Washington Cannabis License Guidelines

Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board

Licensing and Enforcement Criteria

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) is in charge of all licensing and regulation of the state’s cannabis industry. They are in charge of approving or denying applications and ensuring licensed businesses stay compliant.

All “true parties of interest” (owners, investors or anyone that stands to profit off of the business) and their spouse(s) have to undergo extensive criminal and financial background checks for licensing. True parties of interest must also be Washington residents for at least six months prior to applying and remain a resident through the life of their ownership.

A criminal history can prevent you from receiving a license in Washington state. The WSLCB has established a point system for criminal history based on the type of crime, number of crimes and when the crime(s) were committed. Felony charges can be automatically disqualifying.

Washington Cannabis Law & Compliance

Several laws and ordinances regulate the Washington commercial cannabis industry, as well as the many different steps in the supply chain. These laws range over dispositions for cultivators, manufacturers, distributors and retail dispensaries. The most recent news can be found on these websites:

FAQs

Is the state still accepting new applications for retail cannabis locations?

The state has closed the application process for new retail or producer licenses, but that doesn’t necessarily mean hope is lost. Interested parties can purchase a license from an existing cannabis business. The same application process and fees will apply for the potential new owner and you will likely need an attorney to manage the buying process.

What is the cost to apply for a cannabis license?

The application fee for all license types is $266 and the cost to renew a license each year is $1,062.

Can an entity hold more than one license at a time?

One entity cannot hold all three license types, but they can hold a producer and processor simultaneously. A producer or processor cannot also be a retailer.

Can a cannabis business receive out-of-state funds or investments?

The state’s law recently changed to allow for some level of out-of-state investment. But before any out-of-state money is accepted into the business, it has to be approved by the WSLCB.

Where can a dispensary be located?

A dispensary cannot be located within 1,000 feet of any elementary school or secondary school, playground, recreation or child care center, public park, public transit center, library or arcade that allows minors.

Local governments have the ability to reduce this 1,000 foot rule all the way down to 100 feet for anywhere except schools.

Do changes to a cannabis business need to be approved by the WSLCB?

Yes, even minute changes to the business have to be approved by the WSLCB before they are implemented. That includes anything from a floor plan change, to a location change or even a change in upper management.

What restrictions are there regarding cannabis advertising?

There are specific restrictions depending on the advertising medium that we will address below, but overall there are some common restrictions across the board.

First, no advertisements for anything cannabis-related can be attractive to minors (no cartoon characters or public figures appealing to a younger age group) or promote underage or out-of-state consumption. Second, no product can claim any therapeutic or curative effects. Lastly, any cannabis advertisement must include the following government warnings:

  • This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming.
  • Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug.
  • There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product.
  • For use only by adults twenty-one and older. Keep out of the reach of children.

Washington Cannabis License Types

There are many different license types for cannabis in Washington. We are here to help you understand which one is the best for you and your business.

Producer

A marijuana producer license allows the licensee to produce, harvest, trim, dry, cure, and package marijuana into lots for sale wholesale to marijuana processor licensees and to other marijuana producer licensees.

Processor

A marijuana processor license allows the licensee to process, dry, cure, package, and label usable marijuana, marijuana concentrates, and marijuana-infused products for sale at wholesale to marijuana processors and marijuana retailers.

Retailer

A marijuana retailer license allows the licensee to sell only useable marijuana, marijuana concentrates, marijuana-infused products, marijuana paraphernalia, and lockable boxes to store marijuana at retail in licensed retail outlets to persons twenty-one years of age and older.

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