Commercial Cannabis in Riverside County 

Over the last several years, California voters and the state legislature created a legal framework to enable the cannabis industry to move into a regulated commercial market. In response to these changes, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted to initiate the process to establish potential ordinances to create a comprehensive local program to permit and regulate medical and adult-use cannabis businesses and cannabis activities. On October 23, 2018, the Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance establishing the permitting process and regulations for commercial cannabis operations. This webpage serves as central location for the multi-department implementation of the County’s Cannabis Program.

Quick Facts About Cannabis in Riverside County

   -   Ordinance No. 348.4898 establishes the permitting process and regulations for commerical cannabis operations and became effective December 23, 2018. However, the County is only responsible for permitting in the unincorporated County areas. Therefore, if you are located within an incorporated city, please contact that city to inquire about the city’s regulations. 
   -   As of December 26, 2018, the Riverside County Planning Department is accepting conditional use permit applications for commercial cannabis: testing, distribution, manufacturing, and wholesale nurseries ONLY.
   -   Applicants for commercial cannabis retail and cultivation uses must have participated in the proposal process by which the County seeked and evaluated proposals from interested parties. In the first year of implementation of the ordinance, the County was accepting and processing up to 50 cultivation and 19 retail conditional use applications, as selected via the proposal process. This process commenced with the submittal of pre-registration forms, which were due February 15, 2019. Submittal of the form on or before this date was required to move forward in the process. This process is now closed for first year implementation and subsequent years (until further notice).
   -   Commercial Cannabis regulations can be found in Article XIXh of Ordinance No. 348. Additional commercial cannabis documents may be found in the Documents & Reports webpage.
   -   All commercial cannabis conditional use permits issued by the County will require that a cannabis businesses obtain a state license prior to operating. More information on state licensing is available here.
   -   All commercial cannabis conditional use applications are required to be processed with a Development Agreement (negotiated with the County). Development Agreement base rate and processing fees will be determined by the BOS after the first of the year.
   -   For additional details, please review the Cannabis Applications flyer.
Applying for a Commercial Cannabis Conditional Use Permit (Testing, Manufacturing, Distribution, and Wholesale Nursery)
Every commercial cannabis activity requires an approved conditional use permit (CUP) and development agreement, at a minimum:
  • There is no special or unique CUP application that will be used to apply for a commercial cannabis activities. The existing CUP application (Form 295-1010, "Application for Land Use and Development") shall be used. CUP application forms and filing instructions can be found on the application webpage.
  • Fees for CUP applications can be found on the fee schedule webpage. Fees for commerical cannabis CUP applications are no different than CUP application fees for other conditional uses.
  • All commercial cannabis CUP applications will be processed with a development agreement that will be negotiated during the application process.
  • At this point, the County will only accept applications for commercial cannabis testing, manufacturing, distribution, and wholesale nurseries. Currently, applications for commerical cannabis retial, cultivation, and microbusiness are NOT being accepted. An request for proposal (RFP) process for these activities began early 2019 and is now closed.
For additional details, please review the Cannabis Applications flyer.
REGISTRATION FOR INDUSTRIAL HEMP CULTIVATION IS NOW AVAILABLE. All growers of industrial hemp for commercial purposes must register with the County Agricultural Commissioner prior to cultivation.  Any cultivation of industrial hemp without a valid registration is in violation of the law and subject to enforcement.  The fees and process for registration can be found on the Agricultural Commissioner's website.

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