Status of Medicinal Cannabis Retail and Light Manufacturing in Santa Monica

January 3, 2018

Status of Medicinal Cannabis Retail and Light Manufacturing in Santa Monica

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – As of January 1, 2018, cannabis is now legal in California; on October 10, 2017, the Santa Monica City Council approved a process to select two medicinal cannabis retailers as well as light manufacturing of medicinal cannabis products in select locations. Council also approved an Interim Zoning Ordinance to bring Santa Monica zoning for cannabis businesses into alignment with State of California law. The ordinance prohibits commercial adult-use activities; however, this prohibition is considered temporary. Here's a progress report since October:

Two Medicinal Cannabis Retailers

  • The Request for Applications for the two medicinal retailers envisioned in the Zoning Ordinance is now open through February 28, 2018.
  • The Evaluation Committee comprised of City and non-City staff will be finalized at the end of this month.
  • The three possible areas for the two retailers are:
    1. Wilshire Blvd. between Lincoln Blvd. and Centinela Ave.
    2. Santa Monica Blvd. between Lincoln Blvd. and 20th St.
    3. Santa Monica Blvd. between 23rd St. and Centinela Ave.
  • The applications and all information related to commercial cannabis permitting and licensing is posted to

Light Manufacturing

  • Light manufacturing of medicinal products like cannabis-based lotions or edibles without a retail storefront are approved through an Interim Zoning Ordinance in the Industrial Conservation zone or, with a conditional use permit, the Office Campus (OC) zone.
  • The State of California began issuing commercial cannabis licenses last month with priority given to existing businesses. This will likely delay the opening of light manufacturing businesses in Santa Monica until no earlier than spring 2018.

"As the State has continued to build the regulatory environment for the legal cannabis industry in California, Santa Monica is on track with two medicinal cannabis retail businesses anticipated to open by the fall," said Salvador Valles, Assistant Director of Planning & Community Development at the City of Santa Monica.  

Commercial adult-use activities remains explicitly prohibited in Santa Monica to allow time for the City to assess the experience of other communities and to evaluate whether to initiate a community process to consider licensing adult-use commercial activities in the future.

Visit for more information. Community questions regarding cannabis in Santa Monica can be sent to

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