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Can you launch a cannabis business with a criminal record?

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2022 | legal marijuana

California’s cannabis industry is growing at a rapid pace. And with the legalization of recreational marijuana, the industry can only be expected to get a lot bigger. The business opportunities may be vast, but there is a snag: obtaining the license to set up a marijuana business in California is never easy.

One of the questions most people ask is whether they can set up a cannabis business in California if they have a criminal record. Well, the simple answer to this question is: it depends. Basically, the specifics of your case as well as the nature of your conviction will weigh heavily on your eligibility to start and operate a cannabis business in California.

What you need to know about California state law cannabis business

California’s Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) is responsible for reviewing applications and issuing commercial cannabis licenses. However, the DCC can deny an application if you or any of your business partners have a criminal conviction that substantially relates to the qualifications, duties and functions of the business for which you are making the application. Some of the criminal convictions that can stand in your way while seeking a cannabis business license in California include a felony conviction that involves violence, fraud, embezzlement, deceit, drug trafficking or child abuse.

Some exceptions may apply

The DCC can overlook your criminal record and grant you a license if it determines that allowing you to operate a marijuana business would not compromise public safety in any way. If you are anticipating questions regarding your eligibility, you might consider accompanying your license application with the following documentation:

  • Supporting evidence of rehabilitation such as an official certificate of rehabilitation that is recognized by the state of California
  • Letter of reference from previous employers, counselors or instructors

A previous criminal conviction should never prevent you from pursuing your dreams. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests while applying for a commercial cannabis license in California.