Welcome to our guide on how to search for a cannabis license in California for the year 2023. Given the regulated nature of the cannabis industry, having a valid license is not only a legal requirement but also a sign of credibility for businesses. This article aims to guide you through the process of searching for and verifying cannabis licenses in California.

The Regulatory Bodies:

Three primary agencies oversee cannabis licensing in California:

  • California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA): Manages cultivation licenses.
  • Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC): Regulates retail, distribution, and testing.
  • California Department of Public Health (CDPH): Oversees manufacturing of cannabis products.

Types of Licenses:

  • Retailer Licenses: For storefronts and delivery services.
  • Distributor Licenses: For intermediaries between cultivators, manufacturers, and retailers.
  • Manufacturer Licenses: For producing cannabis products like edibles and concentrates.
  • Cultivation Licenses: For growing cannabis plants.

How to Search for a License:

  • Online Databases: Websites like the BCC’s license search are reliable sources.
  • Physical Checks: Licenses should be prominently displayed in physical locations.
  • Verifying License Numbers: Always cross-reference the number with official databases.

Here are the steps on how to search using Online Databases.

Step 1. Go to and click search for a License.

You Can Search By

  • With an already obtained License Number / Address
  • Retailers Near Me (by location)
  • Advanced Search

Step 2. Place the license number on the field (if you have it) and press enter or click search

*If no license number you may follow the steps below;

By Location

Step 1. Click Find Retailers Near Me

Step 2. Enter the address you want to look into (depending on your location or target location)

Step 3. Hover your mouse over to the location(with Numbers) and it will list the location on the right part of your screen

Step 4. Click the location you want

To Export Data into a Spreadsheet

Step 1. Click Advanced Search

Step 2. Select the License type you want to export

Step 3. Select the License Status you want to export and hit Submit

Step 4. Click Export (Depending on your preference, you can choose for all data or only available(selected columns)

Step 5. Select your Option (Visible Data includes what’s shown in the dashboard, all data is for all pages listed). The file type that will be downloaded will be a CSV/Excel file.

Why Searching For a License is Important

For Already Licensed Business Owners:

In order to find customers and clients, the website search navigation offers businesses to ensure they are buying and selling with actively licensed operations, with the latest up to date status live on the site.

For Not Yet Licensed Business Owners:

To apply for a license, you’ll need to go through a thorough application process both at the city and state level, that includes background checks, business plans, and various fees. Each agency has its requirements listed on their respective websites.

For Consumers:

It’s essential to ensure that you are buying from a licensed retailer to guarantee product safety. If you encounter an unlicensed operator, you can report them through official channels like the BCC’s complaint form.


Ensuring that a cannabis business is licensed is crucial for the integrity and safety of the industry. Both consumers and business owners have a role to play in maintaining this standard. Therefore, familiarizing yourself with how to search for and verify licenses is a valuable skill to have.

References and Resources:


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