Cannabis Program

We've been hard at work creating a pilot medical cannabis licensing program in San Rafael.

Here is a quick review of where we have been:

Here is a quick review of where we are going:

  • March - May: developing pilot cannabis program application process
  • May 2018: Open Application Process (TBD)
    • Cannabis Testing Labs (State License Type 8): 4 licenses available 
    • Medical Infused Product Manufacturing MIPs (State License Type N): 8 licenses available, distributor-transport-only licenses also available as an ancillary support service.
    • Medical Non-storefront  Delivery (State License Type 9): 4 licenses available


New cannabis businesses

New businesses must:

  • get a City of San Rafael cannabis operator license (process development underway)
  • be located in a space that conforms with local zoning regulations and state law
  • get a license from the State of California

You can find the zoning designation of any property in San Rafael by visiting and entering the address. The zoning regulations allow the three types of cannabis uses established by pilot program in in certain zoning districts. See Exhibit A of the Attachment 1 in the zoning recommendations staff report to find what zoning districts the uses are allowed

The City has not started its licensing process.  We hope to begin the licensing process sometime in May 2018. For questions, please contact Danielle O'Leary, Economic Development Director: 

The California Cannabis Portal has information on State of California cannabis business licensing.

Permit and licensing fees

We’re still working out the license fees for cannabis businesses in San Rafael. California licensing fees are on the California Cannabis Portal.   

We are also preparing for the June 5, 2018, election for the  San Rafael Cannabis Industry Tax .

Further information


Cannabis for medical use

If you use cannabis to treat a medical condition, nothing will change regarding where you can buy and use cannabis. In 2018, some cannabis retailers may sell cannabis for adult use as well as medical use, but you will still be able to buy medical cannabis at the same stores.

California’s Let’s Talk Cannabis brochure on medicinal use cannabis has more information on getting a card.

Using cannabis in San Rafael

You cannot smoke, eat, vape, or otherwise use cannabis:

  • in public places, like parks and sidewalks
  • near schools or anywhere children are present (you can’t even possess cannabis at places like day care centers)
  • inside most buildings, like workplaces, restaurants and bars, entertainment venues, and the common areas of multi-unit housing
  • at outdoor public events like music festivals, street fairs and parades

Generally, you can’t smoke or vape cannabis in places where you can’t smoke tobacco.

Amount you can buy or carry

Adults can purchase and possess up to 1 ounce (28.5 grams) of cannabis and up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis. You can have up to 6 cannabis plants in your home, if the property owner allows.

You can only purchase adult-use cannabis from licensed retailers. It is illegal to buy cannabis from establishments or individuals who are not licensed to sell cannabis. Let’s Talk Cannabis has more information on what’s legal for adult-use cannabis in California.


Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal and you can be arrested, fined, and have your license suspended.

You cannot drive or ride in a vehicle with an open container of cannabis. Cannabis must be sealed or kept in the trunk.

Responsible Use

You must lock up cannabis products away of children and pets.

While a fatal overdose from the use of cannabis is unlikely, smoking or eating high concentrations of THC can affect your judgment, perception, and coordination, and may lead to injuries.

Cannabis at work

Employers can still:

  • have a drug and alcohol free workplace
  • require drug tests for employees
  • turn you down for a job because you use cannabis
  • fire you, demote you, or take other action against you for using cannabis

Growing cannabis-personal use

You can plant, harvest, dry, and process up to 6 cannabis plants in your private residence, or on the grounds of your residence, in a secured and enclosed accessory structure (greenhouse) that cannot be seen from public view, or is accessible to the public. 

California has more information on what’s legal for adult-use cannabis consumers. All commercial cultivation of cannabis is prohibited in San Rafael city limits.

More information

California’s Let’s Talk Cannabis page on responsible use suggests precautions to take when using cannabis.

California Department of Public Health has more information on what’s legal for growing, buying and giving away adult-use cannabis.

National Academies of Science and the National Institute on Drug Abuse have more information on health and cannabis use, including research on:

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