In 2017, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance allowing limited mixed-light (greenhouse) commercial cannabis cultivation, including nursery cultivation, in the unincorporated areas of the County with a County license. The Board prohibited the issuance of any other commercial cannabis licenses, such as retail sales.  Lawful delivery to a customer within the unincorporated area, with a valid State license, is not prohibited, but physical locations for delivery services may not be located within the unincorporated area.

The County will only issue licenses in areas designated “agriculture” by the County General Plan, or on land with documented agricultural use for at least three prior years. Potential locations must satisfy all of the eligibility requirements of the County’s commercial cannabis ordinance, including setbacks from certain sensitive sites.

The ordinance includes comprehensive application requirements, including plans to address odor control and ventilation, noise, lighting, hazardous materials, and to preserve any non-cannabis commercial agricultural production. Failure to comply with the ordinance will result in fines and the possible suspension or revocation of the licensee’s right to engage in commercial cultivation activities within the unincorporated County.

View the County ordinance

License Application

The Planning and Building Department is responsible for issuing commercial cannabis licenses. Prior to license application processing, any building/structures and land shall be free of any violations of State and local standards, including, without limitation, County building and land use regulations, County health and safety standards, and applicable fire standards.

The following is an overview of the application process for a commercial cannabis activity license in the unincorporated San Mateo County area. Applications for a license must be submitted electronically.

STEP 1. Confirm that the parcel on which you wish to establish cultivation operations is in the unincorporated San Mateo County area and potentially qualifies for a license (e.g., property setbacks). See the Potential Locations for Commercial Cannabis Cultivation in Unincorporated SMC Maps to determine if the parcel is designated “Agriculture” in the County's General Plan and view the 600-foot Protected Sites Buffer. (Please note that the 600-foot buffer from residentially-designated parcels does not apply to nursery operations.) However, these maps are not exhaustive and are for estimation purposes only. You will need to ensure the parcel fully qualifies under the cannabis ordinance.

STEP 2. Download the Application Checklist and begin gathering information.

STEP 3. Download and complete the application forms: Application Form, Banking Information, Business Owner Details, Investments, Loan Information, GiftsOther Licensing Information, Acknowledgment Form and Indemnification Agreement.  As part of the Application Form, you will be required to gather and prepare all required additional documents (e.g., surety bond) and plans (e.g., fire plan, waste management plan). The Department has prepared a Property Improvement Plan Requirements Checklist for your use. 

STEP 4. Request permission to electronically submit your application, documents, and plans to the County’s secured Microsoft OneDrive site by completing the Request to Submit Commercial Cannabis Activity License ApplicationOnce you submit the request and receive a confirmation email, you will have 14 calendar days to upload all forms and plans.

Upon complete submittal to the secured OneDrive site, the County will review and provide comments to the applicant. The Planning and Building Department will notify the applicant of any deficiencies. You will have 30 calendar days to address these deficiencies, questions, or comments and upload revised documents to OneDrive. Failure to respond within 30 days will result in the license application being deemed abandoned.

County review of your application may result in required site improvements subject to separate permitting process(es) and fees in order to comply with land use, building code, and health and safety requirements.

County Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance

County Cannabis Ordinance

See Adopted Amendments

Commercial Cannabis Activity License Application Forms and Supporting Documents

Commercial Cannabis Activity License Application Checklist

Commercial Cannabis Activity License Application Process

Commercial Cannabis Activity License Application

Commercial Cannabis Activity License: Business Owner Details

Commercial Cannabis Activity License: Investments

Commercial Cannabis Activity License: Loan Information

Commercial Cannabis Activity License: Gifts

Commercial Cannabis Activity License: Other Licensing Information

Commercial Cannabis Activity License Property Improvement Plan Requirements

Commercial Cannabis Activity License: Banking Information

Commercial Cannabis Activity License Acknowledgement Form

Commercial Cannabis Activity License Indemnification Agreement

Request to Submit for Commercial Cannabis Activity License Application

License Fee Information

The Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution authorizing the following fee schedule for cannabis licenses: 

  • Commercial Cannabis Cultivation License fee of $6,574
  • Commercial Cannabis Cultivation License Renewal/Amendment fee of $1,643
  • Commercial Cannabis Cultivation License Termination of Operations fee of $200

Proposed License Fees – Memo for 5/22/18 Board of Supervisors Meeting

Proposed License Fees – Resolution

Submitted Cannabis License Applications

The County has received the following applications for commercial cannabis activity licenses:

Case Number:  MNA2018-00022
Applicant:  Half Moon Grow, Inc.
Project Location: 37 Frenchman’s Creek Road, HMB
Application Date: October 3, 2018
Proposed CEQA Document (Revised)

Case Number: MNA2018-00028
Applicant:  CaliDutch, Inc.
Project Location: 4525 Cloverdale Road, Pescadero
Application Date: December 3, 2018
Proposed CEQA Document

Case Number: MNA2018-00029
Applicant: KloneCo, Inc.
Project Location: 4525 Cloverdale Road, Pescadero
Application Date: December 3, 2018
Proposed CEQA Document

Case Number: MNA2018-00030
Applicant: ONO Associates, LLC
Project Location: 4525 Cloverdale Road, Pescadero
Application Date: December 3, 2018
Proposed CEQA Document


For questions or comments about the licensing process, please contact:

More Information
  • SMC [Cannabis] Decoded - Initiative to educate youth and young adults about the facts on cannabis use.
  • Agricultural Designated Lands - View on the County GIS application. (Note: The GIS application  is in the process of being updated with the County's reduced (600 ft.) buffers.
  • CalCannabis - State agency licensing and regulating commercial cannabis cultivators in California.