Medical Cannabis Internet Retailer in Washington DC

Interested in starting a Cannabis business in Washington DC?

What Is a Medical Cannabis Internet Retailer in Washington DC?

A Washington DC medical cannabis internet retailer is an organization authorized by the District of Columbia to operate a medical business in the District through the Internet, a mobile application, or another related technology platform. This business may sell medical cannabis, medical cannabis products, and paraphernalia to eligible Washington DC patients and caregivers. Note that a medical cannabis retailer licensee may offer delivery services for their own products; however, a courier license is required to offer delivery services on behalf of other businesses. Unlike medical cannabis retailers, medical cannabis internet retailers are not required to obtain a delivery endorsement to deliver medical cannabis to patients and caregivers. Note that a DC medical cannabis internet retailer licensee is prohibited from having its physical location open to the public.

An internet retailer may also manufacture, possess, distribute, and purchase paraphernalia. Deliveries by an internet retailer are only permitted to residential and commercial building addresses located in the District that are not on District government, Federal property, or public or private school grounds, except for deliveries to individuals at colleges and universities who are 21 years of age or older. An Internet retailer license holder cannot offer curbside pickup at its approved physical location.

Does Washington DC License Medical Cannabis Internet Retailers?

It is illegal to offer online sales for medical cannabis and medical cannabis products in Washington DC, without a valid medical cannabis internet retailer license. According to the Medical Cannabis Amendment Act of 2022 (MCA), a retailer using the Internet or a related technology platform to offer sales of medical cannabis to patients and caregivers in the District must obtain an Internet retailer license from the Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration (ABCA) before commencing operations.

How to Get a Medical Cannabis Internet Retailer License in Washington DC

The ABCA sets the following eligibility requirements for persons looking to obtain a medical cannabis internet retailer license:

  • The applicant must be 21 or older
  • The applicant must be current on all tax filings and not owe the District more than $100
  • The applicant must be a for-profit or non-profit corporation incorporated in DC
  • The applicant must not be a physician registered to make medical cannabis recommendations for patients
  • The applicant must not have been convicted of a felony offense related to a gun offense, violent crime, fraud, tax evasion, or credit card fraud within the 3 years prior to the date of the application
  • The applicant is of good character and fit for the responsibilities of licensure
  • The applicant's is not an individual whose authority to be a caregiver or qualifying patient has been revoked by the Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration (ABCA) Board
  • The applicant has complied with all the requirements of Title 22-C of the DC Municipal Regulations and the 1999 Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative

Note that the DC Settlement Agreement and Board Orders terms apply and may impact eligibility

The following application criteria are outlined by the ABCA for medical cannabis internet retailer applicants:

  • Zoning Compliance:** **Furnish substantiating proof that the intended physical address proposed for use as an internet retailer is situated neither within a residential district nor within a 300-foot radius of a school or a recreation center. Alternatively, the applicant may establish that the nearest property line or the principal entryway to the school or recreation center holds a designation of commercial or industrial zoning status as confirmed by the official atlases of the Zoning Commission.

    The submission is required to include either a validated surveyor's report or a comprehensive Geographic Information Systems (GIS) map, which can be obtained by reaching out to ABCA. This documentation must outline the proximity of the internet retailer to the nearest public or private preschool, primary school, or secondary school, as well as the recreation center. Additionally, the name of the respective school or recreation center must be explicitly stated.

    To obtain a GIS map, email, ensuring that the subject line reads "GIS Map Request for Medical Cannabis Facility Application"

  • Zoning Determination:** **The applicant must provide a valid zoning determination letter obtained from the zoning administrator. This letter must confirm that the proposed premises is suitable for the operations of a medical cannabis internet retailer. Additionally, before the Internet retailer license is issued, the applicant is required to furnish a certificate of occupancy issued by the DC Department of Buildings (DOB). This certificate must pertain to the specific building where the licensed premises is intended to be established

  • Provide a completed Medical Cannabis Business License Application

  • Provide a valid written lease, intent to lease, or agreement to purchase or occupy all or a portion of the building for the applicant's use in carrying on the business of an Internet retailer

