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.
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.
The ABCA sets the following eligibility requirements for persons looking to obtain a medical cannabis internet retailer license:
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 ABCA.email@example.com, 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 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 ABCA.CannabisLicensing@dc.gov. 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).
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 ABCA.CannabisLicensing@dc.gov. 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 ABCA.CannabisLicensing@dc.gov.
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.
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.