Marijuana Dispensary in Washington
Marijuana Dispensary in Washington
With the passage of Initiative 502 in 2012, the state of Washington moved to a comprehensive regulatory approach for a Marijuana Dispensary in Washington, with state-licensed producers, processors, and retailers. As of July 1, 2016, the production and marketing of medical marijuana is also incorporated into the same regulatory framework as recreational marijuana, with some variations such as the allowance of medical marijuana cooperatives.
Under the new Marijuana Dispensary in Washington legislation, all marijuana licensing is regulated and enforced by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB). To assist with the legislative changes, the LCB has published on their website a Medical Marijuana Transition webpage that provides access to many useful resources, among them: Medical Marijuana FAQs and Cooperatives FAQs.
In summary, S.B. 5052, referred to as the Cannabis Patient Protection Act, was passed during the 2015 legislative session. While parts of it had already taken effect, most of the biggest changes did not begin until the start of July. Among other things, the bill establishes a medical marijuana registry, similar to other states with medical programs. Patients are not required to register, but those who do are given greater legal protections with law enforcement and may purchase a greater amount of cannabis or cannabis products and grow more at home. Another major shift in policy relates to businesses: Medical marijuana shops must now be state-licensed to continue to operate, and non-medical retail shops can get approval to serve medical patients.
The transition has been very controversial, particularly among the patient community. Patients and medical marijuana providers are concerned about increased cost and potentially less selection and availability at retail shops.
The primary statutes for recreational marijuana are codified in chapter 69.50 RCW, beginning with RCW 69.50.325; the medical marijuana statutes are located in chapter 69.51A RCW. The Liquor and Cannabis Board regulations for marijuana are found in chapter 314-55 WAC.
This fiscal year, Washington cannabis sales have skyrocketed to $620 million, and have put $119 million into the state tax coffers. But not all pot entrepreneurs are raking in profits. To help them, and expand their markets, Washington and other states are easing outside-investment restrictions.
Marijuana Dispensary in Washington Land Use and Zoning Law
Cities, towns, and counties in Washington State can choose to prohibit or to designate appropriate zones for state-licensed marijuana businesses because Washington local governments have authority to enact legislation regulating land uses within their jurisdictions. However, it is the State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) that has final authority over whether to grant or deny the license to operate in Washington State.
Cities, towns, and counties can file objections to the granting of a state license at a particular location and the Liquor and Cannabis Board must “give substantial weight to objections,” but it is still up to the LCB to make the state license decision.
RCW 69.50.331 requires licensed marijuana producers, processors or retailers to be located at least 1,000 feet from the following entities:
- Elementary or secondary school;
- Recreation center or facility;
- Child care center;
- Public park;
- Public transit center;
- Library; or
- Any game arcade (where admission is not restricted to persons age 21 or older).
There are three types of marijuana licenses in Washington State
- Marijuana Producer License – Cultivation license used to grow marijuana and sell to a licensed Marijuana Processor Marijuana Retailer.
Marijuana Processor License – A license to create MIP (marijuana-infused products) and sell to a licensed marijuana retailer.
Marijuana Retail License – A retail license to sell only useable marijuana, marijuana-infused products, and marijuana paraphernalia in retail outlets to persons twenty-one years of age and older.
No business may hold all three licenses. A licensee may hold both a producer and a processor license. However, a producer or processor may not also be a retailer. The number of retail licenses will be limited.
Financier – This level of involvement indicates any person or entity who has made or will make an investment in the licensed business of more than ten thousand dollars. A “financier” can be someone who provides money as a gift, someone who loans money to the business and expects to be paid back the amount of the loan without interest, or someone who invests money into the business expecting a percentage of the profits, but accepts the risk that there may not be a full return on the investment.
The business applying for a marijuana license can be partnerships, employee cooperatives, associations, nonprofit corporations, corporations, and limited liability companies and must be formed in Washington.
Fees to Open a Marijuana Dispensary in Washington
Marijuana Producer License Application Fee………………………………………..$250.00
Marijuana Processor License Application Fee……………………………………….$250.00
Marijuana Retailer License Application Fee…………………………………………..$250.00
Marijuana License Excise Tax – 25% of selling price of all products sold
Each license has an annual fee for issuance and renewal for $1000.00*
For more information on opening a marijuana dispensary or cannabis business in Washington, call Denver Consulting Group, the nation’s premier canna-business consultants.