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Environmental Health

Medical Cannabis Dispensary Program

San Francisco Health Code Article 33

Guide to the Code and Rules & Regulations

The following pages describe elements of SFHC Article 33 Code, Rules & Regulations and Standard Operating Procedures:

<Application>   <Permit Decision>   <General Operation>   <Edibles>   <Delivery>

In the event of any discrepancy or conflict between what is described on this page, language in the Code and/or adopted MCD Rules and Rules for Edibles) take precedent.


1. Permit Application

Project Applicant must submit the following required elements to SFDPH to apply for a permit to operate an MCD:



• SFDPH Application Form for a Permit to Operate an MCD

• Written Statement of Compliance

• Workers' Compensation Declaration Referral Forms

• Planning Referral form

• Fire Marshall Referral Form

• Mayor's Office on Disability Referral Form

• Criminal background check form



• Non-refundable fee as shown in the SFDPH schedule of fees.



• Proof of Project Applicant's individual status as a medical cannabis patient or caregiver, using either a valid doctor's recommendation or a valid CA State Medical Cannabis ID card.

• Photocopies of Project Applicant's government issued identification such as state driver's license, state ID, or passport. These will be used to confirm identity and age of Project Applicant.

• Records and any other information demonstrating that the dispensary is jointly owned and operated by its members as a non profit.

• Articles of incorporation, collective or cooperative agreement and membership forms for the MCD

• Business registration certificate

• Board of Equalization Seller's Permit

• If the property/premises where the MCD operations will be conducted is leased, a copy of the lease agreement must be submitted. This agreement must show that the property owner knows the intended use of the proposed operations at that location and gives consent for the building/land to be leased for this purpose. The Project Applicant and at least one Background Cleared Manager shall be included in, and signatories of the agreement. The agreement shall be recorded.


Additional Property Information:

• 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.

• 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.

• Written statement regarding any food preparation or sales on the premises


2. SFDPH Permit Decision Process

If required, the Project Applicant must complete the Planning Department's MCD application packet and schedule a hearing before the Planning Commission.

The Director shall fix a time and place for a public hearing on the application, which date shall be after the Director's receipt of the written approvals from the Department of City Planning, the Fire Department, the Mayor's Office of Disability, and the Department of Building Inspection, and no more than 45 days after all approvals are received.

No fewer than 10 days before the date of the hearing, the permit applicant shall cause to be posted a notice of such hearing in a conspicuous place on the property at which the proposed medical cannabis dispensary is to be operated.

In determining whether to approve or deny a Permit, the Director shall consider capacity, capitalization, and complaint history of the Project Applicant and any other factors necessary to the peace and order and welfare of the public.

SFHC Article 33, Section 3307 requires the Director to deny a permit if the Director finds:

  (1) That the applicant has provided materially false documents or testimony; or

  (2) That the applicant has not complied fully with the provisions of this Article; or

  (3) That the operation as proposed by the applicant, if permitted, would not have complied will all applicable laws, including, but not limited to, the Building, Planning, Housing, Police, Fire, and Health Codes of the City, including the provisions of this Article and regulations issued by the Director pursuant to this Article; or

  (4) That the permit applicant or any other person who will be engaged in the management of the medical cannabis dispensary has been convicted of a violent felony as defined in Penal Code section 667.5(c) within the State of California or a crime that would have constituted a violent felony as defined in Penal Code section 667.5(c) if committed within the State of California. However, the Director may issue a medical cannabis dispensary provisional permit to any individual convicted of such a crime if the Director finds that the conviction occurred at least five years prior to the date of the permit application or more than three years have passed from the date of the termination of a penalty for such conviction to the date of the permit application and, that no subsequent felony convictions of any nature have occurred; or

  (5) That a permit for the operation of a medical cannabis dispensary, which permit had been issued to the applicant or to any other person who will be engaged in the management of the medical cannabis dispensary, has been revoked, unless more than five years have passed from the date of the revocation to the date of the application; or

  (6) That the City has revoked a permit for the operation of a business in the City which permit had been issued to the applicant or to any other person who will be engaged in the management of the medical cannabis dispensary unless more than five years have passed from the date of the application to the date of the revocation.

If SFDPH approval is granted, a provisional or final 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