Cannabis Facilities


The City Council adopted the Medical Cannabis Facilities Ordinance No. 1352-17 (CM) on May 9, 2017, which went into effect on June 20, 2017, and is codified as Chapter 14-53 of the Watsonville Municipal Code (WMC). Subsequently, the City Council adopted an ordinance to amend WMC Chapter 14-53 to allow existing licensed cannabis cultivators and manufacturers to produce and sell cannabis for both the medical and adult-use markets. This amendment will go into effect on March 13, 2018. 

  • To access the Cannabis Facilities Ordinance, please click here

Accepting Manufacturing Applications

The Ordinance allows the establishment of up to nine (9) cannabis manufacturing facilities in Watsonville. In 2017, seven (7) facilities met the eligibility criteria and were issued permits. The application period will be reopened for the remaining two (2) spots on February 1, 2018 and close March 30, 2018. No new applications will be accepted after this time. 

Application Requirements


WMC Chapter 14-53 includes specific submittal requirements and application process that potential manufacturers must read before contacting the City. Applications may be submitted by appointment only during regular office hours. 

Application Procedure and Form


The Cannabis Facility application procedure and form are once again available online. 
  • To download the Cannabis Facility application procedure, please click here.
  • To download the Cannabis Facility application form, please click here.
  • A criminal background check must be included with the application for all owners, managers and employees. To download a request for Live Scan form, please click here.
  • A Zoning Verification Letter must be included with the application package.

Before You Apply


  • Review the information provided on this site to learn about the application process and which documents you will need.
  • Review State laws governing cannabis facilities.
  • Obtain a Zoning Verification letter.

Zoning Verification Letter 


All applicants are required to obtain a Zoning Verification Letter from the Community Development Department in City Hall, located at 250 Main Street in Watsonville, in order to ensure that the location proposal the applicant is applying for meets locational requirements prior to submitting their cannabis facility application. The review process typically takes approximately ten (10) working days and costs $155

Please note that City staff is not able to answer any questions about potential manufacturing locations without the formal submittal of a request for Zoning Verification, due to the level of review required to determine consistency with the Ordinance. 

In addition, please note the issuance of a Zoning Verification Letter does not mean the written evidence of permission given by the City of Watsonville or any of its officials to operate a cannabis facility, nor does it not mean “permit” within the meaning of the Permit Streamlining Act, nor does it constitute an entitlement under the Zoning or Building Code. A regulatory permit for the purpose of regulating a cannabis facility does not constitute a permit that runs with the land on which the facility is established. Request for Zoning Verification Letters require a written request from the Community Development Department and will not be completed over the counter since it may require additional research and review.

Potentially Eligible Sites

Potentially eligible sites for obtaining a regulatory permit to operate a cannabis facility must be within the Industrial Park (IP) or General Industrial (IG) Zoning District and outside the separation requirements listed in WMC Section 14-53.122.  An applicant or licensee may have one cultivation and one manufacturing site upon which cannabis is cultivated and/or manufactured in the City, if each site is permitted. To download a map showing potentially eligible cannabis facilities, click here.


Cannabis Cultivation


In 2016, the Watsonville City Council adopted Ordinance No. 1326-16 (CM) to regulate the establishment of cannabis cultivation facilities. The maximum number of six (6) permits have been approved, and no applications for new cultivation facilities are being accepted at this time.

Frequently Asked Questions


Answers to frequently asked questions can be found here.

Resources


California Cannabis Portal
California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation
California Department of Health | Division of Food, Drug, and Cannabis Safety
California Department of Food and Agriculture | Cannabis Cultivation Licensing Regulations
California Board of Equalization | Tax Guide for Medical Cannabis Businesses