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  • What is the Adult Use of Marijuna Act(AUMA)?

    On November 8, 2016, California voters approved the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Cannabis Act (AUMA). The AUMA legalized the possession, use, and cultivation of non-medical cannabis for those who are 21 years of age or older and established a state system to regulate commercial cannabis activity.

  • What is the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA)?

    On June 27, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 94 (the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA)), which repealed the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA), incorporated certain licensing provisions from MCRSA, and created a single regulatory scheme for both medical and non-medical cannabis.

  • What is the legal age for cannabis use?

    Persons 21 years of age or older are permitted to possess and use non-medical cannabis. Persons 18 years of age or older with a doctor’s recommendation are permitted to possess and use medical cannabis.

  • How much cannabis can a person legally possess?

    Persons over 21 years of age are allowed to possess, transport, purchase, obtain or give away up to 28.5 grams non-concentrated or 8 grams of concentrated non-medical cannabis.

  • Is smoking allowed in public spaces?

    No, smoking of marijuana is not allowed in public places (except where authorized locally).

  • Is there a limitation on the number of cannabis plants that can be cultivated within a single residence?

    Persons over 21 years of age are allowed to cultivate up to six (6) marijuana plants within a private residence, inclusive of within a greenhouse or other structure on the same parcel of the property that is not visible from a public space.  A residence includes single-family homes, multi-family apartment units and mobile homes.


  • When will cannabis businesses operate in the City of South San Francisco?

    The City’s Finance Department will begin accepting Cannabis Operator’s Permit Applications no earlier than May 15, 2018.

  • What cannabis businesses are allowed in the City of South San Francisco?

    These cannabis uses are ALLOWED upon obtaining the necessary approvals from the City and the State:

    • Indoor Personal Cultivation in residential zoning districts (No formal City approval is required for indoor personal cultivation);
    • Manufacturing;
    • Testing;
    • Distribution;
    • Indoor Commercial Cultivation; and
    • Delivery-only businesses.


  • What zoning districts allow for permitted uses of cannabis?

    The permitted uses, excluding Indoor Personal Cultivation, shall only be located in the following districts, east of US-101. Not all uses are permitted in each of these zoning districts, please verify with land use maps and the City’s Planning Division:


    • Business Commercial Zoning District (BC);
    • Business Technology Park Zoning District (BTP);
    • Bay West Cove Specific Plan District (BWCSPD);
    • Gateway Specific Plan District (GSPD);
    • Mixed Industrial Zoning District (MI); and
    • Oyster Point Specific Plan District (OPSD).


  • I am concerned about cannabis deliveries in my neighborhood. What type of safeguards are in place to regulate cannabis deliveries in South San Francisco?

    Commercial delivery of cannabis to a fixed address within City limits is permitted throughout the City except at the following locations: schools, day care centers, youth centers, public parks and open space, public buildings, and eating or drinking establishments. All deliveries must be to a fixed address. Delivery-only cannabis businesses can only be located east of Highway 101 in the following zoning districts: Business Commercial (BC), Business Technology Park (BTP), and Mixed Industrial (MI) and delivery vehicles may not have any signage indicating the nature of their business.

  • What are the regulations for cannabis operations?

    The following performance standards will apply to all cannabis operations:

    1. Conditional Use Permit application and approval by the Planning Commission;
    2. Locational requirements:
      1. Sites must be located in the approved zoning districts; and
      2. Sites must be located a minimum of 600 feet from residential uses, schools, day care centers and youth centers;
    3. Operator’s Permit approval as set forth in Section 20.410.009 of the Zoning Ordinance;
    4. Operational Requirements, which vary by type of business but will typically require:
      1. Compliance with State Law;
      2. Visibility limitations;
      3. Odor Control;
      4. Volatile solvent control system;
      5. On-site Quality Control personnel;
      6. Security and Fire Safety Plan; and
      7. Operating Agreement with the City of South San Francisco.
    5. Security Requirements as set forth in Section 20.410.010 of the Zoning Ordinance


  • What permits do I need to start a cannabis business and how do I obtain them?

    Anyone interested in operating a cannabis business should first review the following:

    1. Operator’s Permit Application – Finance Department
    2. Zoning Map indicating locations where Cannabis operation is Conditionally Permitted
    3. Conditional Use Permit Application – Planning Division


    After reviewing the above information, the applicant shall submit the following:

    1. Application to the Finance Department for an Operator Permit pursuant to Section 20.410.009 of the Zoning Ordinance.


      The purpose of requiring an initial application for a regulatory permit is to ensure an applicant is qualified under the City’s standards related to prior criminal convictions and has obtained preliminary authorization from a property owner to pursue City approvals for a cannabis operation at a qualifying location. If the application meets the minimum qualifications and satisfies the application requirements outlined in Section 20.410.009(E) of the Zoning Ordinance, then the application obtains “pre-clearance” to submit a Conditional Use Permit application to the Planning Division. The approval for an Operator Permit is valid for one year. An Operator Permit would also be subject to a revocation procedure conducted by the Chief Planner. Potential causes for initiation of a revocation procedure could include, but not be limited to, the following:

      • Failure to maintain a valid Operator Permit
      • Failure to comply with any condition of operation or condition of approval
      • Causing a public nuisance


    2. Application to the Planning Division for a Conditional Use Permit pursuant to Section 20.490.004 of the Zoning Ordinance.

    The Conditional Use Permit is a discretionary approval to operate the commercial cannabis use at a particular location. The Planning Commission’s review of a Conditional Use Permit application will be guided by the findings in Chapter 20.490 of the Zoning Ordinance. The decision of the Planning Commission on the Conditional Use Permit application is appealable to the City Council, as is the case with all Conditional Use Permit decisions.

  • What are the fees to operate a cannabis business?

    The applicant will pay the following fees, based on the current Master Fee Schedule:

    1. Cannabis Operator Permit Application - $7,528 non-refundable

    2. Cannabis Operator Permit - $15,274 per business (annual fee)

    3. Cannabis Business Inspection - $360 per inspection

    4. Conditional Use Permit - $4,244 per business

    5. City Attorney Review Fees - $5,000 per Conditional Use Permit Application

    6. Environmental Processing and Legal Noticing Fees – TBD based on application


  • How can I stay informed?

    Updates will be posted to South San Francisco’s Cannabis webpage. For any other questions or concerns, please contact the Planning Division at (650) 877-8535.