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:
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.
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.
To be eligible to apply for a cultivation center in DC, the applicant:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. In the application form, the following information will be required:
For individual owners:
For corporate applicants:
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.
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.
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.