of the County Code.

 

Any application for a cannabis business license may be denied based on any of the following criteria:

  • Any grounds for denial listed in Section 22-55, 22-56 or 22-57 of the Santa Barbara County Code;
  • Knowingly, willfully or negligently made a false statement of material fact or omitted a material fact from the application;
  • Any Applicant, owner, person having at least a 20% financial interest, manager, supervisor or employee has been convicted of a felony or other crime as set forth in Business and Professions Code section 26057, as may be amended and was not approved by the Sheriff;
  • Operations, energy conservation, equipment, inventory control, quality control, security waste management or cultivation plans, or other information in the application are determined to be insufficient to maintain the health, safety and general welfare of employees or the public or fail to comply State law or the County Code by staff from the Agricultural Commissioner, Fire, Planning and Development, Public Health or Sheriff's departments;
  • Failure to obtain and/or maintain a valid seller's permit required pursuant to the Revenue and Taxation Code, as may be amended;
  • Proposed cannabis operation does not comply with the provisions of this Chapter 50 or Chapter 50A or State law;
  • Have not received all necessary land use entitlements as required by Chapter 35, Zoning, of the Santa Barbara County Code;
  • Denial a license to engage in commercial cannabis activity by a State licensing authority;
  • Proposal exceeds the limitations or has not complied with the selection process established in Section 50-7 of the County Code;
  • Denial of the County access to the premises to conduct an inspection; or
  • Failure to pay County taxes, license or permitting fees.

Any of the following shall be grounds for suspension or revocation of a cannabis business license, based on substantial evidence and following notice and the procedure in Section 50-27 of the County Code:

  • Failure to comply with one or more of the terms and conditions of the cannabis business license;
  • The cannabis business license was granted on the basis of false material information, written or oral, given knowingly, willfully or negligently by the applicant;
  • Any act or omission by a licensee in contravention of the provisions of Chapter 50 of the County Code;
  • Any act or omission by a licensee in contravention of State law or the Santa Barbara County Code;
  • Any act or omission by a licensee that results in the suspension or revocation of the applicable land use entitlement/permit issued under Chapter 35, Zoning, of the Santa Barbara County Code for the commercial cannabis activities;
  • Any act or omission by a licensee that results in the denial, revocation or suspension of that licensee's State license;
  • Failure to pay, or engaging in falsely reporting of, State or County taxes on commercial cannabis activity;
  • Any of grounds for revocation listed in Section 22-59 of the Santa Barbara County Code;
  • Failure to meet corrective action plans issued by County Department(s) cited in this Chapter; and
  • Engaging in conduct that constitutes a nuisance, where the licensee has failed to abate the nuisance. 
 

Planning and Permitting

The County has established two separate caps on cannabis cultivation, nurseries and microbusinesses with cultivation as follows: 1) covers the Carpinteria Agricultural Overlay District (as defined in Ordinance 4529) and is 186 acres, 2) covers the entire unincorporated areas of the County outside the Carpinteria Agricultural Overlay District and is 1,575 acres (Santa Barbara County Code Section 50-7). These caps are administered through the County Executive Office's cannabis division and are based on cannabis business licensing. The County has established two eligibility lists from which cannabis business licenses subject to the caps will be issued. There is one eligibility list per cap as follows: 1) Eligible Business Applicants List: Carpinteria Agricultural Overlay, and 2) Eligible Business Applicants List: Unincorporated.
Yes, a cannabis nursery is considered cultivation of immature plants and may be located either outdoor, in a mixed-light environment (e.g., greenhouse or glasshouse) or indoor within a building that relies wholly on artificial light, depending on what zone district applies to the subject property.
Hoop structures are allowed in agricultural zone districts subject to a Land Use Permit or Development Plan, depending on the size of the proposed hoop structures relative to the size of the lot on which the structures would be located. For properties zoned AG-II, the following thresholds apply for purposes of determining what permit type is required.
Lot Size(acres) Threshold for Development Plan
Less than 40           20,000 square feet
40 to less than 100           25,000 square feet
100 to less than 200           30,000 square feet
200 to less than 320           40,000 square feet
320 or more           50,000 square feet
Yes, growing cannabis in a hoop structure is considered outdoor cultivation and therefore no artificial lighting is allowed.
  • Lighting should only be on when needed – motion sensor activation
  • Only light the area that needs lighting
  • Be no brighter than necessary
  • Be fully shielded and pointed downward
Fences in agricultural zones can be no more than six feet high along the front property line and no more than eight feet high along the side and rear property lines.
  • All fencing and/or walls must be made of materials that blend into the surroundings and minimize visual impacts.
  • Razor wire, tarps, dust guard fencing, privacy netting or polyethylene plastic are not allowed.
  • Fences shall include lockable gates that are locked at all times (except during ingress/egress).
  • If a fence could affect a wildlife habitat area, additional regulations apply.
  • "No climb" fencing may be desirable
Please see the General Fence Regulations for Cannabis Cultivation for more information on fences.

