Medical Cannabis Dispensary (MCD) Regulations for Preparation of Edible Cannabis Products

City and County of San Francisco


1. No edible cannabis products requiring refrigeration or hot-holding shall be manufactured for sale or distribution at an MCD, due to the potential for food-borne illness. Exemptions may be granted by the San Francisco Department of Public Health on a case-by-case basis. For such exempted edible cannabis products, DPH may require a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) plan before approving the distribution of such medical cannabis products at MCDs. Such products requiring a HACCP plan may include ice cream and other dairy products.

2. Baked medicinal products (i.e. brownies, bars, cookies, cakes), tinctures and other non-refrigerated type items are acceptable for manufacture and sale at MCDs.

 3. (Items noted in this section are advisory only, as DPH does not intend to regulate edible cannabis production occurring in one’s home.) Preparation may be completed in a home-type kitchen equipped with a sink available for hand washing (this sink may be a dishwash sink), liquid soap, and paper towels. No other food preparation should take place during the production of edible cannabis products, in order to avoid cross-contamination. During preparation, children and pets should not be in the kitchen/preparation area. Clean and sanitize all utensils, equipment, and food contact surfaces before and after preparation. Equipment and food contact surfaces should be in good, cleanable condition. Ingredient storage areas should be kept clean and vermin-free.

4. All items shall be individually wrapped at the original point of preparation. Labeling must include a warning if nuts or other known allergens are used, and must include the total weight (in ounces or grams) of cannabis in the package. A warning that the item is a medication and not a food must be distinctly and clearly legible on the front of the package. The package label must have a warning clearly legible emphasizing that the product is to be kept away from children. The label must also state that the product contains medical cannabis, and must specify the date of manufacture.

 5. Packaging that makes the product attractive to children or imitates candy is not allowed. Any edible cannabis product that is made to resemble a typical food product (i.e. brownie, cake) must be in a properly labeled opaque (non see-through) package before it leaves the dispensary. Deliveries must be in properly labeled opaque packages when delivered to the patient.

6. Individuals conducting the manufacturing or sale of products shall thoroughly wash their hands before commencing production and before handling the finished product. Gloves must be worn when packaging edible cannabis products.

7. In order to reduce the likelihood of foodborne disease transmission, individuals who are suffering from symptoms associated with acute gastrointestinal illness or are known to be infected with a communicable disease that is transmissible through foodstuffs are prohibited from preparing edible cannabis products until they are free of that illness or disease, or are incapable of transmitting the illness or disease through foodstuffs. Anyone who has sores or cuts on their hands must use gloves when preparing and handling edible cannabis products.

8. Edible cannabis products for sale or distribution at an MCD must have been prepared by a member of that MCD. No non-member edible cannabis products are allowed for sale or distribution at an MCD.

A patient/caregiver who produces edible cannabis products that are sold at more than one MCD in San Francisco must become a State certified food handler. If more than one person is involved in producing edible cannabis products at one home or facility, only one person needs to be certified. The valid certificate number of the member who has prepared the edible cannabis product must be on record at the MCD where the product is sold or distributed, and a copy of the certificate kept either on-site, or made available during inspections if kept off-site.


 In light of recent observations during routine inspections at San Francisco Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (MCDs), the Dept of Public Health has established the following policies that expand and clarify existing regulations regarding edible medical cannabis products. These policies specifically seek to clarify what is meant by prohibiting packaging that is attractive to children, as required in MCD Regulations for Preparation of Edible Cannabis Products, item 5.

 A.  Photos or images of food are not allowed on edible medical cannabis product labels.

B.  If the edible medical cannabis product is identified on the label using a common food name (i.e. Brownie, Honey, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookie, or Green Tea), the phrase “MEDICAL CANNABIS” must be written before the common food name. This phrase must be as easy to read as the common food name (i.e. same font size).

 C.  Only generic food names may be used to describe the product. As an example, using “Snickerdoodle” to describe a cinnamon cookie is prohibited.

 As you know, only medical cannabis is allowed to be distributed at MCDs in San Francisco. With this in mind, this new policy seeks to make it clear that the edible cannabis products you distribute are solely for medical cannabis patients, and the marketing of these products should NOT be a factor in the labeling of the products.

DPH realizes that this will cause a change in the labeling for most edible cannabis products currently distributed at MCDs in San Francisco. For this reason, we are allowing a 60 day transition to the new requirements. In the meantime, currently available edible medical cannabis products may continue to be distributed with their current labels if the package includes “MEDICAL CANNABIS” before the common food name, either pre-printed, or on a sticker. In addition, all such products must also state, as is now required, the following information:

Manufacture date 

The statement “Keep Out Of Reach Of Children” 

The statement “For Medical Use Only” 

Net weight of cannabis in package 

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. If you have any questions, please contact Larry Kessler at 415-252-3841. 

Sincerely yours, 

Richard Lee, Director of Environmental Health Regulatory Programs
Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Services


Recent Posts
Contact Seymour

I'm unavailable right now. But you can send me an email and I will get back to you, asap.