City Solicits Proposals for Cannabis Ventures


The City of Alameda has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to potential business leaders seeking permits to start a cannabis-related business in the city. The RFPs for a Cannabis Business Operating Permit were issued Monday, April 23. The 30-page document includes the evaluation criteria for the proposal and the timeline for which the city will issue the permits. 

A letter of intent to have the city review a proposal must be submitted by Monday, May 14. The city will notify the prospective business owner if their letter of intent was approved and can submit a proposal by Monday, May 21. The official proposal is due by Monday, June 11. Interviews with proposers will take place the week of June 25. The city will issue the permits to the winning proposals during the week of July 9.

The city will issue seven permits. One permit for nursery cultivation, four for manufacturing and two for retail dispensary. A nursery is the location for agricultural products used specifically for the planting, propagation and cultivation of cannabis. Manufacturers conduct the preparation for marijuana products to be sold including packaging and the extraction of cannabis for the use of edible marijuana products. Distribution permits may be granted along with nursery cultivation and manufacturing permits. Delivery permits may be granted with medicinal dispensary permits. 

According to the RFP, proposers must submit a $1,000 fee deposit with their letter of intent. They also must have a location in place that meets the city’s buffer zone requirements. Cannabis businesses engaging in retail or cultivation must be located at least 1,000 feet away from schools and day care centers. All other cannabis businesses must be 600 feet from a school. 

According to the RFP, the proposal must include, among other things, a statement explaining the business’ understanding and approach to running the proposed cannabis-related business and the proposed schedule to open the establishment, including design review, signage approval and issuance of building permits. 

Each proposal will be evaluated on an 80-point scale. Proposers must score at least 60 points on the evaluation to make it to the interview phase. The criteria for the evaluation includes, among other things, the financial resources committed to the business, the operational knowledge of running a cannabis-related business, the safety protocols the business will put in place, the percentage of Alamedans the business proposes to hire, the business owner’s community involvement history in Alameda and more. 

On Nov. 7, 2017, City Council adopted the Cannabis Businesses ordinance. This ordinance became effective Dec. 21, 2017. On Dec. 19, 2017, the City Council adopted an ordinance to amend the Alameda Municipal Code repealing the prohibition on cannabis business activities and specifying the zones where certain types of cannabis businesses may locate. This ordinance became effective Jan. 18.

The proposals will be initially examined by the Alameda Community Development Department.