Frequently Asked Questions

For more information:

  • Social Equity Program Rules: WAC 314-55-570
  • Cannabis Licenses, Application Processes, Requirements, and Reporting: WAC 314-55 
Social Equity Notification Letters

I haven’t received a letter, what should I do?

The LCB has notified all applicants of their status. If you haven’t received a letter, please contact the email for assistance. 

How do I find out my rubric score?

You can request a copy of your application records, including your score, by submitting a Public Records Request through the portal on our website.

I received a withdrawal notice and I want to appeal the decision. How do I do that?

If you wish to appeal the withdrawal, LCB must receive your appeal request by the close of business, no later than twenty (20) calendar days from the date your withdrawal notice was emailed to you. Only the individual listed on the application may request an appeal of your withdrawal. Include your license number, tradename and withdrawal letter in the request. Submit your request to

If an appeal is requested, a Statement of Intent will be emailed to you with a form to complete to formally request a hearing. 

What if I have questions about the appeal process?

Email the Adjudications Coordinator at


FAQ Categories





Business Info


Social Equity Glossary

Submit Your Questions


How do I apply to be a social equity applicant?

The application window for the Social Equity program is now closed. All applicants have been notified of their status by LCB. If you have not received communication from LCB, please email

I heard the application window was extended to April 27. Where can I read more about this?

The application window is now closed. You can read the announcement on the application deadline extension here.

Are these licenses available throughout the state?

No, there are specific counties where social equity licenses are available. Learn more about the available license allotments here.

Where can I find the open allotments map?

Information on open allotments and counties is available here.

What is the fee for the Business Licensing Services (BLS) application?

The Department of Revenue's BLS application fee is $250. 


Who is eligible to be a social equity applicant?

To be considered for the social equity program, the following requirements must be met:
At least a 51 percent majority, or controlling interest, in the applicant, must be held by a person, or persons, who has or have resided in Washington State for six months prior to the application date, consistent with RCW 69.50.331, and meets at least two of the following qualifications:

  • The applicant(s) must have lived in a disproportionately impacted area in Washington state for a minimum of five years between 1980 and 2010; or
  • The applicant(s) or a family member of the applicant has been arrested or convicted of a cannabis offense; or
  • The applicant(s)’ household income in the year prior to submitting the application was less than the median household income within the state of Washington as calculated by the United States Census Bureau.

Please read the finalized rules available here for all qualifications.

Do I have to be a racial minority to get a social equity license?

Individuals of any race are welcome to apply for a social equity license, if they meet the requirements for social equity applicants as outlined above. You do not need to be a racial minority to apply for or receive a social equity license.

Can spouses each apply for their own social equity retail license? 

Yes, however they cannot have any mutual funds or shared accounts. All of their finances have to be separate. The spouse could not have control of the of the business or receive any profits as outlined in WAC 314-55-035

Why are arrests and convictions qualifiers for a social equity license?

The Washington State legislature recognized that cannabis prohibition laws were disproportionately enforced for decades and that the cumulative harms from this enforcement remain even today, the LCB is committed to supporting individuals and communities that may have been disproportionately convicted of crimes for a legal substance.

How were the qualifications for social equity applicants determined?

The Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force developed preliminary guidelines for social equity applicants. The LCB offered opportunities for stakeholders to review the drafts and offer feedback throughout the rulemaking process. View more information on the requirements for social equity applicants in the finalized rules.

I can’t find one of my past addresses on the DIA map. What should I do?

Make sure your address is correct and enter the address in slowly, giving the program time to load. If

Why did the LCB hire a third party contractor to review and score social equity applications?

The Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force and the community recommended that the LCB hire a third party contractor to review and score social equity applications. 


Can more than one person be scored on a social equity application? 

The ownership structure for social equity must be comprised of at least 51 percent social equity owners. Those owners will submit verifying documents to the third party contractor to be reviewed and scored.

Who decided whether an application met the criteria for receiving a license?