A maximum of eight dispensaries for adult-use cannabis will be allowed in the County, with no more than two dispensaries in any one supervisorial district. Applications for a lottery to select dispensary operators/locations will be conducted after the County's cannabis regulations become effective in the coastal zone (some time in 2019).
The County does not regulate hemp cultivation; only cannabis. For more information on hemp, contact the California Industrial Hemp Program at industrialhemp@cdfa.ca.gov.
No; the county code and county ordinances, including the Medical Marijuana Regulations, do not prohibit or otherwise affect medical marijuana deliveries and/or delivery operations.

No, except for medical marijuana cultivation for personal medical use. Specifically, Subsection 35-1003.A of the Medical Marijuana Regulations states:

Medical Marijuana Cultivation Prohibited. Except for the limited exemptions in subsections A.l and A.2, below, medical marijuana cultivation is prohibited in all zones, districts, properties, and areas within the unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County. Subsection 35-1003.A.1 of the Medical Marijuana Regulations may allow a qualified patient or person with an identification card, or that patient's or person's primary caregiver to cultivate medical marijuana for personal medical use. Please see question #4 below for additional details.

Subsection 35-1003.A.2 may provide an exemption for medical marijuana sites that existed on January 19, 2016. Please see question #5 below for additional information on this exemption.

Yes, subject to specific conditions and terms. In particular, Subsection 35-1003.A.1 of the Medical Marijuana Regulations states:

Medical Marijuana Cultivation for Personal Medical Use Exemption. A qualified patient or person with an identification card or that patient's or person's primary caregiver is allowed to engage in indoor or outdoor medical marijuana cultivation for personal medical use provided…

Subsections 35-1003.A.1.a through A.1.e list the following five conditions that apply to medical marijuana cultivation for personal medical use:

  1. The cultivation occurs on the lot that contains the lawful residential structure occupied by the qualified patient or person with an identification card; and
  2. The cultivation occurs on a single cultivation site that does not exceed one hundred square feet; and
  3. The cultivation conforms to all applicable zoning regulations and current California and county building codes; and
  4. The qualified patient or person with an identification card does not sell, distribute, donate, or provide marijuana to any other person or entity; and
  5. The primary caregiver does not sell, distribute, donate, or provide marijuana to any other person or entity for which they are not acting as the primary caregiver in accordance with the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.

In addition, medical marijuana cultivation must also comply with the definitions of key terms in Section 35-1002, Definitions, which include but are not limited to "qualified patient," "person with an identification card," and "primary caregiver."

No, provided the legal medical marijuana cultivation site existed on January 19, 2016 pursuant to Subsection 35-1003.A.2 of the Medical Marijuana Regulations. The limited exemption in Subsection 35-1003.A.2 states:

Legal Nonconforming Uses Exemption. Medical marijuana cultivation locations already existing on January 19, 2016, if they are legal under California state law; these would become legal nonconforming uses.

Marijuana cultivation sites that existed on January 19, 2016 may continue if they were legal under California state law. Such uses would become legal nonconforming uses. The County zoning ordinances prohibit the expansion or other changes to legal nonconforming uses.

According to Subsection 35-1003.A.2 of the Medical Marijuana Regulations: Legal Nonconforming Uses Exemption. Medical marijuana cultivation locations already existing on January 19, 2016, if they are legal under California state law; these would become legal nonconforming uses.

The following list includes examples of applicable state law, including but not limited to the Compassionate Use Act, the Medical Marijuana Program Act, and the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act:

The medical marijuana cultivation location is not located within a 600-foot radius of a school. [Health and Safety Code Section 11362.768(b)]

The medical marijuana cultivation location complies with local laws, including for example, but not limited to, zoning, building, grading, and water requirements. [California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.769 and 11362.777(b)(3); Business and Professions Code Section 19322(a)(2)]

The medical marijuana cultivation is not a for profit business/organization. [Health and Safety Code Section 11362.765(a)]

The owner/operator of the medical marijuana cultivation location has a caregiver relationship with qualified patients and/or their primary caregivers. [Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5(d)]

The quantity of medical marijuana cultivated complies with the amounts specified in Health and Safety Code Section 11362.77(a) and (b).

