Cannabis Regulations

MAY 29, 2020 Informational update

Based on the City Council’s adoption of an ordinance amending the City’s Cannabis Regulations on May 26, the following licence types will be available on a first-come first-served basis starting June 25, 2020 (when the ordinance goes into effect):

  • Manufacturing (up to 5 licences, 2 of which have been issued to date)
  • Distribution Type 11 (up to 2 licenses)
  • Testing laboratories (no license limit)
  • Mircobusinesses without storefront retail (up to 4 licences [including those with storefront retail--maximum of 2, and non-storefront retail--maximum of 2])

Staff is currently in the process of drafting a guide to the application process and procedures for these first-come first-served license types. Based on the adopted ordinance, staff is also updating the cannabis license application form. Both of these documents will be posed to this webpage when completed (anticipated for the week of June 8-12).

Based on the Council’s direction at the May 26 meeting regarding the merit-based competitive selection process, the expected posting of the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the following types of cannabis businesses has been postponed:

  • Storefront retail (up to 3 businesses)
  • Non-storefront retail (up to 3 businesses)
  • Microbusinesses with storefront retail (up to 2 businesses)

The next step in this processes will be a City Council study session (anticipated for July, 2020). No applicant can apply for one of the three license types listed above, until after being selected through the competitive selection process. That process will begin when the RFP is posted (date yet to be determined).

Sensitive Use Map

Staff recently updated the map of known sensitive uses located within 1,000 feet of an area which would allow a commercial cannabis businesses. The linked map shows the known sensitive uses as of May, 2020. The required 250 foot buffer around those uses is also shown. Note that there may be additional sensitive uses not shown on this map; it is up to cannabis business applicants to confirm if there are any potential sensitive uses within 250 feet of a proposed location.

May 26, 2020 CITY COUNCIL MEETING (May 27 Update)

On May 26 the City Council considered two items related to Cannabis Regulations.

1. The Council completed the second reading of the cannabis Ordinance (3 Ayes [McGallian, Aliano, Birsan], 1 Noe [Obringer], 1 Absent [Hoffmeister]) -- see description of the ordinance in the April 28 summary. 

The ordinance will be effective in 30 days, and allow for applicants to apply for additional cannabis licenses and license types, not requiring competitive selection through the RFP proces(see item 2 below). The City is currently working on application procedures and a revised cannabis license application form for the following first-come first-served license types (check back for updates):

  • Manufacturing 
  • Testing Laboratories
  • Microbusinesses (without storefront retail)
  • Distribution Type 11

2. The Council also considered (A) a proposed procedure and criteria for a merit-based competitive process to review and select eligible applicants to apply for available City Cannabis Licenses for cannabis storefront retailers, non-storefront retailers, and microbusinesses with a storefront retail component; and (B) a resolution to adopt deposit fees for that process.

The Council adopted the deposit fee resolution (B), but requested additional details from staff and the Project Consultant regarding the procedure and criteria for a merit-based competitive process at a study session at a future date (not yet scheduled). This webpage will be updated with more details regarding the Council direction at a later date.

The Council direction for continuance of the merit-based competitive process procedure and criteria to a Council Study Session (date uncertain) impacts the timeline for release of Request for Proposals (RFP) for the following license types:

  • Retail Storefront
  • Retial non-storefront
  • Microbusinesses with storefront retail

See updated Tentative Schedule and Timeline below.

April 28, 2020 City Council meeting

At its regular meeting on April 28 the City Council adopted an Ordinance (3 Ayes [McGallian, Aliano, Birsan]: 2 Noes [Hoffmeister, Obringer]) amending Concord Municipal Code Chapter 5.80 (Cannabis) and Development Code (Title 18) to: allow adult-use City Cannabis Licenses for manufacturers and Type 13 distributors; increase the maximum number of City Cannabis Licenses for manufacturers, Type 13 distributors, and testing laboratories; and allow City Cannabis Licenses for retail (storefront and non-storefront), microbusinesses, and Type 11 distributors by reading of the title only and waiving further reading. A video recording of the meeting is available using the link below:

The action included: 

1) Modifications to the required buffer distance between cannabis businesses and sensitive uses (public or private schools, child day care facilities, youth community centers) from 600 feet to 250 feet.

