Cannabis Business Information
In furtherance of the City's status as a center of innovative businesses, the City has adopted Ordinances and regulations to support the growth and development of the burgeoning cannabis industry in Emeryville.
This page contains links and information relevant to all cannabis businesses interested in locating in Emeryville. Potential operators are encouraged to review all the following documents.
Cannabis Business Permitting Information
Manufacturing, Distribution, Delivery, Testing
Businesses that manufacture, distribute, process, store, test, label, transport, research and development, or deliver cannabis or cannabis products are permitted in all of the areas highlighted on the map below. These businesses require a Conditional Use Permit, Operator’s Permit and State permit prior to commencement of operations. There is no maximum number of available permits specified in the City’s ordinance, and there are no minimum setbacks from sensitive uses. Conditional Use Permits are administered by the Planning Division of the Community Development Department, and issued by the Planning Commission. Operator’s Permits are administered and issued by the Police Department.
Storefront Retail (Dispensary)
Businesses that sell cannabis or cannabis products to the end user from a storefront location (i.e. storefront retail cannabis) are permitted in the areas indicated in the map below. Such businesses require a Conditional Use Permit, Operator’s Permit and State permit prior to commencement of operations, but storefront retail operators are first selected through the competitive process described in more detail, below.
Request for Qualifications for Storefront Dispensary Operator
On September 5, 2017, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 17-135, establishing regulations relating to Operator’s Permits for storefront retail cannabis. The regulations specify that the City Council may deem one or more businesses “qualified to obtain an Operator’s Permit” after issuing a Request for Qualifications (RFQ). Also on September 5, 2017, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 17-136, which authorized the issuance of the RFQ for an Operator’s Permit for a storefront retail cannabis business.
On September 6, 2017, City staff issued the RFQ approved by the City Council. The City received seven submittals in response to the RFQ. A panel comprised of City staff members reviewed and evaluated the submittals, and recommended the top four scored firms to the City Council.
On November 21, 2017, the City Council adopted resolutions deeming two of the four recommended firms as qualified to obtain an Operator’s Permit for storefront retail cannabis: Resolution No. 17-178 for Rochambeau Inc.; and Resolution No. 17-179 for East Bay Therapeutics.
On February 22, 2018 Rochambeau Inc. received approval of a conditional Use Permit to operate a dispensary at 3996 San Pablo Ave. On April 26 2018 East Bay Therapeutics received approval of Conditional Use Permit to operate a dispensary at 5745 Peladaeu St. The community benefits proposed by the selected operators in their RFQ submittals are secured through the conditions of approval placed on the Operator’s Permits.
Links to the RFQ, staff reports and resolutions are provided in the “Staff Reports/Background” section below.
To date, the City Council has not directed staff to initiate an RFQ process for any additional storefront retail cannabis operators.
Commercial cannabis cultivation businesses are not permitted in Emeryville.
Revised Planning Regulations for Cannabis-Related Activities, Ordinance 20-021
Original Planning Regulations for Cannabis-Related Activities, Ordinance 17-002
Operator Permit Requirements for Cannabis Businesses, Ordinance 17-003
City Council Staff Report September 1, 2020 revising the Planning Regulations to expand the areas in which cannabis businesses may be conditionally permitted, and reducing buffer zones for storefront retail uses.
City Council Staff Report November 21, 2017 authorizing the Police Chief to issue cannabis dispensary/retailer permit for storefront dispensaries to Rochambeau, Inc. and East Bay Therapeutics.
City Council Staff Report September 5, 2017, authorizing release of a Request For Qualifications for Storefront Dispensary Operator
City Council Staff Report July 25, 2017, study session regarding Request For Qualifications for Dispensary Operator, selection process and cannabis taxation
City Council Staff Report April 4, 2017, second reading of Ordinance 17-002 (planning regulations for Cannabis-related activities) and Ordinance 17-003 (Operator permit requirements for Cannabis businesses)
City Council Staff Report March 21, 2017, first reading of Ordinance 17-002 (planning regulations for Cannabis-related activities) and Ordinance 17-003 (Operator permit requirements for Cannabis businesses)
City Council Staff Report February 7, 2017, study session regarding regulation of Cannabis
Planning Commission Staff Report December 8, 2016, consider amendments to planning regulations for Cannabis-related activities
Cannabis Business Taxes
Emeryville has cannabis tax rates that are very competitive relative to nearly all other California Cities. The Emeryville City Council placed a Commercial Cannabis Business Tax on the November 6, 2018 ballot, known as "Measure S". Measure S was approved by a majority of Emeryville voters, and it imposes an ongoing tax on cannabis businesses of up to 6% on gross receipts for cannabis businesses operating in the city. Cannabis taxes in Emeryville cannot exceed 6% of gross receipts unless approved by the Emeryville voters.
On October 30, 2018 the City Council adopted Resolution No. 18-154, which established the following tax rates for cannabis businesses:
|Business Type||Tax Rate|
|Testing||1% of gross receipts; with tax from gross receipts from testing of products produced in, or distributed from, Emeryville subject to rebate to testing businesses|
|Distribution||1% of gross receipts|
|Manufacturing||2% of gross receipts|
|Delivery||3% of gross receipts|
|Storefront Retail||3% of gross receipts|
These tax rates are competitive with other local jurisdictions in the San Francisco Bay Area and statewide, as the City seeks to encourage the development of the cannabis industry while securing much-needed revenues to support local services.
If you are interested in locating in Emeryville, or have any questions regarding this information, please contact:
For economic development/taxation/site selection/Request For Qualifications questions: Chadrick Smalley, Economic Development and Housing Manager, 510-596-4355 firstname.lastname@example.org
For land use/zoning technical issues or process questions: Miroo Desai, Senior Planner, 510-596-3785 email@example.com