Information on submitted land use entitlement applications may be located within the Planning & Development Department report found here: Cannabis Land Use Entitlement Report

Information on cannabis cultivation acreage applied for via land use entitlement applications may be located within the Planning & Development Department report found here: Cannabis Cultivation Acreage Report


Cannabis Operations Tax

Every person who engages in cannabis operations, including the cultivating, manufacturing, producing, processing, preparing, storing, providing, donating, selling, or distributing cannabis or cannabis products within the unincorporated area of the County shall pay to the County Treasurer-Tax Collector a tax on the gross receipts of each of their operation's activities involving cannabis or cannabis products, whether cultivating, manufacturing, producing, processing, preparing, storing, providing, donating, selling, distributing, or otherwise.
Yes. Personal cultivation and personal use, as defined by County Ordinance 5026, Chapter 50A, Section 50A-12 is exempt from the commercial cannabis business tax.
Yes. Personal cultivation and personal use, as defined by County Ordinance 5026, Chapter 50A, Section 50A-12 is exempt from the commercial cannabis business tax.
  1. Nursery: 1% of gross receipts; and
  2. Distributor (excluding Distributor Transport Only): 1% of gross receipts; and
  3. Manufacturing: 3% of gross receipts; and
  4. Cultivation: 4% of gross receipts; and
  5. Retail: 6% of gross receipts; and
  6. Microbusiness: 6% of gross receipts.

In addition to the above rates, the number of cannabis units or cannabis products sold/transferred must be tracked and reported quarterly by the cannabis operator.

"Gross Receipts," means the total amount actually received or receivable from all sales and transfers; the total amount of compensation actually received or receivable for all the performance of any act or service. "Gross Receipts" subject to the cannabis operations tax shall be that portion of gross receipts relating to business conducted within the unincorporated area of the County.

The County's taxes on cannabis operations shall be paid on transfers between each operation (Nursery, Distributor, Manufacturing, Cultivation, Retail & Microbusiness) regardless of whether the activity is undertaken individually, collectively, or cooperatively, and regardless of whether the activity is for compensation or gratuitous.

For more detailed information please review the definition of "Gross Receipts" in County Ordinance 5026, Chapter 50A, Section 50A-3

Every person/operation shall keep full, true and accurate records as to the amount of cannabis or cannabis products sold and/or transferred for a period of at least 7 years and shall, upon request of the Treasurer-Tax Collector, make all records available. (County Ordinance 5026, Chapter 50A, Section 50A-8.)
The Treasurer-Tax Collector has the power to audit and examine all books and records of persons engaged in cannabis operations. For more detailed information please review County Ordinance 5026, Chapter 50A, Section 50A-8.
July 1, 2018. The first payment is due on October 1, 2018, based on the gross receipts of the business during that quarter and will become delinquent if not paid by October 31, 2018.
The amount of the gross receipts tax shall be due and payable by the first day of January, April, July and October, and shall become delinquent if not remitted to the Treasurer-Tax Collector on or before 5:00 p.m. on the last day of each of those months.
Taxes are payable to Harry E. Hagen, Treasurer-Tax Collector.

Any operation that fails to remit payment by 5pm on the last day of the reporting month will be assessed a 10% delinquency amount on the tax amount.

Any operation that fails to remit payment for past due taxes on or before a period of 30 days following the first delinquency will be assessed a second delinquency amount of 10% on the original tax amount.

In addition to the delinquency amount(s) there is also interest charged on the original tax amount at a rate of 0.5% per month that will be added to the amount owed.

That is tax fraud. If the Treasurer-Tax Collector determines that there is a nonpayment of any remittance due to fraud, a delinquency amount of 25% of the amount of the tax shall be added thereto in addition to the delinquency amounts identified County Ordinance 5026, Chapter 50A, Section 50A-5.
Yes, regardless of the operation's license status with the County, you are required to pay taxes on cannabis operations conducted within the unincorporated area of the County.

Additional Information

View the full County ordinance

This Taxation FAQ does not address any state or federal taxes that may also be applicable.

Treasurer-Tax Collector's Contact Information:

Website: www.sbtaxes.org

Address:

County Administration Building
105 E Anapamu St., Rm 109
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Phone Number: (805) 568-2920


State Licensing FAQs


Community Engagement FAQs

Community Plans are adopted as amendments to the Land Use Element and/or Coastal Land Use Plan (if applicable area is within the coastal zone) and are often used by cities and counties to plan the future of a particular area at a finer level of detail. A community plan is a portion of the Land Use Element or Coastal Land Use Plan focusing on the issues pertinent to a particular area within the city or county. These documents supplement and must be consistent with the policies of the Comprehensive Plan. Development of Community and Specific Plans is not mandatory.