The linked map shows the known sensitive uses as of December, 2019, within 1,000 feet of an area which would allow cannabis businesses once the ordinance is finalized. The 250 foot buffer around those uses is also shown. Note that there may be additional sensitive uses not shown on this map; it is up to cannabis business applicants to confirm if there are any potential sensitive uses within 250 feet of a proposed location. The list of sensitive uses is currently in the process of being updated. 

2) Modifications to allow additional microbusiness licenses (up to 4 total; up to 2 with a non-storefront retail component and up to 2 with a storefront retail component). All microbusinesses with storefront retail would be required to go  through a competitive selection process. 

Once the meeting minutes and amendments are finalized, they will be posted on this webpage.

Below is a summary of changes for various cannabis license types which would be allowable under certain circumstances at the time the Ordinance is effective (see revised timeline section below):

License Type*Current maximum # of licenses
Proposed maximum # of licenses
In overlay district only?
Competitive selection required?
Testing laboratory2No limitYesNo
Non-storefront retailerProhibited3YesYes
Storefront retailerProhibited3No, only allowable in DMX and WMX zoning districts.Yes
MicrobusinessProhibited4. (Up to 2 with a non-storefront retail component and up to 2 with a storefront retail component).YesYes, with a storefront retail component. No without.

Distributor Transport Only (Type 13)

Only with manufacturingOnly in conjunction with another cannabis license (pursuant to state law)Dependent on primary license.Dependent on primary license.

Distributor (Type 11)

Prohibited2 stand-alone distributor licensesYesNo

*All licenses are proposed to allow sale of adult-use and medicinal cannabis.

Update -revised timeline

Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) related to public gatherings, the tentative timeline for Concord’s cannabis regulations has been impacted.

Future meetings will likely be conducted remotely in the near-term, with public comment provided via email. For more information on remote public meeting procedures, please visit: 

For more information on Concord’s COVID-19 response generally, please visit:

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE (updated 5/27/20)

Following is the tentative schedule for developing potential cannabis regulations:

Tentative Date
February 5, 2020 (completed)Planning Commission meeting

(Development Code recommendation to Council
February 24, 2020 (completed)Policy Development & Internal Operations (PD&IO) Council Committee Special Meeting - agenda

(Consideration of RFP criteria and procedures)
April 28, 2020 (completed) 

City Council meeting

 (1st reading of Revised Cannabis Ordinance and Updated Development Code Ordinance)
May 26, 2020 (completed)

City Council meeting

 (2nd reading of both Ordinances)
May 26, 2020 (completed, item continued)

City Council meeting

(Review PD&IO Committee Recommendations for the RFP process)

June 25, 2020

Ordinances effective

July, 2020 (date uncertain)Council Study Session regarding RFP/Competitive Selection process
August (tentative)Release of RFP for retail storefront, non-storefront, and microbusiness with storefront retail

COUNCIL Committee MEETING SUMMARY, February 24, 2020

On February 24, 2020, the City Council Committee on Policy Development & Internal Operations (PD&IO) considered the process and criteria for reviewing and approving cannabis retailer license applications to form a recommendation to the City Council. The Committee provided detailed direction regarding aspects of the selection process and recommendations to the full Council for consideration at the March 24, 2020 City Council meeting (see linked annotated agenda below).

PD&IO Annotated Agenda, 2.24.2020

Planning Commission Meeting FEBRUARY 5, 2020

On February 5, 2020 the Planning Commission voted 4:0 (ayes: Laub, Mercurio, Barbour, Mizutani, absent: Weinmann) to adopt Resolution 20-01 PC, recommending City Council amend the Concord Development Code with text amendments to the land use tables (18.30-18.60), Commercial Cannabis Overlay District (18.110), Signs (18.180), Development Agreements (18.460),and General Terms (18.20), relating to commercial cannabis regulation. The recommended amendments to the Development Code are based on Council’s direction at the November 5, 2019 Council meeting. These regulations will be considered by the Council on March 24, 2020.

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes, February 5, 2020

Cannabis Regulations Council Meeting Summary, November 5, 2019

On November 5, 2019 the City Council considered an Ordinance amending Concord Municipal Code Chapter 5.80 (Cannabis Ordinance) to:

  • Add adult-use City Cannabis Licenses for manufacturing and distribution;
  • Increase the maximum number of City Cannabis Licenses for manufacturing;
  • Allow City Cannabis Licenses for medicinal and adult-use retail (storefront and non-storefront);
  • Allow City Cannabis Licenses for microbusinesses

The Ordinance was not introduced at the meeting, but a majority of the Council supported changes to the City’s cannabis regulations for consideration for adoption in the first quarter of 2020.