  • Provide a signed and notarized Medical Cannabis Facility Applicant Acknowledgment and Attestation Form

  • Social Equity Applicant: If applicable, the applicant must provide documentation indicating that the applicant qualifies as a social equity applicant

  • Medical Cannabis Certified Business Enterprise: If applicable, the applicant must provide documentation indicating that the applicant is registered as a CBE in the District

  • Provide the required documentation: The applicant must submit all the required documents listed in the medical cannabis business license application checklist

  • Submit a security plan: The plan must address, at a minimum:

    • The evidence that the space complies with all security system requirements outlined in Title 22-C of the DC regulations
    • A site plan revealing the entire structure the business is housed in, including entities that physically border the proposed location of the internet retailer's space
    • A floor plan of the internet retailer's business detailing the location of:
      • Exits and entrances
      • The location of all cameras and their field of view
      • The location of all windows, skylights, and roof hatches
      • The location of the DVR (Digital Video Recorder) and alarm control panel
      • The location of all alarm inputs and alarm sirens
      • Restricted and public areas
      • The number and location of cameras used by the establishment
    • The kind of security training provided for and completed by establishment personnel, including procedures for handling violent incidents, other emergencies, and calling MPD
    • The applicant's closing plans after the cessation of business each day
    • Security measures taken by the applicant to prevent individuals from entering the limited access area portion of the licensed premises
    • The type of security or alarm system and outdoor lighting to be used by the applicant
    • The applicant’s plan to prevent theft or the diversion of medical cannabis, including maintaining all medical cannabis in a secure, locked room that is accessible only to authorized persons

Submission Instructions

The application must be in a legible font, preferably a 12-point font. It must be filed in its entirety electronically or in a hard copy. All items must be combined into 1 pdf document if the applicant applies electronically. Electronic submissions for the medical cannabis internet retailer license application must be made to Mail submissions must be made to:


2000 14th Street NW

Suite 400 South

Washington, DC 20009

After application submission, internet retailer applications accepted by ABCA must undergo a 45-calendar day public comment period. For more information on applying for a medical cannabis internet retailer license application, see the application instructions guide published by the Washington DC Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration (ABCA).

How Much Does a Medical Cannabis Internet Retailer License Cost in Washington DC?

An applicant for a medical cannabis internet retailer license must pay a non-refundable application fee of $8,000 as part of their application submission. The application fee for a social equity applicant is $2,000. Note that A minimum of 50% of all new internet retailer licenses have been set aside for social equity applicants. Only social equity applicants or medical cannabis CBEs (certified business enterprises) are eligible to receive equity, loans, and grants from the medical cannabis social equity fund. Social equity applicants also get a 75% fee reduction on application and licensing fees for the first three years.

Applicants submitting their applications by mail may include a cashier's check, or money order made payable to "DC Treasurer" with their applications. Alternatively, applicants may request a payment link by emailing Starter checks are not accepted. Applicants submitting their applications in person may use a check, money order, cashier's check, or credit card to an ABCA contact representative upon submission. Applicants submitting their applications electronically may pay by mail, online, or in person. Payment links can be requested by emailing

Payments made via phone or in cash are not accepted. Note that all fees associated with preparing and submitting an application fall under the applicant's purview, as ABCA assumes no liability for such expenses.

Furthermore, internet retailer applicants are obligated to pay their annual fee for the first year within 60 calendar days of receiving approval from the ABCA Board and prior to the issuance of the license. The standard annual fee for an internet retailer license amounts to $16,000. However, a social equity internet retailer license will pay an annual fee of $4,000 for the initial three years.

Can Medical Cannabis Internet Retailer Licensees Hold Other Cannabis Licenses in Washington DC?

According to ABCA regulations, a medical cannabis internet retailer may not hold an interest in a cultivation center, testing laboratory, or courier license. A medical cannabis internet retailer may not hold a combined number of more than three internet retailer and retailer licenses.

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