Washington DC Marijuana Cultivation License

Interested in starting a Cannabis business in Washington DC?

Does Washington DC Require Marijuana Growers to Obtain Cultivation License?

The District of Columbia requires businesses intending to grow marijuana for resale to licensed retailers and internet retailers to obtain cannabis cultivation licenses. Although adult-use and medical marijuana are legal in Washington DC, the district does not yet permit or license the cultivation of marijuana for the adult-use market.

Pursuant to Initiative 71, adults 21 and older in D.C. can legally grow up to six cannabis plants in their personal residences or rental units without obtaining grower licenses. However, no more than three of the cultivated plants may be mature.

In accordance with Section 7-1671.06 of the Code of the District of Columbia:

  • No licensed marijuana grower facility in D.C. may be in view of the public or visible from another property
  • A marijuana grower facility may not be located within a residential district or 300 feet of a preschool, elementary or high school, or recreational center
  • A marijuana grower facility may not be located within a Retail Priority Area pursuant to Section 2-1217.73 of the Code of the District of Columbia

What Are the Different Types of Cultivation Licenses in Washington DC?

The District of Columbia only issues one type of marijuana cultivation license – the cultivation center license. This license is issued to qualifying marijuana establishments to grow and distribute marijuana to medical cannabis manufacturers and dispensaries. There are six tiers of this license categorized according to the size of mature cannabis canopy allowed.

  • Tier 1 - Mature cannabis canopy area between 1 and 10,000 square feet
  • Tier 2 - Mature cannabis canopy area between 10,001 square feet and 25,000 square feet
  • Tier 3 - Mature cannabis canopy area between 25,001 square feet and 50,000 square feet
  • Tier 4 - Mature cannabis canopy area between 50,001 square feet and 75,000 square feet
  • Tier 5 - Mature cannabis canopy area between 75,001 square feet and 100,000 square feet
  • Tier 6 - Mature cannabis canopy area greater than 100,000 square feet

Who Can Grow Marijuana in Washington DC?

Adults aged 21 and older can grow marijuana in D.C. within the stipulated limits. No person with a conviction for a felony offense related to violence, gun crime, tax evasion, fraud, or credit card fraud within 3 years prior to applying for a marijuana cultivation center license will be licensed to grow marijuana in the district. However, no employee of a cultivation center may be disqualified from working at the marijuana establishment solely due to a prior conviction for a felony offense.

How to Get a Marijuana Cultivation License in Washington DC

To be eligible to apply for a cultivation center in DC, the applicant:

  • Must be aged 21 or older
  • Must not have been convicted of a felony crime related to violence, gun offense, fraud, tax evasion, or credit card fraud within the three years immediately preceding the application date
  • Must not be a licensed, authorized medical practitioner making patient recommendations
  • Must have paid the annual fee for a business permit in the District of Columbia and be incorporated in the District
  • Must not be an individual whose authority as a caregiver or qualifying patient has been revoked
  • Must be current on all tax filings and not owe more than $100 in outstanding debt to the government of the District of Columbia
  • Must have complied with all requirements of the 1998 Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative and Title 22-C of the D.C. Municipal Regulations
  • Must not hold, directly or indirectly, more than 20% of the cultivation center registrations or licenses in the District of Columbia
  • Must hold no interest in a internet retailer, courier, or testing laboratory license

The first step in applying for a cultivation center is to submit a Letter of Intent to the Department of Health. The letter must be appropriately and truthfully completed with the name of the individual, organization, or company; primary contact name; and the primary contact's mailing address. An applicant applying for both cultivation center and dispensary licenses must file a separate Letter of Intent and application for each license. Note that only entities or individuals that promptly submit their Letters of Intent and receive acceptance letters from the D.C. Department of Health may be permitted to submit applications for cultivation center licenses. Completed Letters of Intent may be submitted to:

D.C. Medical Marijuana Program

899 North Capitol Street NE, 2nd Floor

Washington, DC 20002

Upon receiving a letter of acceptance, the applicant may complete the application form on the forms and application page of the ABRA (Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration) website. An applicant may also request the application form by contacting ABRA at mcfacilities@dc.gov. In the application form, the following information will be required:

