Alameda, California began the process of approving three retail cannabis dispensaries on April 23, 2019.
The first step is to submit a Letter of Intent and pay a fee of $900. Here’s what prospective applicants need to know about applying for a retail dispensary permit in Alameda.
Steps to Getting a Business Permit in Alameda
The city’s schedule for issuing cannabis business permits in Alameda is proposed as follows:
- May 13, 2019 at 4:00PM: Submit LOI and documentation, and $900 LOI review fee due
- May 20, 2019: Letter Issued to Qualified Applicants Moving Forward to Proposal Phase
- May 20, 2019: Answers to Written Questions Issued
- June 10, 2019 at 4:00PM: Application and $4,400 fee due
- Week of June 10, 2019: Initial Review
- TBD: Interviews
- TBD: Announcement of Selected Applicants and Letters Issued to Successful Applicants
To begin the process, interested applicants should submit a Letter of Intent following the format provided in Attachment 3 of the RFP. Note that the LOI requires evidence of a lease, purchase agreement, or other evidence that you have secured a location for your dispensary. The location must comply with the city’s zoning regulations.
RFP and Cannabis Dispensary Application
Once you submit the dispensary LOI, and have shown that your premises meets the city’s conditions, you will be invited to submit a full proposal. Applicants who are qualified to proceed with a full proposal will be listed on the city’s website by May 20.
Full proposals require a $4,400 application fee. The following sections must be addressed in your cannabis dispensary application:
- Evidence of Secured Location for the Cannabis Business. Alameda is very specific as to what they consider “evidence” and we suggest you read the RFP very carefully to make sure you meet this requirement before going any further.
- Statement Confirming that the Cannabis Business Location is Outside of Buffer Zone for Sensitive Uses. Again, this is a very specific zoning requirement that you must read and understand even during the LOI process. Without the properly zoned location, your application will not be accepted by the city.
- Statement of Qualifications. This section covers the business owner’s qualifications, background in the industry, and expertise of your team in running similar businesses. Use the resumes of your ownership team to show your ability to run a cannabis dispensary and work history.
- Proposal Implementation. Give the city detailed descriptions and background information for other cannabis business owners on your team. Discuss the financial resources you have at your disposal to implement your business plan. This section is a maximum of 500 words and kept confidential.
- Understanding and Approach. Describe your approach to running a cannabis retail dispensary and how you will integrate your business into the the community in which it is located. (500 word maximum)
- Local Hire Program/Local Ownership/Community Benefit (optional). The city has made this section optional, but we strongly recommend submitting a community benefits plan.
- Schedule. Alameda asks that you provide a sample timeline that includes dates for the following:
- Design review, if applicable
- Signage approval, if applicable
- Issuance of State license(s)
- Land Use permit
- Issuance of CBOP (Cannabis Business Operator’s Permits)
- Issuance of Building permit
- Issuance of other regulatory permits (e.g., EBMUD discharge permit, etc.)
- Completion of construction
- Opening and commencement of operations
This application will be scored on a points system with a maximum number of 80 points total (see the RFP for details). You must score 60 points or higher to be invited to an oral interview. Oral interviews will further score applicants to apply for the CBOP (Cannabis Business Operator’s Permits), which must be completed within 120 days of receiving approval. One the number of available permits have been filled, other qualified applicants will be placed on a waiting list for up to two years.
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