How to Apply for and Obtain a Medical Cannabis Dispensary (MCD) Permit

Medical Cannabis Dispensary (MCD) Moratorium Update

On September 12, 2017, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a moratorium on new Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (MCDs). The moratorium prevents the Planning Commission from approving any new MCD for 45 calendar days, effective September 22, 2017. Please note that the moratorium does not apply to those whose application was scheduled to be heard by the Commission as of Monday, September 11, 2017.


Please be aware that the MCD map that was previously published on our website was created in 2005 as part of the initial legislation that created the City’s first regulations for MCDs.

Since then, changes to both the regulations themselves and the location of other involved land uses, such as schools and community centers, have had an impact on the locations where MCDs are allowed. Those changes were not reflected in the older map; therefore it has been removed from our website to avoid confusion.

For help on how to identify a potential site and best practices for applying for a MCD permit, please review our recommended checklist below. For the most accurate information on potential MCD locations, please contact our Planning Information Center at or 415-558-6377.

How to Apply for and Obtain an MCD Permit

  • Review the application and review process and requirements for a Medical Cannabis Dispensary (MCD) under the Planning Code and Section 3301(f) of the San Francisco Health Code. 
  • Once a potential site has been chosen, request a site specific map from a private mapping company (see below). The map should identify the subject property, a 1,000 foot radius surrounding the property, and all known schools, community facilities and recreations buildings located within that radius. NOTE: A public or private elementary or secondary school; or a community facility and/or a recreation center that primarily serves persons under 18 years of age are not allowed within a 1,000 foot radius of an MCD.
  • If unsure as to whether a use within the 1,000 foot radius will cause rejection of the application, it is suggested that you request a Letter of Determination (LOD) from the Planning Department to seek clarity regarding the use in question and its implication for the MCD application.
  • Once determined that the site is suitable for a new MCD, schedule a meeting to apply with the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) at 1390 Market St, Ste. 210 by calling 415-252-3993. Be sure to complete and bring all requirements listed on their website along with your completed application. SFDPH will send referrals to the Mayor’s Office on DisabilityPlanning and Fire departments.
  • Visit the Department of Building Department Inspection (DBI) located at 1660 Mission Street in San Francisco to submit a building permit to establish an MCD at your proposed location. Include the Planning Department MCD application as part of the building permit application. DBI will route this application to the Planning Department.    
  • The application will be assigned to Planning Department staff who will review the application and schedule it to appear before the Planning Commission at a public hearing for approval or disapproval.
  • Once plans are approved, the applicant will receive a notice from SFDPH regarding their upcoming hearing.
  • Upon approval, a permit to operate is issued.

Private Mapping Services

*This listing does not constitute an endorsement. Other professionals can also perform this work and can be added to this list upon request.

Build CADD
3515 Santiago Street
San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 759-8710

Javier Solorzano
3288 - 21st Street #49
San Francisco, CA 94110

Jerry Brown Designs
619 - 27th Street, Apt. A
Oakland, CA 94612
Barry Dunzer

Radius Services
1221 Harrison Street #18
San Francisco, CA 94103

Notice This

Ted Madison Drafting
P.O. Box 8102
Santa Rosa, CA 95407

Updated April 2016 / revised June 2016