For individual owners:
  • Trade name of the business and copy of the trade name registration from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA)
  • Name and address of the individual. P.O. Boxes are not accepted
  • Date of birth
  • For partnerships and limited liability companies (LLCs):
  • The legal name of the business or trade name registration from the DCRA
  • Names and addresses of the members of the partnership or limited liability company
  • Date of birth of each member of the partnership or limited liability company
  • Certificate of Good Standing for the partnership or limited liability company issued by the DCRA within 30 days of the application's submission

For corporate applicants:

  • The legal name of the business or a trade name obtained from the DCRA
  • Certificate of Good Standing
  • Principal place of business
  • Names and addresses of the corporation's principal officers, directors, and shareholders holding, directly or beneficially, one percent or more of its common stock articles of incorporation and bylaws
  • Evidence of obtaining a basic business license from the DCRA with a General Business license endorsement
  • Transportation plan
  • Security plan
  • Floor plan
  • Certified surveyor's report or detailed Geographic Information System (GIS) map detailing the proximity of the proposed location of the marijuana establishment to schools or recreation centers
  • Business plan
  • Environmental plan
  • Proof of zoning compliance
  • Closure plans
  • Documentation detailing the source of funds to be used in establishing the cultivation centers
  • Proof of registration as a medical cannabis certified business enterprise by the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD)
  • A detailed description of the nature of the proposed operations, including the locations of all restricted access areas and the hours during which the cultivation center will operate
  • An affidavit that complies with Section 47-2863(b) of the Official Code of the District

Applicants are advised to review the 22 DCMR Subtitle C in its entirety before submitting applications. Note that applications cannot be edited, amended, or supplemented after submission other than to provide DSLBD-issued certification documentation.

The application fee must be included in the application via money order or cashier's check made payable to "D.C. Treasurer." For a submission made in person, the applicant may pay the initial application fee by presenting a credit card to the ABRA contact representative upon submitting the application. Completed applications may be submitted in person or by mail to:

Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration

2000 14th Street N.W.

Suite 400 South

Washington, DC 20009

The ABRA will consider an application non-responsive if the applicant fails to provide all of the required information. The ABRA has designated a panel to evaluate and score applications for cultivation centers. Each member of the panel will score the application based on the criteria outlined in the initial selection criteria and application instructions for the medical cannabis cultivation center license.

Note that licensed cultivation centers interested in manufacturing and selling medical marijuana products in DC must register for a Manufacturer license on or before May 1, 2024. These licensees are eligible for both Type 1 and Type 2 Manufacturer licenses. Type 1 licensees can only conduct manufacturing operations while applicants intending to conduct manufacturing and extraction operations must seek the Type 2 Manufacturer license.

How Much Do Marijuana Cultivation Licenses Cost in Washington DC?

Washington DC charges $8,000 for its Cultivation Center license. Social Equity Applicants are eligible for a reduced fee of $2,000. This license must be renewed annually. The renewal fee varies by Tier level.

Tier 1 - $11,000

Tier 2 - $16,000

Tier 3 - $21,000

Tier 4 - $26,000

Tier 5 - $31,000

Tier 6 - $36,000

For Social Equity Applicants, the applicable renewal fees by tier are:

Tier 1 - $2,750

Tier 2 - $4,000

Tier 3 - $5,250

Tier 4 - $6,500

Tier 5 - $7,750

Tier 6 - $9,000

Note that Social Equity Applicants are only eligible for these reduced fees in the first 3 years of operation.

Can Licensed Marijuana Cultivators Hold Other Cannabis Licenses in Washington DC?

Pursuant to Chapter 5401.8 of the D.C. Municipal Regulations, a cultivation center licensee in D.C. may a retailer or manufacturer license. However, the licensed cultivator is not eligible for an internet retailer, courier, or testing laboratory license.

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Washington DC Marijuana Cultivation License