Santa Barbara County has a total of 10 Community/Area Plans. Each Community Plan contains goals, policies and standards guiding development of the community it serves. Information on the County's 10 Community Plans can be found at http://www.countyofsb.org/plndev/policy/communityplans.sbc

Santa Barbara County Code, Chapter 50, Section 50-7(b) limits the number of storefront retail licenses to no more than one in each of six community plan areas as listed in the Code.
According to the Montecito Land Use & Development Code, Chapter 35.442.055-Cannabis Regulations, all commercial cannabis activities for medicinal and/or adult use are prohibited. Commercial cannabis activities that are subject to this prohibition include, but are not limited to, all cannabis activities that require the issuance of a State license. In addition, cannabis storefront retail businesses are only allowed in certain commercial zone districts, and with the exception of two small parcels, these commercial zone districts are not located in Montecito.
For purposes of cannabis storefront retail, Summerland and Toro Canyon are being considered as one combined community plan area, and therefore, only one cannabis retail storefront is allowed in the combined community plan area.
Not in and of itself. The totality of the scoresheets and public comment received may factor into applicant/application review.
The Business Operations Proposal Scoresheet allocates points for applicants who are legally operating a cannabis business and for applicants who are cannabis licensees within Santa Barbara County.
The County of Santa Barbara Cannabis Permitting and Zoning Map and a tip sheet for navigating the map are available at http://cannabis.countyofsb.org/retail.sbc.
Once each fiscal quarter the County Executive Office reports to the Board of Supervisors the amount of revenue obtained from cannabis in that quarter.
In accordance with Santa Barbara County Code, Chapter 50A, Section 50A-4, revenue will be allocated annually by the Board of Supervisors through the annual budget process. Such appropriations may be made or revised pursuant to the County Budget Act.
Yes. The presentations, along with videos, maps and other helpful links are available at http://cannabis.countyofsb.org/retail.sbc. The presentation is available in English and Spanish. In addition, a video of each community cannabis storefront retail meeting is posted on the website.
Community compatibility will incorporate a variety of components, including parking impacts, traffic flow, design, neighborhood concerns, consistency with the appropriate community plan, and other factors as addressed in the Neighborhood Compatibility Proposal Scoresheet. The Neighborhood Compatibility Proposal Scoresheet was presented to the Board of Supervisors for approval on August 18, 2020.

According to Santa Barbara County Code, Chapter 50 – Licensing of Cannabis Operations, Section 50-7, accepted applications will be scored and ranked by Community Plan Area based on the criteria established in the County Code using the scoresheets approved by the Board of Supervisors on August 18, 2020.

Each accepted application will be scored based on the submittal elements listed in the scoresheet. Scored submittal elements will be weighted as 25% based on the general application and 75% based on the Business Operations Proposal. Each accepted application must receive a score of 85% or greater to be considered a qualified application. Each qualified application will then be ranked. Ranking shall be weighted as follows: 10% based on the application as a whole and 90% based on the Neighborhood Compatibility Proposal. The highest ranked qualified applicant in each community plan area, as provided in Section 50-7, may then apply for a land use entitlement.

The criteria to score and rank the proposed cannabis storefront retail applications is included in Santa Barbara County Code, Chapter 50 – Licensing of Cannabis Operations, Section 50-7. The following are required to submitted as part of the Business Operations Proposal and the Neighborhood Compatibility Proposal and will be considered and evaluated: experience owning or operating a cannabis related business; step-by-step procedures to demonstrate compliance with state and local regulations; cash management plan; finance plan and pro forma financial statement; employee training program; product procurement and delivery plan; communications/marketing strategic plan; local employment goals and supply chain support plan; labor protections for retailers with more than fifteen employees; customer and community education plan; community engagement and local involvement plan; and a neighborhood compatibility plan.
The scoring committee will rely on the scoresheets adopted by the Board of Supervisors to score and rank the cannabis storefront retail applications. Staff presented the scoresheet criteria to the Board on August 18, 2020, which was open to public participation.
The scoring committee does not include members of the public. However, the community will continue to have opportunities to provide input, in addition to the six community meetings held in July 2020, and two public surveys posted on the County's cannabis website, the public may comment on the proposed scoresheets that were presented to the Board of Supervisors on August 18, 2020. Community engagement and public outreach will continue throughout the process. The public also may participate in the land use entitlement process for the selected cannabis retail applicants. Questions and comments may be submitted to cannabisinfo@countyofsb.org or (805) 568-2057. To learn more about public participation in the Board of Supervisors meetings, go to www.countyofsb.org/ceo/cob.sbc.
The proposed Business Operations Proposal Scoresheet includes an option to award points for cannabis licensees operating in Santa Barbara County. The scoresheet was considered by the Board of Supervisors on August 18, 2020.
The County is considering implementing social equity components, and will share more information as it becomes available.
The proposed cannabis storefront retail scoresheets were considered by the Board of Supervisors it a regular meeting of the Board on August 18, 2020. Following public comment on the item, the Board adopted a scoresheet.
The proposed Neighborhood Compatibility Proposal Scoresheet allocates varying percentages among the criteria required to be included in the proposal based on the County Code, Chapter 50, Section 50-7. The weighting recommendations are based on input received during the July 2020 community meetings, as well as the surveys conducted on the County's cannabis website. The final allocation was changed by the Board of Supervisors on August 18, 2020. Community involvement will now be weighted at 35%.
The County has not yet contracted with a third-party evaluator.
The Board of Supervisors considered and approved the proposed cannabis storefront retail selection process and scoresheets criteria on August 18, 2020. The required noticing period will begin September 29-Nov. 9 at http://cannabis.countyofsb.org/ to be followed by the application submittal period of 8 a.m. Monday, November 2 to a deadline of 5 p.m. Monday, November 9, 2020. Applications and fees must be received by the deadline in order to be deemed a timely submission.
The required noticing period will begin September 29-Nov. 9, to be followed by the application submittal period of 8 a.m. Monday, November 2 to a deadline of 5 p.m. Monday, November 9, 2020. Once the application period has closed, scoring will begin.
Santa Barbara County Code, Chapter 50, Section 50-7, requires that the County issue a 30-day notice of intent to open the application to be followed by a seven-day application period.
No, as long as a complete application is received by the deadline. The application period will be open for seven days with a clear submission deadline that will be strictly adhered to.
All applicants for cannabis operations are encouraged to submit concurrent processing of their land use permit and business license. For cannabis storefront retail applicants, a final ranked storefront retail list will be made available for each of the six Community Plan Areas (CPA). The highest ranked applicant in each CPA will have up to 90 days to submit a land use entitlement application to the Planning & Development Department. Once the application has been accepted for processing, the applicant may then submit a complete business license application. However, a business license will not be issued until the applicant has received all necessary and final land use entitlements.

