RFP for Cannabis Business Operating Permit for Retail Dispensary

To download the full RFP as a PDF, please click here(PDF, 3MB) .


    The City of Alameda may issue a limited number of cannabis retail dispensary permits through this Request for Proposals (RFP) process.  The RFP process may result in selected applicants securing eligibility to apply for a retail dispensary Cannabis Business Operator’s Permits (CBOP) with a condition of mandatory delivery.

    In order to apply for and be eligible to receive a CBOP, the applicant must have control over a physical location outside of designated cannabis buffer zones for sensitive uses. Receiving an award to apply for a CBOP does not constitute an entitlement approval. All applicants whose proposals are accepted must thereafter submit a CBOP application and apply for and receive a land use permit, State license, and other applicable regulatory approvals.

    The RFP process will be in two parts as described herein.  Applicants responding to the RFP are required to:

  • Submit a Letter of Intent (LOI), along with the required fee; and
  • A proposal if applicant meets the minimum requirements of the LOI.

    Applicants who are applying for more than one permit must meet each of the foregoing requirements for each proposed location.



      Alameda, California is known as the Island City and is often referred to as the “Jewel by the Bay.” This unique community of approximately 78,614 residents in the San Francisco Bay Area is connected to the East Bay mainland by four bridges and two subterranean tubes, and by ferry service to San Francisco. The Oakland International Airport/FedEx Bay Area hub is seven miles away from downtown Alameda and less than 15 minutes by car from Alameda’s major business parks. The City is centrally located near main transportation arteries. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) stations are minutes away by bus, shuttle, or car. The AC Transit Transbay bus line to San Francisco runs every weekday in 15 to 30 minutes intervals during commute hours.


      The community is proud of its history and small-town charm, with an abundance of tree-lined streets, two main streets, two business parks, working and recreational marinas, good public schools in safe and walkable neighborhoods, well-maintained historic districts, and many innovative and acclaimed companies. Businesses such as Penumbra, Peet’s Coffee & Tea roasting facility, Exelixis, Abbott Diabetes Care and Saildrone are located here. Alameda is also home to the College of Alameda and is in close proximity to the University of California, Berkeley and California State University, East Bay.

      For population and other general information about the City, please see the “At A Glance” brochure (Attachment 1).



On November 7, 2017, City Council adopted its first local regulations by ordinance, allowing commercial cannabis activities in Alameda.  These local regulations became effective January 18, 2018. Later, the City Council created and expanded the cannabis zoning districts; amended the cannabis ordinances to refine definitions; allowed testing, manufacturing and cultivation businesses to apply for permits on a first-come-first-serve basis; allowed “Adult Use” (recreational cannabis); and increased the number of retail dispensaries from two to four and required two dispensaries to provide delivery services as part of the CBOP.

As part of the commercial cannabis regulatory framework, implementing regulations were promulgated (see Attachment 2).

The City is issuing this RFP for retail dispensary businesses only (other cannabis businesses including manufacturing, testing labs, and nursery cultivation can apply directly for a CBOP and use permit).



The City reserves the right to alter the following schedule as necessary:

RFP Issued

Monday, April 22, 2019

Written Questions from Applicants due

Monday, May 6, 2019

Submit LOI and documentation, and $900 LOI review fee due

Monday, May 13, 2019 at 4:00 PM

Letter Issued to Qualified Applicants Moving Forward to Proposal Phase

Monday, May 20, 2019

Answers to Written Questions Issued

Monday, May 20, 2019

Application and $4,400 fee due

Monday, June 10, 2019 at 4:00 PM

Initial Review

Week of June 10, 2019



Announcement of Selected Applicants and Letters Issued to Successful Applicants



  1. Process

The City will have a two-part process for conditionally awarding the right to apply for CBOPs for retail dispensaries. To ensure compliance with local cannabis regulations (“delivery-required”), each applicant for the three (3) available permits subject to this RFP must be prepared to provide delivery, as part of the operations.

A retail dispensary permit is required for all activities for which State law requires a “Type 10,” or similar license, for the sale of Cannabis or Cannabis Products at a location open to the public.

All applicants responding to the RFP must timely submit the following (Late submittals will be returned to the applicant unopened):

  • An LOI in the format outlined in Attachment 3. (All hand-delivered LOIs must be made by appointment.)
  • A $900 fee, by check, cashier’s check or money order to cover the cost of staff review of the LOI.  Credit or debit cards will not be accepted.
  • Evidence of a secured location for the proposed cannabis business as described below.
  • Evidence that the proposed cannabis business location is outside of the buffer zone for sensitive uses, as described below. By submitting an LOI, applicants acknowledge that it is their sole burden to conduct adequate due diligence to produce sufficient evidence of buffer zone compliance.

Applicants failing to submit the foregoing items will be eliminated from the RFP process. Applicants satisfying the submittal requirements will be listed on the City’s website.

Concerning the competitive portion of this RFP process, applicants with evaluation scores of 75% (60 points) or better will proceed to an oral interview (see below). Following the oral interviews, the top-rated applicants, subject to the number of available permits at the time, will receive notice informing them of the right to apply for a CBOP. Such applicants must apply for a CBOP within 120 days of receipt of the notice. Once the number of available permits has been reached, the remaining qualified applicants will be placed on a waiting list that will be valid for two years from the date of the notice. If an applicant has the right to apply for a CBOP fails to secure all of the required entitlements within the proposed schedule or within one year from the date of the conditional award letter, whichever is sooner, the next applicant on the waiting list will have the opportunity to apply for a CBOP. The City Manager may extend this one-year time deadline for “good cause,” as that term is defined in the regulatory ordinance.


To download the full RFP as a PDF, please click here(PDF, 3MB).