Washington Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS WASHINGTON’S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
Content Below Last Updated by Point7 04/12/2022
Washington’s medical and recreational cannabis market has undergone steady growth over the last half decade. In 2014 average monthly sales were $10.8 million, by 2019 sales reached nearly $90 million a month and 2020 ended its fiscal year with operators bringing in $671 million in retail sales. The Washington market has consistently trended to the likes of alternative consumptions other than flower, with flower only accounting for 54% of consumption while edibles have accounted for roughgly 11%, pre rolls have been estimated to account for 10% and concentrates have accounted for 25% of sales.
While many legal states still have limited resources to actually obtain legal cannabis, Washington has awarded 1,054 producer licenses, 504 retailer licenses, 221 processor licenses, and 17 transportation licenses to date.
Recently, on March 2, 2022, the Board of the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) adopted and released new rules to test pesticides on cannabis products. In addition, Washington will now be testing cannabis products for heavy metals on a random basis or as part of an investigation.
Although Washington State became one of the first states to legalize adult-use cannabis, it still remains illegal to cultivate cannabis at home. Legislators like Rep. Shelley Kloba have tried to make an effort to change this law in 2021. Unfortunately, it was referred to the Appropriations Committee and did not receive a vote.
WHAT ARE WASHINGTON’S CURRENT CANNABIS LAWS?
While initiative 502 legalized cannabis for recreational use, there are still a few restrictions to take note of to ensure you’re remaining within the law when consuming in Washington. Only adults over the age of 21 may partake in cannabis consumption and a person of age can only purchase up to one ounce of flower, 16 ounces of infused edibles, 72 ounces in liquid form, and 7 grams of cannabis concentrates. Additionally, users are prohibited from partaking and possessing cannabis consumption in public areas, while driving, and when crossing state lines. Finally, it remains illegal to cultivate cannabis at your home.
WHAT IS WASHINGTON’S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
Applications for licenses are closed at this time; however, you are able to obtain a license from an existing cannabis business. The state plans to release a Social Equity round to reopen retail dispensaries that have closed in the last two years. Point7 will update with details on the Social Equity process once they are released!
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN WASHINGTON?
Cannabis is legal for recreational and medical use in the state of Washington. Washington became one of the first two U.S. states to legalize recreational use of cannabis and to allow recreational sales after passing Initiative 502 on November 6, 2012.
Washington has a more friendly past in regards to cannabis than most states with the Washington Court of Appeals recognizing there was a medical necessity for cannabis possession in 1979. While the medical acknowledgement was there, there was still no access to legal cannabis. Industry pioneers began operating Patient Co-ops which were consistently subject to federal raids until 2011 when the United States Attorney for the Eastern district of Washington ordered all 75 operating dispensaries in Seattle and 55 in Spokane to immediately cease operations. Those who did not comply were arrested. Over the years, there have been countless bills to legalize cannabis in one fashion or another and in 2012 advocates for cannabis in Washington finally saw victory when Initiative 502 was approved by a 55.7% to 44.3% vote. Residents of Washington were legally able to obtain recreational cannabis starting July 8, 2014.
DOES WASHINGTON HAVE A HEMP PROGRAM?
Washington’s state legislature passed ESSB 6206 in 2016, creating the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot (IHRP) and the first post-Prohibition hemp crop was planted in 2017. The IHRP was repealed in 2020 and emergency rules were implemented for lawful hemp production to occur during the gap between the pilot program and when the new chapter 16-306 WAP takes effect. Applications are currently being accepted for obtaining a hemp production license through the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
PREPARING FOR THE WASHINGTON CANNABIS MARKET
We are ready to support your team as you prepare for cannabis licensure in Washington. Contact Point7 to discuss the fully customizable products and service packages available that have proved successful for operators around the country.