Cannabis Zoning Districts Map Opens in new window

This map shows both the Overlay District and the proposed zoning districts for storefront retail locations.

Pursuant to Concord’s cannabis regulations and state law, no cannabis license can be issued within a certain distance of a sensitive use. Sensitive uses include the following:

• Public or private schools.

• Child day care facility.

• Youth community centers.

The Council also directed staff to research the following issues for future consideration:

  • Update and map the list of sensitive uses to include uses that may be new or missing
  • Provide additional information regarding the stand-alone distribution license type
  • Provide information regarding how the City could potentially ban the sale of vaping products at retail cannabis businesses (storefront, non-storefront, and microbusinesses)
  • Provide details on retail cannabis regulations in neighboring Contra Costa County jurisdictions
  • Develop criteria for a merit-based Request for Proposal (RFP) process for consideration by the Council Committee on Policy Development & Internal Operations (PD&IO) for recommendation to the full Council

Historical  background Information

On November 8, 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64, the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), which made adult-use (recreational) cannabis use legal. This Act was in addition to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, and other previously approved State laws related to medicinal cannabis use. As a result, the State is developing regulations related to both medicinal and adult-use cannabis, and the State began issuing cannabis licenses on January 2, 2018. 


To determine what regulations should be developed here in the City of Concord and to preserve local control, the City Council engaged with the community and directed staff to evaluate cannabis-related activities. In order for the Council and the community to decide the type of uses appropriate here in Concord, and where, the City Council directed staff to prepare a ban on various uses. This ban would be in effect until cannabis-related activities can be evaluated and regulations developed that are consistent with the community’s desires. The City Council adopted the ban at its meeting on November 14, 2017.


On November 8, 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64, the AUMA, which legalized adult (recreational) cannabis use.

Effective November 9, 2016, the AUMA makes it legal for persons 21 years or older to:

  • Possess, plant, cultivate, harvest, dry, or process up to six living cannabis plants per legal dwelling unit for personal use;
  • Possess, process, transport, purchase, obtain, give away without compensation to persons 21 years or older 28.5 grams of cannabis or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis;
  • Smoke or ingest cannabis or cannabis products


The AUMA created a State regulatory and licensing system governing the commercial cultivation, testing, and distribution of adult-use cannabis, and the manufacturing of adult-use cannabis products.The AUMA permits local jurisdictions to regulate and/or ban adult-use marijuana, related to the following:

  • Cultivation
  • Distribution
  • Manufacturing
  • Micro-businesses
  • Retail stores (both storefront and non-storefront)
  • Testing laboratories


Consistent with State law, currently the City of Concord allows only the following uses:

  • Delivery of medicinal and adult-use cannabis from licensed cannabis retail businesses located outside of Concord (No City Cannabis License required, but City business license required);
  • Indoor cultivation of up to six cannabis plants per dwelling unit for personal use (medicinal and adult use) (No City Cannabis License required);
  • Medicinal and adult-use cannabis testing facilities;
  • Medicinal cannabis distributors (Two licenses granted; no further licenses currently available); and
  • Medicinal cannabis manufacturers (Two licenses granted; no further licenses currently available).


Permitted cannabis businesses require a City Cannabis License (PDF), land use approval, State Cannabis License, and City Business License. Once completed, call the Police Department Code Enforcement Division at (925) 671-3075 and schedule an appointment to submit the license application.


The City contracted with Godbe Research to conduct a statistically-valid survey related to various cannabis uses to better understand the community’s support or opposition to the types of uses and where they may be permitted. The survey results will assist the City Council and staff in developing policies, based on feedback that is representative of Concord’s demographics. The survey was conducted in late August 2017. The survey results (PDF) were presented to the public and the City Council at the October 24, 2017 City Council Meeting.

Between June 20 and July 19, 2019, the City issued a 10-question survey on potential commercial cannabis retail (storefront and non-storefront) and microbusinesses (small-scale cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, and/or retail) regulations. The City will consider the survey results when developing proposed regulations that will be presented to the City Council according to the schedule below.

Meetings / Topic

The City Council, Planning Commission, and Council Committee on Policy Development & Internal Operations have conducted meetings to consider policy direction related to cannabis uses. View the agenda and meetings for this topic, meeting videos and annotated agendas (action minutes) are also available.


Please contact the project manager: 

   Coleman Frick, Senior Planner

You can also email the Cannabis email account.