Washington Marijuana Business Licenses

Medical Marijuana in Washington

In 1998, medical marijuana was approved by voters through Initiative 692, which provided patients with certain terminal or debilitating conditions to use medical cannabis. The Initiative was amended twice to include a sixty (60)-day supply amount, as well as increase the types of health care professionals allowed to authorize cannabis.

By 2011, the Washington State Legislature passed Senate Bill 5073, which aimed to establish guidance for healthcare practitioners authorizing medical cannabis, patient protections, and ability to form collective gardens. However, under this vetoed bill, it did not authorize commercial production or processing, sales or other transactions for consideration, nor regulation or any type of governmental oversight.

Recreational Marijuana in Washington

In 2012, voters approved of Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 and older. By 2015, the Washington State Legislature passed Senate Bill 5052 and Marijuana Taxation Reform (HB 2136), which aimed to align the medical marijuana system with the regulated recreational market. These bills brought significant changes to the medical marijuana program, including the integration of medical marijuana into the regulated market and the establishment of a patient authorization database, along with specific requirements for patients under the age of 18, and consistent testing, labeling and product standards. By 2016 the medical marijuana market merged with the recreational market, and a single, unified system for marijuana regulation was implemented. Medical marijuana patients were required to obtain a medical marijuana recognition card to access certain benefits, such as a sales tax exemption.

In 2017, Legislature passes SB 5131 which allowed authorized patients and designated providers that are entered into the medical cannabis database and hold a recognition card to purchase immature plants, clones, or seeds from a licensed producer. Further, in 2019, the State Legislature passed additional medical marijuana patient reform through HB 1094 and HB 1095.

In 2023, Governor Inslee signed SB 5080, which will expand Washington’s adult-use market, specifically for social equity applicants. Under the new law, there will be up to ten (10) new producers, one hundred (100) processors, and fifty-two (52) retail licensees.

Types of Adult-Use Cannabis Licenses

  • Producer
  • Processor
  • Retailer
  • Transportation
  • Cannabis Research

Applications for Marijuana Business Licenses in Washington

Currently, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board is not accepting applications for Producer, Processor, or Retailer licenses. However, as a result of Governor Inslee’s signing of SB 5080, the Board will begin accepting applications in the near future for Social Equity applicants. Below is the timeline of issuance of new licenses as set forth in the new law:

  • Retailer Licenses Issued
    • Beginning & Until: Jan. 1, 2024 – July 1, 2032
  • Processor Licenses Can
    • Begin Being Issued: Immediately
  • Producer Licenses To
    • Begin Being Issued: Jan. 1, 2025 – in conjunction with a cannabis processor license.

The Board is presently accepting applications for Transportation and Cannabis Research licenses.

Contact a Washington Marijuana Business License Consultant

If you are interested in entering Washington’s lucrative adult-use marijuana market, contact our Team of Cannabis business license consultants today to discuss your options!

Last Updated: June 12th, 2024

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