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Environmental Health

Medical Cannabis Dispensary Program

The Medical Cannabis Dispensary (MCD) Program permits, regulates and inspects medical cannabis dispensaries in San Francisco. Medical cannabis collectives and cooperatives with nine or fewer members are exempt from local permit requirements.

Principal Activities and Services

  • Permit and regulate medical cannabis dispensaries in accordance with state and local laws
  • Inspect each permitted medical cannabis dispensary twice annually
  • Respond to complaints

How to Obtain a Permit

Required forms and fees needed to apply for a medical cannabis dispensary permit:
  1. Application packet for a permit to operate a medical cannabis dispensary (pdf) that includes:
    • - Application for Permit to Operate a MCD
    • - MCD Planning Referral form
    • - Written Statement of Compliance
    • - Fire Marshal Referral Form
    • - Workers' Compensation Declaration
    • - Mayor's Office on Disability Referral Form
  2. Criminal background check for owners/managers (pdf)- Bring completed form to service agent for processing.
  3. Registration Fee- Make your check or money order payable to the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH).
Additional Required Documentation:
  1. Photocopies of government issued identification for each applicant and manager. These may include a state driver's license, state ID, or passport. These will be used to confirm identity and age of applicants.
  2. A copy of your business registration certificate
  3. Seller's Permit
  4. Written description of existing or proposed security/lighting system for MCD. This should include a diagram on 8.5 by 11 inch paper of the facility with all security devices and lighting identified. Security devices include: motion detectors, alarms, video cameras, solid core doors, electric door openers, safes, exterior lighting, etc.
  5. Written description of proposed ventilation and whether smoking or vaporization of cannabis will be permitted on premise. Specifically include description of any existing carbon filtration systems for odor control.
  6. Written statement regarding any food preparation or sales on the premises
  7. Ownership information
    - Articles of incorporation
    - Collective or cooperative agreement
    - Membership forms
  8. Copy of owner's and manager's valid medical cannabis recommendation.

Overview of Standard Permitting Process For New Locations

  1. Confirm physical location meets Planning Dept. requirements for medical cannabis dispensaries. The Planning Information Center is at 1660 Mission Street, phone number 415-558-6377.  
  2. If preliminarily found to be acceptable by Planning, schedule a meeting to apply with SFDPH at 1390 Market St, Ste. 210 by calling 415-252-3841. Be sure to complete and bring all requirements outlined above in 'How to Obtain a Permit" and "Additional Required Documentation to Bring to Your Scheduled Appointment."
  3. SFDPH will send referrals to the Mayor’s Office on Disability, Planning and Fire departments.
  4. Visit the Department of Building Department Inspection (DBI) to file for a permit to establish a medical cannbis dispensary at your proposed location.
  5. Complete the Planning Dept. MCD application packet. Planning Dept. wil schedule the Planning Commission hearing.
  6. If approved by the Planning Commission, applicant will then submit full plans to DBI which will be routed to appropriate agencies (information regarding hearings is in the "Helpful Links" box).
  7. Submit plans to the Mayor's Office on Disability for their review regarding ADA compliance.
  8. Once plans are approved and construction is complete, applicant will contact SFDPH to schedule a hearing.
  9. If SFDPH approval is granted, a permit to operate is granted.



Making a Complaint

If you would like to make a complaint regarding MCD permits, you may call 311.

311 City Customer Service Agency - Service 24x7

San Francisco Department of Public Health Environmental Health Branch