Costa Mesa Applications Opening Very Soon – Let’s Work Together to Submit Yours!

Costa Mesa will be one of the only cities in Orange County with adult-use cannabis available and therefore these licenses will be highly sought after. Get started on your application here.

In this article, we will break down some of the most common questions you may have about getting into the valuable Costa Mesa cannabis real estate market. Please request support at the end if you have more questions for our compliance team!

UPDATE: Costa Mesa delayed the opening of its application period until July 1st at the earliest.


Costa Mesa Cannabis Regulations History

Costa Mesa’s path to adult-use cannabis legalization began when residents voted in the November 2020 election to tax and permit adult-use cannabis businesses in the city.  Since the results of the election have come in, city staff have been hard at work developing final rules and regulations for cannabis in Costa Mesa. They have been working together with residents, industry experts, and cannabis advocates.

After months of work and several different drafts of zoning regulations, city council introduced a finalized cannabis ordinance during their April 20th city council meeting.  During their May 4th meeting, city council officially signed the ordinance into law, and it will go into effect one month later on June 4th, at which point the application period will open up.

Read more to see the details of applying for a cannabis license in Costa Mesa:


When is the Costa Mesa Application Period?

UPDATE: Costa Mesa delayed the opening of its application period until July 1st at the earliest.


What Types of Cannabis Uses are Allowed in Costa Mesa?

Costa Mesa will allow the following medical and adult-use cannabis uses in the city:

  • Storefront Retail (Dispensary)
  • Non-Storefront Retail (Delivery)
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution
  • Testing


What are the Cannabis Tax Rates In Costa Mesa?

  • Distribution, volatile and nonvolatile manufacturing, and research will be taxed at 1%  of gross receipts.
  • Retail and Delivery will be taxed at 7% of gross receipts


Where in Costa Mesa Can You Open A Cannabis Business?

  • The premises of retail storefront uses may be permitted in the commercial zones only;
  • Non-storefront ( delivery) uses may be permitted in both the commercial zones and in the Green Zone only.
  • Manufacturing, Testing and Distribution may be permitted in the Green Zone only

The ” Green Zone” means those portions of the manufacturing park (MP) and planned development industrial (PDI) zones that are located both north of South Coast Drive and west of Harbor Boulevard, excluding any portion of the South Coast Collection.


Are There Caps on Cannabis Businesses in Costa Mesa?

No, Costa Mesa will not have any caps on the number of any license types in the city.

Zoning restrictions however, only leave a small number of properties compliant and viable for cannabis uses.  Tracking down a perfect location ahead of the application process will be vital to securing a valuable Costa Mesa cannabis permit.


Will Costa Mesa Have Benefits for Social Equity Applicants?

During the April 20th city council meeting in which the cannabis ordinance was introduced, city council directed city staff to begin developing a social equity program for the city.  At this point we don’t know the specifics of what the city’s social equity program will entail, but we can make some educated guesses based on what other cities in California have done before them.

Typically cities will offer benefits to applicants who come from traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds, especially those from communities that have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.  Some of these typical benefits are; bonus points on applications, reserved licenses for social equity applicants, waiving of application and filing fees, and in some rare cases, grant funding.

We will update you as soon as possible when we know the specifics of what benefits Social Equity candidates will receive in Costa Mesa.


How Do I Enter the Costa Mesa Cannabis Market?

With Costa Mesa’s application window fast approaching, finding a viable property and navigating the complex application process can seem like a daunting task, but CREC’s experienced cannabis professionals are here to help. Do not try to go it alone, it will costly and lower your chance of success.


Costa Mesa Cannabis Application Support

Contact our Compliance and Brokerage Divisions to help you find the perfect location for your cannabis business in Costa Mesa. Work with our cannabis compliance team to guide you through the application process and submit a winning opportunity!  Contact us for our expert cannabis application support in Costa Mesa.

Get Started Here:

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