4 Essential Considerations for Securing a Temporary Cannabis Event License in California

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Events that include retail sales and on-site consumption of cannabis aren’t just fun and games; these events also present an enormous financial opportunity for our clients. However, given the lengthy and extensive application process, we have compiled a list of the top 4 things to keep in mind for ensuring success in applying for a Temporary Cannabis Event license from the State of California:

(1) All Temporary Cannabis Event License Applicants Also Need To Have A Cannabis Event Organizer License.

First things first – Temporary Cannabis Event license applicants must have the appropriate licensure from the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC). To obtain a Temporary Cannabis Event license, the event organizer must be licensed as a Cannabis Event Organizer with the State prior to submitting their application.

Cannabis Event Organizer License

Cannabis events in California may only be held by an applicant with a Cannabis Event Organizer license. This license is specific to the requirements for on-site sales and consumption of cannabis goods.

This license is also specific to each applicant – meaning it cannot be transferred – whether the applicant is an individual or an entity. 

Along with the nonrefundable application fee of $1,000, as per §5014 of the BCC Regulations, the Cannabis Event Organizer license requires payment of a fee determined on the number of events the applicant will host annually:

  • 0 – 5 events annually ($3,000 license fee)
  • 6 – 10 events annually ($5,000 license fee)
  • 11 -20 events annually ($9,000 license fee)
  • Greater than 20 events annually ($20,000 license fee)

Temporary Cannabis Event License 

Once licensed as a Cannabis Event Organizer with the BCC, the licensee may apply for the Temporary Cannabis Event license, pursuant to §5601 of the BCC regulations. 
When submitting an application for a Temporary Cannabis Event, the applicant must be prepared to provide specific details of the event – including an event diagram, detailing the layout of the event and a list of all licensees that will be providing onsite cannabis sales to attendees.

(2) Applicants Must Draft A Precise Event Diagram for the Temporary Cannabis Event Application.

As noted above, applicants are required to provide a diagram of the physical layout of the event. §5601(h)(5) of the BCC regulations. The diagram must include: 

  • Where the cannabis event will be taking place 
  • All cannabis consumption areas
  • All retail areas where cannabis goods will be sold
  • The specific location of each cannabis licensee who will be participating in the event
  • All entrances/exits that will be used by participants during the event
  • The hours during which cannabis goods will be sold
  • All areas where cannabis goods will be stored
  • All areas where cannabis waste will be stored

The event diagram should not contain highlighting, and the markings on the diagram should be in black-and-white print. 

Accomplishing this important piece of the application can be demanding. Given that event planning requires continuous adaptation, coupled with the BCC’s 60-day application submittal deadline [§5601(e)], it is difficult to draft the event diagram to the specific categories without the proper guidance. 

(3) All Vendors Providing On-site Sales Of Cannabis Goods At The Event Must Be Individually Licensed With The BCC.

In order for a cannabis retailer to engage in cannabis sales at the event, the retailers must be individually licensed through the BCC for retail cannabis sales. 

The Temporary Cannabis Event License requires a list of all licensees and employees that will be providing on-site sales of cannabis goods and the event as per §5601(h)(10) of the BCC Regulations. On this list, the applicant must include:

(1) the licensed business name;
(2) the license number and expiration date; and
(3) a list of employees if the business is a retail vendor. 

If the list of licensees participating in the Temporary Cannabis Event changes, a final list must be submitted to the BCC no less than 72 hours before the event through the Notification and Request Form, BCC-LIC-027 (New 10/18), with an updated list AND an updated event diagram. 

(4) The Cannabis Event Must Take Place At A Venue Expressly Approved By Local Jurisdiction.

An earlier version of the §5601(f) of the BCC Regulations restricted Temporary Cannabis Events to county fairs or district agricultural association events.

However, in an effort to give local jurisdictions more freedom in designating where cannabis events may take place, §5601(f) of the BCC Regulations was amended in October 2018 to align with approved and filed Assembly Bill 2020, and now allows Temporary Cannabis Events to be hosted in any location approved by the locality.

A temporary cannabis event may only be held at a county fair event, district agricultural association event, or at another venue expressly approved by a local jurisdiction for the purpose of holding a temporary cannabis event. 

§5601(f), BCC Regulations

The Temporary Cannabis Event application requires written approval from the local jurisdiction authorizing the applicant to engage in on-site cannabis sales to, and on-site consumption by, persons 21 years of age or older at the event. This application requirement can be satisfied by receiving proper permitting from the locality in question. 

For example, please take a look at our recent post about the local permitting process for Temporary Cannabis Events in Oakland. 

Each locality that permits cannabis events has a different application process and requirements. If you need assistance navigating the Temporary Cannabis Event permitting process in your locality, please contact the Cannabis Permitting and Licensing Legal Team at Rogoway Law Group.

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