How to Start a Marijuana Cultivation Operation in California

In California, over $200 million dollars worth of cannabis sold in just the first two months of legalization. Imagine just getting .05 percent of that market, that would make you a millionaire in a year! It’s an exciting time for people interested in entering the cannabis industry.

The marijuana industry is the new gold rush or as some call it the “Green Rush”. Money doesn’t grow on trees but hey marijuana definitely does. While growing cannabis can make you a lot of money, getting into the industry is not as easy. Luckily, we’ve broken down the steps you need to start your own marijuana cultivation operation. Full disclaimer: It’s highly suggested that you hire an attorney or specialized licensing consultant to assist you.

California Cannabis Operation License Requirements

Licensing is the most important yet troublesome part of this process. While marijuana is now legal for recreational use, it is still heavily regulated. The fees and licenses needed are a turn off for most people. But if you have the drive and passion, you can make it happen.

Licenses vary by county, city and state. Luckily in California, there is a very helpful government site that gives details on all of the licenses you need, and will even answer your questions! We’ve put together a list of all the regulations for you.

View List of California Cannabis Regulations.

Marijuana Cultivation Space

If you are going to be growing marijuana, you’ll need a place to do it! You can go with an indoor operation, or go with an outdoor and greenhouse operation. However, the hard part is not picking out a location. The hard part is getting approval from the landlord to use his property as a growing operation. In addition to finding a landlord that is willing to allow cannabis cultivation your location must be properly zoned and fall under the specifications put forth by the Bureau of Cannabis Control. 

Unless you own your own land, you will either rent space or get a loan. However, many lenders won’t do business with those in the marijuana industry due to the fact that it’s still considered a schedule 1 narcotic. The industry still has a ways to go but more and more people or becoming open to it.

Cultivation Supplies

Every good grower needs good supplies. Depending on the size of your operation, this could be the most expensive aspect of running a marijuana based business. You will need everything from seeds and good soil, to lights, temperature gauges, watering supplies, and more.

And for harvesting, you’ll need tools to trim the buds and get it ready for market. If you are planning on running a large operation, be sure you have enough supplies to make it happen! 

Financial Investment

Any business requires capital to get off the ground, or in this case: out of the ground. All businesses need to do this, but in the marijuana industry you need to have a large investment as you will not have a product to sell for months. It takes months to grow plants, and along the way you still have to pay bills, supplier fees, and employees if you have them. Most growing operations will need all the help they can get to get their product to market.

In addition to the actual cultivation, your by-product must be sent to a lab for testing and with the limited facilities available at the moment, there will certainly be a line. The payoffs in the industry are great, but getting there is the tough part. If you do things right, you could be the next ganjapreneur!

Joe Cason has been working in the cannabis industry for over 4 years. In that time he has written hundreds of articles and has worked for some of the largest cannabis publications in the country, including High Times Magazine. He currently works as a CBD activist and lobbyist in Tennessee, as well as a freelance web designer.

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