A scoring rubric was developed and approved by the Board. Ponder Diversity Group will serve as a third party contractor, which will review, validate applicants’ qualifications, and score all the applications submitted.

How were Disproportionately Impacted Areas (DIAs) determined?

The DIAs were defined by the legislature. They include census tracts that were in the top 30% on all of the following indicators:

  • High poverty rate;
  • High rate of participation in income-based federal programs;
  • High rate of unemployment; and
  • High rate of convictions

Learn more about the DIAs here.


What is a social equity license?

The LCB has held in reserve over 40 licenses that were forfeited, cancelled, or revoked or were licenses that were never issued. Applicants who meet the eligibility qualifications and score the highest on the Social Equity Rubric will have the opportunity to complete the licensing process. 

Am I able to add another person to my business, and change my business structure after I apply at BLS?

You cannot change anything on your application after submitting it.

Can I add a DBA to my license?

Yes, however not until you begin working with a licensor if you’re one of the applicants able to move forward with the Social Equity in Cannabis Retail License. 

Can I be or have an out-of-state financier on the license?

Someone who is only a “financier” and not a True Party of Interest on a license can be from out of state, per WAC 314-55-035.

Business Info

What is the difference between an owner and an investor?

• Owner: Individuals who expect to receive income from the retail business. These individuals will be listed on the license.
• Investor: Individuals who provide supporting funds to the business. Investors only receive interest when paid back by the licensee.  

What if I want to apply for my social equity license with an already established UBI/entity?

If you already have a UBI established with the Secretary of State, you are ready to apply when the window opens. You will use the UBI number for your business when prompted on the Social Equity application through BLS.

Will I be able to make changes to my business ownership structure after I submit an application?

No, you may not make ownership changes to an application after the application has been submitted. 

Is there a website or public documents that show who owned a medical cannabis retail store or collective garden? 

We are unaware or a website or public document referencing this.


How do I receive the most up to date information on the Social Equity program?

You can sign up for our listservs directly here. Alternatively, navigate to our website at, you’ll see a pop up window that asks for your email address. If you sign up, you’ll receive our newsletters, press releases, and other updates. 

What is the Technical Assistance Program?

In collaboration with the Washington State Department of Commerce and MakeGreenGo, the Technical Assistance Program is a free resource available to anyone interested. Potential applicants may sign up and register for a free account and view 18 hours of video content, download worksheets, and learn more about basic business concepts with examples specific to the cannabis industry. Sign up for an account and log in here.

I have input on the LCB’s plan for issuing social equity licenses. Do I have an opportunity to still give input?

While the opportunity for providing feedback on the current set of draft social equity rules closed at midnight on Sept. 14, 2022, the rulemaking team will continue to accept suggestions for future rules via:

Fax:    (360) 664-9689; or
Mail:    Rules Coordinator
            Liquor and Cannabis Board
            P.O. Box 43090
            Olympia, WA 98504-3080

Social Equity Glossary
With so many unfamiliar terms and acronyms, it can be confusing to try and navigate or understand what it means when trying to learn about and apply for a social equity license. This is a list of some common terms and acronyms used throughout the LCB’s social equity webpages. If there are additional things you think would be useful to add to this list, please email

  • Business Licensing Services (BLS)
    A program run through the Department of Revenue. This is the online application portal through which applicants will apply for a social equity license.
  • Cannabis Business Academy
    Free educational courses containing videos and worksheets developed by MakeGreenGo! for social equity applicants.
  • Disproportionately Impacted Area (DIA)
    A geographical location in Washington State determined to have been heavily impacted by the War on Drugs.
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) map
    A dynamic, customizable map to show multiple data points in an area. The DIA map will use this technology to allow users to pinpoint the area in which they would like to apply for a license. 
  • MakeGreenGo!
    The organization contracted with the LCB and Department of Commerce to collaborate on educational content for potential social equity licensees.
  • Revised Code of Washington (RCW)
    A compilation of all Washington State laws.
  • Washington Administrative Code (WAC)
    A compilation of all rules and regulations created by Washington State agencies.

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