The County will only accept one application per person, per proposed operation location. Each project and/or project site may have unique circumstances. For specific questions, please send an email to cannabisinfo@countyofsb.org.

Yes, parking is considered in the cannabis storefront retail selection process and in the land use entitlement review process. The Neighborhood Compatibility Proposal scoresheet also includes parking criteria. The County's zoning ordinances include parking regulations that require a specific number of parking spaces. As part of the land use entitlement review and prior to any approval, Planning & Development will consider if there is adequate parking for the proposed use.
The term non-transferable for a cannabis business license means that, if granted a license, an applicant may not sell or transfer that license to another entity at the end of the selection process or anytime thereafter. (Refer to County Code Section 50-22.)
County staff examined several other jurisdictions' retail selection processes when creating the merit-based cannabis storefront retail application selection process, associated regulations, and scoresheets. In addition, the County's regulations on cannabis storefront retail have been considered by the Board of Supervisors on several occasions and updated to reflect local concerns and considerations.
This depends on the nature of the legal judgment. Applicants will be required to disclose experience owning or operating a cannabis related business and will be subject to a criminal history check. If an applicant has experience legally operating a cannabis business, pursuant to the current draft Business Operations Proposal Scoresheet they will receive points, but if the applicant's cannabis operation is not operated legally, the applicant will not receive points.
The County will review comments and questions received via email, phone, mail, and from public comment at the Board of Supervisors meetings and in each community meeting, as well as responses received through the online surveys posted in June and August 2020.
The cannabis business licensing process, specifically the cannabis storefront retail licensing process, is far more exhaustive than other business licensing processes. Cannabis business licensing involves multiple County departments and various background checks on the applicants and their employees. The cannabis business licensing process also includes various site security requirements that other types business licenses do not require.
Proof of ownership of premise, or if the premise is rented or leased, written permission from the property owner is required as part of the cannabis storefront retail application.
Delivery services will be monitored and regulated in the same way that all other retail storefront operations will be. Within the Land Use and Development Code, the definition of a storefront retailer includes retail sales and delivery of cannabis. If an applicant were to obtain a cannabis retail storefront license they may perform the delivery service. There are currently no local restrictions in terms of what percentage of delivery that could perform.
Potential applicants as well as constituents and/or agencies opposed to cannabis storefront retail have participated in public comment at one or more Board of Supervisor hearings, community meetings held in July 2020 community meetings, through two surveys, emails and letters, and through communications to County staff with questions and comments.
If an applicant obtains a land use, or coastal development permit, to operate a cannabis storefront retail business that business will remain permitted as a cannabis storefront retailer until there is some sort of change of use. However, the business will be required to obtain and maintain both a County business license and a State license in order to operate.
The 750-foot buffer will be determined in accordance with the provisions in the applicable County zoning ordinance. Currently, measurements will be from the property line of the lot that the sensitive receptor is located on to the premise for the cannabis operation, as measured in a straight line without regard to intervening structures. There will be no cannabis retail storefront licenses issued within 750 feet of a sensitive receptor's property line.
The property line is the outer boundary of the legal lot and the premise is the state license area where the cannabis operations can occur. A premise may or may not be the same as the property line. For reference, a premise area is defined in the LUDC as the designated structure or structures and land specified in the state application that is owned, leased, or otherwise held under the control of the applicant where the commercial cannabis activity will be or is conducted. The premise shall be a contiguous area and shall only be occupied by one state license.

