Cannabis Licensing FAQ

General

When will the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) open up opportunities for new cannabis retail, producer, or processor licenses?
The WSLCB is not accepting applications for new producer or processor licenses at this time. Cannabis retail licenses that have been subject to forfeiture, cancellation, revocation or licenses that were not previously issued by the WSLCB will be filled through the Cannabis Social Equity Program. The Social Equity Task Force is working to provide recommendations to the WSLCB to establish the program. To stay up to date on agency and policy changes, sign up for the WSLCB GovDelivery email list.

Is there any way to become a retail, producer, or processor licensee at this time?
We are not accepting applications for new retail, producer or processor licenses. You may work with an existing license owner who wants to transfer their license (or a portion of their business ownership). You may either purchase a licensed business through a new entity, which is called an Assumption, or you can purchase some or all interest of a licensed business via a Change in Governing People, Percentage Owned and/or Stock/Unit Ownership. You will need to submit one of these applications and meet the qualifications of license ownership prior to purchasing any interest in the business.

What types of applications are currently being accepted?
We are accepting applications for new Transportation and Research licenses, and new Cannabis Cooperative registrations. We also accept applications for changes to existing licenses. You can find these applications on the Cannabis Licensing page of our website.

How do I submit my application?
Depending on the type of application, it should be mailed to Department of Revenue’s (DOR) Business Licensing Services (BLS) or the WSLCB. Visit the Cannabis Licensing Section of our website for a list of applications and information on how to submit an application.

Are there additional permits and/or licenses I need to have to be compliant with my cannabis business?

  • Your business may need to have additional local, state, and/or regional permits or permissions based on their requirements. The WSLCB maintains a list of fact sheets for general guidance here, contact your local city or county for more information.
  • If your business is adding a kitchen to process any ingestible cannabis infused products, the kitchen area must be inspected and certified through the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) before you can begin manufacturing products to sell.
  • If your business is adding extraction methods that use dangerous or combustible materials, the certification for the extraction machines must be reviewed by the WSLCB, and you must have the approval of your local Fire Marshal. To add an extraction method or equipment, submit a Request to Alter Cannabis Site and/or Operating Plan application. Your assigned Licensing Specialist will provide you more information about required inspections and certifications.
     

Qualifying for a License

How long must I live in Washington before I can apply to be a licensee?
Individuals must live in Washington State for at least six months before applying for a cannabis license. All business entities applying for a cannabis license must be formed in Washington and all individuals listed as true parties of interest must meet and maintain the Washington State residency requirement (refer to WAC 314-55-035 for the definition of a true party of interest)

What criminal history might prevent me from getting licensed?
All true parties of interest and financiers (refer to WAC 314-55-035 for definitions) are required to fully disclose their entire criminal history. Washington has a point system that determines if an individual qualifies for a license based on the type, number, and date(s) of convictions. If an applicant has more points than the point system allows, the applicant can provide a statement explaining the circumstances regarding the convictions. A licensing manager will review the application and the explanation of circumstances and make a decision. Refer to WAC 314-55-040 for specific information on criminal history.

Is my spouse required to be on the license? Does my spouse need to have a criminal background check?
A spouse is not required to be on the license, if the spouse is not receiving profits or exercising control over the business. If a spouse is providing funds to the business they may need to undergo a background check and qualify as a financier. Refer to WAC 314-55-035 for definitions of profit and control, or contact your Licensing Specialist with questions about your individual license or application.

Physical Business Location

How can I find out if my location meets the distance requirements for a cannabis license?
Your location cannot be within 1,000 feet of the any of the restricted entities outlined below, unless your city or county has passed an ordinance to adjust the buffer zone.

Restricted Entity List
Elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center, library, or any game arcade admission to which is not restricted to persons aged twenty-one years or older.

We recommend that you research your location before you apply for a license or change of location. You may contact us at marijuanalicensing@lcb.wa.gov with your proposed address for a preliminary check of restricted entities.

What documentation do you need from my city or county if they changed the 1,000’ buffer requirement?
We require a signed and dated ordinance from your city or county.

What if a new restricted entity opens within 1,000 feet of my existing business, or a location where I have already applied for a license?
Once you have applied for a license or change of location, we will perform a check for any restricted entities as of the date of the application. If your location is compliant, we will provide a Certificate of Compliance that allows you to continue with the application process should a restricted entity move in within 1,000 feet of the location before the license is issued to you.
 

Change Applications for Existing Licenses

How can I make changes to my licensed cannabis business?
You will need to submit an application before making some types of changes to your business. Applications for change requests are posted online. Change applications will be assigned to a Licensing Specialist, who will contact you and provide more information about the next steps in the process.

When can I begin making changes to my licensed cannabis business?
You cannot make changes until the assigned Licensing Specialist reviews the application, receives any required documents for the change and gives approval.

How do I move my cannabis business to a new location?
You may apply to change your location by submitting a business license application through Business Licensing Services. You must maintain all license requirements at your current location, including the security requirements contained in WAC 314-55-083, until after your new location passes final inspection and you receive approval from the WSLCB. You may need to work directly with your Enforcement Officer to maintain compliance when you are ready to complete the move.

Please note: Retail licensees may only relocate within their assigned jurisdiction.

How do I remove a spouse from my license?
A spouse (who does not receive profits or exercise control over the business) can be removed from the license by submitting the Change in Governing People, Percentage Owned and/or Stock/Unit Ownership application to Business Licensing Services. Please note, it is not required to submit an additional application if you have an existing change request application being processed. In this case, let your Licensing Specialist know this is a part of your change, and they will send you the necessary documents.

 
Funding

Can I accept funds from an out-of-state financier?
If you submit an Application for Adding a Financier and it is approved by WSLCB, it is acceptable to receive out-of-state financing. However, your business cannot accept any funds from a financier until you have received approval from the WSLCB. All financiers must reside in the United States.

When can I use additional funds after submitting an application?
It depends on the source of the funds. For most sources, you will need to complete Application for Adding a Financier and receive approval before you can use the funds. However, under WAC 314-55-035, the WSLCB will allow funds from three sources to be used upon receipt of the application. Those sources of funds are:

  • A true party of interest that is already approved on the license;
  • A previously approved financier associated with the license; or
  • A previously approved revolving loan.

Please contact your Licensing Specialist if you have any questions.

 

Insurance

What are the insurance requirements for a cannabis business?
All cannabis licensees must maintain commercial general liability insurance with coverage of at least $1 million. Additionally, the policy must be issued in the name of the licensed entity, list the address of the licensed location, list the state and its employees, agents, and volunteers as additionally insured, and be primary over any other valid and collectable insurance. 

Am I required to have product liability insurance?
Product liability coverage is required as part of the general liability policy. Product liability insurance does not cover loss or damage to your products themselves, but covers liability from the creation or consumption of your business’s products.

More information about insurance coverage for cannabis businesses is available at the Office of Insurance Commissioner’s website and WAC 314-55-082 regarding WSLCB requirements.

What if my question wasn’t answered here?
Please reach out to us at marijuanalicensing@lcb.wa.gov with your licensing questions. We are happy to assist you.

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