A license is required to sell or distribute tobacco in Washington. When you apply for a license through the Department of Revenue's Business Licensing Services, they send your application to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board's Enforcement Division who will determine if you are qualified to hold a tobacco license, which includes passing a criminal background check.
Washington requires one license for cigarette selling or distributing and another to sell or distribute other tobacco products (OTP). If you plan to sell both cigarettes and OTP, you need both cigarette and OTP license types for your business.
Important Information for Tobacco Retailers
Cigarette and OTP retailers may only purchase tobacco products from a person with a Washington State Wholesale or Distributor license. Purchasing tobacco from an unlicensed entity is a violation of law, which can result in confiscation of the illegal tobacco and possible criminal charges.
The only cigarettes that can be sold in Washington are those on the list of certified tobacco manufacturers. Information on cigarette certification and the list can be found on the Office of the State Attorney General Tobacco Suppliers and Manufacturers Web page.
Getting Your Tobacco License(s):
Requirements for license approval:
- You must pass a criminal background check. Department of Licensing provides the form through their online application website
- Pay your license fee and completing the application
- Get required insurance bonds
Notification of shipments of unstamped cigarettes and/or Other Tobacco Products
The "Pre-Notification of Unstamped Cigarette and or OTP products" form, LIQ 662. must be submitted in advance before transport.
Who needs to submit LIQ 662? Everyone, including Native American tribes except licensed distributors, manufacturer's representatives or licensed retailers.