The 750-foot perimeter depicts the requirements in the Santa Barbara County Land Use and Development Code as follows:

"The cannabis operation shall not be located within 750 feet from a school providing instruction in kindergarten or any grades one through 12, day care center, or youth center. The distance specified in this section shall be the horizontal distance measured in a straight line from the property line of the lot on which the sensitive receptor is located to the premise, without regard to intervening structures."

The purpose of the map is for informational purposes only as it relates to planning and development and not intended to depict any and all restrictions or regulations that may apply to specific uses or activities that may occur.

The LUDC does not specifically define a youth facility as a sensitive receptor. The language in the LUDC that prohibits cannabis storefront retail in a 750-foot buffer area reads as follows: "The cannabis operation shall not be located within 750 feet from a school providing instruction in kindergarten or any grades one through 12, day care center, or youth center."
There are multiple factors that are considered when Planning and Development reviews land use applications, and the process varies depending on the application type, zoning district, and many other factors. The land uses in the vicinity of a project site are always reviewed, but each project is evaluated on a case by case basis.
Currently, a school bus stop is not considered a sensitive receptor based on the County's cannabis regulations. Sensitive receptors, as defined by the County cannabis regulations, are K-12 schools, daycare center, and youth centers. Bus stops would not classify under this definition.
The County Land Use and Development Code and Article II-Coastal Zoning Ordinance, adopted by the Board of Supervisors, implemented a 750-foot buffer which prohibits cannabis operations, including cannabis storefront retail, from being located within 750 feet of a school providing instruction in kindergarten or any grades one through 12, day care centers, or youth centers. These ordinances also include a 600-foot buffer for nursery-only cannabis operations. State law allows local jurisdictions to adopt different radius for buffers and more information on the implementation of the County's cannabis regulations, including hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors can be found on the County's cannabis website at http://cannabis.countyofsb.org.

Retail Application FAQs

Parking requirements are addressed in the County's zoning ordinances. Please see the following links for applicable requirements: Land Use and Development Code Article II Coastal Zoning Ordinance
No, the County's Business License Ordinance (Chapter 50) defines a "person" as an individual, firm, partnership, joint venture, association, corporation, limited liability company, estate, trust, business trust, receiver, syndicate, cooperative, collective, or any other group or combination acting as a unit and includes the plural as well as the singular number. Furthermore, Chapter 50 states that "If more than one application is received for a given operation location, all applications will be returned to the property owner to indicate which application is in the one authorized to operate at the proposed location. If the property owner fails to timely respond to the County, no application(s) will be accepted for the location."

Only one application will be accepted for a given street address, and if multiple units exist at the stated street address, a unique suite number must be identified for each application submitted.

If selected to apply for a land use entitlement and business license, applicants may not make significant changes to information, proposals, goals, the Business Operations or Neighborhood Compatibility Plans submitted as part of the selection process. Any proposed modifications will be reviewed by County staff on a case-by-case basis and a determination will be made regarding whether the proposed modification is acceptable, or not.

Margins, on all sides of the document, shall equal no less than one inch.

The Business Operations Proposal and Neighborhood Compatibility Scoresheet will be assessed and scored separately. The scoring sheets for the two components can be found here:
Neighborhood Compatibility Scoresheet
Business Operations Proposal Scoresheet

Yes, all pages of the application, including all attachments (A1-19 and B1-6), must be submitted. While all nine pages of the application must be submitted, pages 1-2 will not count towards the 150-page limit.ANSWER

Any submitted Lease Agreements and/or Labor Peace Agreements will be counted towards the 150-page limit. As these can be lengthy documents, applicants only need to submit the relevant pages of these documents to show that they are valid, legally binding and relevant to the proposed project.

Applicants may submit the full Lease Agreement, or the relevant portions of the Lease Agreement that prove the applicant is in a current and legally binding contract to operate a cannabis business at the proposed location. This includes pages of the agreement with the applicants' name(s), the proposed location, term of the lease, and signatures of both the lessee and lessor. This is in addition to completing the Authority to Operate form in attachment A18.

