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How to Apply for a Cannabis License Part 3 - Public Hearings

Updated: Oct 6, 2021


This article is the third of our five part series on the most important aspects of applying for a cannabis license.


All applicants will face a public hearing or hearings during the application process. The local governing body calling the meeting will issue public notice that the application is on the agenda for approval on a specific date. The cannabis business application is often discussed and evaluated in the public forum and members of the public may comment on the proceedings.

  • The first public hearing is likely to be at the planning commission, which will either recommend that the application move on to the city council for approval based on planning staff’s recommendations, recommend changes to the application, or deny the application. The applicant will be able to formally present their case to planning commission and members of the public will be able to voice questions, concerns, or support. The commission may ask both the applicant and planning staff questions related to the application.

Expert Tip: Making a good public impression is part of the process, applicants should have a solid understanding of the community where they are applying, the content of their application and be ready to provide well articulated answers to any questions or issues raised by members of the public.

  • If the application is recommended for approval, the applicant will make a case in front of the local legislative body such as a city council or board of supervisors, the public will be allowed to speak against or in favor of the application.

Expert Tip: Some of the most common questions at public meetings pertain to nuisance issues such odor control and security measures against exposure or sale to minors. Do your homework, study the community and be prepared to tackle sensitive issues in a confident manner.

  • If the application is approved, the applicant will be issued permits to conditionally begin buildout and operations. If it’s denied, the applicant can let that decision rest or appeal it.

Next article - Building Permits.


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