Similar to the Lease Agreement, the applicant may provide the full Labor Peace Agreement, or the relevant portions of the Labor Peace Agreement that prove a current and legally binding agreement is in place for the proposed cannabis retail operation, or an affidavit that a Labor Peace Agreement is in place or will be in place in the applicable timeframe, or other documentation proving that negotiation for Labor Peace Agreement has commenced, etc.

Applications must be submitted electronically through a Box account that will be established on the County's cannabis website ( cannabis.countyofsb.org/retail.sbc) for the duration of the submittal period. The complete application with all attachments (A1-19 and B1-6) should be submitted together in a single folder (i.e. a zip file). Within that folder, as outlined in the application, individual attachments should be named according to the naming convention outlined in that section.

Section A3 asks specifically about an applicant's cannabis experience in Santa Barbara County, and therefore, the highest scores will be given to applicants with significant experience with licensed cannabis operations within Santa Barbara County. Section A2 asks applicants to detail their experience with cannabis operations at the State and National levels. Please review the business operations proposal scoresheet and required Attachments A2 and A3 for more details: Business Operations Proposal Scoresheet

As Supply Chain Support is discussed in section A12, the mention of it in section A10 will be removed. The updated version of the application will be available on the County's cannabis website on 10/27/20.

The County's definition of Supply Chain Support is: all components of the supply chain, i.e. nursery operations, cultivators, distributors, manufacturing, testing. The supply chain begins with cannabis seeds, ends with the final sale to the consumer, and encompasses all steps in between. This does not deal with local employment goals, which are addressed in section A10.

A representative list with top products in each category will be accepted. However, each category of products proposed to be sold must be included in section A1. The updated version of the application will be available on the County's cannabis website on 10/27/20.

The Business Operations Proposal and Neighborhood Compatibility Plan are the two key components of the Cannabis Storefront Retail Selection Application and will be assessed and scored separately. The 150-page limit applies to the application package as a whole, which includes the application form, the Business Operations Proposal and Neighborhood Compatibility Plan.

The forms posted as part of the Cannabis Storefront Retail Selection Application on the County's cannabis website must be used by applicants as part of their application package submittal. Applicants must use each form, and may attach graphic design elements or images within those forms or on additional pages.

The County Code allows for up to 6 storefront retail cannabis locations based on community plan area as follows: "To avoid excessive concentration of storefront retail operations within the County, a maximum of one storefront retail operation may be allowed in each of six community plan areas: 1) Orcutt, 2) Los Alamos, 3) Santa Ynez, 4) Eastern Goleta Valley, 5) Isla Vista/Goleta, and a combined 6) Summerland & Toro Canyon…" (Santa Barbara County Code § 50-7.) While there are not specific distance requirements included in the County Code between "dispensaries" all cannabis operations will need to comply with State law including, but not limited to Business and Professions Code section 26051(c). For additional requirements, please reference the County's zoning ordinances available at the following link: Land Use and Development Code Article II Coastal Zoning Ordinance

All forms provided by the County must be included in the submitted application for it to be considered complete. If any form exceeds one page or requires attachments, please add pages as necessary and number them appropriately. For example, Form A1: "A1 - Proposed Activities and Products", the applicant would attach the County-provided form, which is pre-numbered. If the narrative requires an additional page, the applicant may attach an additional page, which must be numbered as page 2, as follows: "A1-2", so that both the form number and page number is clearly identified. The next page would be "A1-3", etc. Please be mindful that the overall application page limit is established at 150 pages and will be strictly enforced. Each attachment should be clearly identifiable and should conform to the file naming convention detailed within the application.

Please note we have updated the form to allow for the inclusion of images. Regardless any images may be included either in the form or as attachment.

Yes, all County forms are required, regardless of the submittal method.

The process for scoring applications is included in County Code section 50-7 and outlined in the Business Operations Proposal and Neighborhood Compatibility Plan Scoresheets. Required Forms A1 through A17 corresponds sequentially with the 17 scoring criteria of the Business Operations Proposal. Forms A18 and A19 support the overall application and are required to be submitted in order to constitute a complete application. Failure to submit these forms will result in the application being deemed incomplete. Please see the scoring sheets located at the following links:
Neighborhood Compatibility Scoresheet
Business Operations Proposal Scoresheet

The Neighborhood Compatibility Plan will be scored and the applications ranked according to the scoresheet that was approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Applications that successfully comply with the County's submittal standards and that comply with the preliminary zoning and permitting standards will be considered accepted applications. A list of accepted applications, by business name listed on the application, will be posted on the County's website. At the conclusion of the application review and scoring process, the County Executive Office will post the Preliminary Ranked Storefront Retail List of all scored and ranked accepted and qualified applications by each community plan area. Any accepted application will have five (5) business days after the posting of a List on the County's website to file a written scoring protest with the County Executive Office. Following the resolution of any protest, the County Executive Office will create and post on the County's website the Final Ranked Storefront Retail List for each community plan area.

Community engagement meetings for each designated community plan area were hosted by County staff in July 2020 to obtain the community's input on criteria to be included in the Neighborhood Compatibility Proposal. Each top-ranked applicant in each of the six community plan areas that is identified through the application selection process may submit an application to the Planning & Development Department to obtain a land use entitlement. The public may participate in the land use entitlement process, as they would for any other development.

To the extent possible, all documents must comply with the application requirement of no less than a 12 point font. The County will only accept font less than 12 point on any exhibits originating from other sources and submitted to substantiate adherence to any application requirements, including, but not limited to bank statements, financial statements, lease agreements, site plans, etc. Pictures, renderings, and images may be included in the application materials as long as the total application page limit does not exceed 150 pages.

Applicants may submit more than one retail storefront application for the same community plan area. However, only one application will be accepted for a given street address, and if multiple units exist at the stated street address, a unique suite number must be identified for each application submitted. If more than one application is received for a given operation location, all applications will be returned to the property owner to indicate which application is the one authorized to operate at the proposed location. If the property owner fails to timely respond to the County, no application(s) will be accepted for the location.

A list of proposed activities and products must be provided in Section A1- Proposed activities and Products. This list must also be provided in Section A15 – Inventory Control Plan, however, in Section A15 the applicant must also address elements such as, how the applicant will receive shipments, store inventory, perform inventory reconciliation (including reconciling on-hand inventory with track and trace database), prevent theft or diversion, etc. The updated version of the application will be available on the County's cannabis website on 10/27/20.

To the extent possible, all documents must comply with the application requirement of no less than a 12 point font. The County will only accept font less than 12 point on any exhibits originating from other sources and submitted to substantiate adherence to any application requirements, including, but not limited to bank statements, financial statements, lease agreements, site plans, etc.

As part of the initial review of submitted applications, the Planning & Development Department will review each application to determine whether each applicant's cannabis operation site preliminarily meets zoning and permitting standards (i.e. that the location for the proposed operation is allowable in the zone and is within one of the six designated community plan areas, that the location meets all setback requirements, etc.).

The application submittal period remains unchanged and will run from 8AM on 11/2/20 through 5PM on 11/9/20 (Pacific Standard Time). The only modifications to the application are being made as a result of FAQS received.

All County forms provided must be used. If additional pages are necessary, the applicant may include additional pages as appropriate, but must comply with the overall application page limit, font requirements, page numbering requirements, margin requirements, and any file naming conventions stated within the application itself. If additional pages are necessary, the applicant may use another blank PDF.

Graphic design elements may be used on all attachments submitted. This may include, but is not limited to company logos, graphs, diagrams, etc.

Applicants may submit text or images as necessary to address the County's requirements.

Applicants must use each County-provided form. If additional pages are necessary to address a requirement, applicants may attach additional PDF pages. The County-provided form and any additional pages provided by the applicant are considered attachments to the application and are included in the page count. Applicants may include graphic design elements within any attachment. All pages submitted will count toward the 150 page limit.

To form a California corporation, you file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State and pay the appropriate filing fee. Articles of Incorporation formally and legally create your corporation in the state. Once this formation document is processed, you will be able to conduct business in California.

California Certificate of Good Standing is an official certificate of status issued by the California Secretary of State that confirms authorization of corporations, LLC or LLP to undertake business within the state and further confirm that the corporation has fulfilled all annual reporting and tax payment duties the state has imposed. In the course of business you may be asked by another entity such as a bank, lending institution or business partner to provide them with a certificate good standing to show that your business is duly registered within the State and has complied with all required reporting and law.

All applicants must complete and submit the County-provided form titled "A-18 – Authority to Operate" and if the applicant is currently engaged in a lease of a proposed retail storefront location that is the subject of the application, must also include the full Lease Agreement, or the relevant portions of the Lease Agreement that prove the applicant is in a current and legally binding contract to operate a cannabis business at the proposed location. This includes pages of the agreement with the applicants' name(s), the proposed location, term of the lease, and signatures of both the lessee and lessor.

Conduction of background checks via Live Scan are not a requirement of the retail storefront selection process. However, the top-ranked applicant in each of the six community plan areas that are identified through the retail selection process must later apply for a cannabis business license. The County's cannabis business license ordinance and application process requires background checks conducted via Live Scan for all owners, managers, supervisors and persons having at least a 20% financial interest

The reference to "community plan area standards" in the County-provided form titled "B3 – Community Involvement Plan" refers to the County's development standards in each of the community plan areas. Please see the following link to view each applicable community plan: Community Plan Areas webpage