Washington DC Marijuana Manufacturing License

Interested in starting a Cannabis business in Washington DC?

Does Washington DC Require a Marijuana Manufacturing License to Make Cannabis Products?

Pursuant to Washington DC cannabis laws, businesses looking to make medical cannabis products in the District must obtain a manufacturer license from the (ABCA) Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration. A medical cannabis manufacturer license permits the licensee to operate a cannabis license in DC to:

  • Process medical cannabis from cultivation centers into concentrated medical cannabis and medical cannabis-infused products
  • Packaging and labeling medical concentrated medical cannabis and medical cannabis-infused products for dispensing at authorized medical cannabis retailers and medical cannabis internet retailers
  • Sell concentrated medical cannabis and medical cannabis-infused products at wholesale to licensed medical cannabis retailers and medical cannabis internet retailers

Note that per ABCA rules, cannabis manufacturing refers to the production, preparation, conversion, or processing of cannabis, directly or indirectly by extraction from substances of natural source, or independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a mixture of extraction and chemical synthesis.

Does Washington DC Require Licensed Cannabis Manufacturers to Have Cultivation Licenses?

Licensed medical cannabis manufacturers in Washington DC are not mandated to obtain cultivation licenses. However, if they want to own cultivation centers, they may opt to apply for cultivation licenses. The manufacturer license allows licensees to process medical cannabis from cultivation centers; hence, cannabis materials needed in the manufacturing process may be obtained from DC-licensed cultivation center licensees.

How Does Washington DC Classify Marijuana Manufacturing Licenses?

The Washington DC Alcoholic Beverages and Cannabis Administration (ABCA) classified marijuana manufacturing licenses based on whether the licensee’s scope of operations is limited to cannabis manufacturing only or if permitted operations include extraction.

What are the Different Types of Cannabis Manufacturing Licenses in Washington DC?

The ABCA issues two types of manufacturer licenses:

  • Type 1 (Manufacturing only)
  • Type 2 (Manufacturing and Extraction)

Type 2 manufacturing licenses are issued to businesses intending to manufacture cannabis products using hazardous materials, compressed gases, flammable and combustible liquids, cryogenic fluids, or extraction equipment requiring an operational permit from the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services.

Does Washington DC Require a Separate License to Manufacture Edibles?

No. The District does not require cannabis businesses to obtain a separate license from the cannabis manufacturing license to manufacture edibles.

How to Get a Cannabis Manufacturing License in Washington DC

To apply for a medical cannabis manufacturer license in DC, you must fulfill specific eligibility requirements. You must:

  • Be of good character and be considered fit for the responsibility of a cannabis manufacturer
  • Be free of a felony conviction for any related to tax evasion, crime of violence, fraud, gun offense, or credit card fraud in the 3 years before the submission date of the application
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be current on all tax filings and have "clean hands." Clean hands refer to not owing the District of Columbia more than $100
  • Not be a licensed practitioner making patient recommendations
  • Have paid the yearly fee and should be a for-profit or non-profit corporation incorporated in DC
  • Not be a person whose authority as a patient or caregiver has been revoked by state authorities
  • Have complied with all the requirements of the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1999 and Title 22-C of the DC Municipal Regulations
  • Not be filed for a location within a residential district or 300 feet of a school or recreational center
  • Not hold a courier or testing laboratory license

Note that DC Board Orders and Settlement Agreement terms apply and may affect eligibility for a medical cannabis manufacturer license.

Also, applicants are required to meet the following application criteria:

Zoning Determination: You must provide a zoning determination letter from the Department of Buildings (DOB) Zoning Administrator that shows the premises where the manufacturer license is sought is zoned for manufacturing. Before the manufacturer license is issued, the applicant must also provide a certificate of occupancy issued by the DOB for the building where the licensed premises will be located

Zoning Compliance: You must provide substantiating documentation attesting that the proposed physical address designated for use as a manufacturer is situated beyond the bounds of a residential district or any zone within a 300-foot radius of a school or a recreation center. Alternatively, demonstrate that the nearest property demarcation or principal entry point of the school or recreation center bears a designation of commercial or industrial zoning status as confirmed by the official records of the Zoning Commission

This submission necessitates the inclusion of either an attested surveyor's report or a detailed Geographic Information Systems (GIS) map. This documentation, when requested from ABCA, should explicitly indicate the proximity of the manufacturer to the closest public or private preschool, primary school, secondary school, or recreation center. To request a GIS map, email ABCA.cannabislicensing@dc.gov, ensuring the inclusion of the subject line: "GIS Map Request for Medical Cannabis Facility Application."

Application Form: Complete a DC Medical Cannabis Business License Application

Acknowledgment and Attestation Form: You must provide a signed and notarized Medical Cannabis Facility Applicant Acknowledgement and Attestation Form

Social Equity Application: If you are a social equity applicant, you must provide documentation showing that you qualify as a social equity applicant. Therefore, you must meet two or more of the requirements outlined in D.C. Official Code § 7-1671.01(20C) and satisfy the requirements of D.C. Official Code § 7-1671.06(g)(1). You must also provide both the notarized Medical Cannabis Facility Applicant Social Equity Declaration Form and a Social Equity Applicant Attestation Statement

Medical Cannabis CBE: If you are a certified business enterprise, you must provide documentation that you are registered as a medical cannabis CBD by the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD)

Required Documentation: You must submit all the required documents listed on the Medical Cannabis Business License Application Checklist

Lease or Occupancy Agreement: You must provide a current written lease, intent to lease, agreement to purchase, or agreement to occupy all or a part of the building for the applicant's use issued by the Department of Buildings (DOB) for the structure in which the licensed premises will be located

Security Plan: You must provide a security plan detailing the following:

  • Evidence that the space will comply with all security system requirements set forth in Title 22-C of the regulations
  • A site plan showing the entire structure the business is housed in, including the street(s), parking lot(s), other tenants within the facility, and any other entities that physically border the proposed location
  • A floor plan of the business detailing the location of the following:
    • All entrances and exits.
    • The location of any roof hatches, windows, and skylights
    • The location of all cameras and their field of view
    • The location of all alarm inputs and alarm sirens
    • The location of the alarm control panel and digital video recorder
    • Restricted and public areas
  • The type of security training made available for and completed by establishment personnel, including:
    • Procedures for handling violent incidents, other emergencies, and calling MPD
  • The number and location of cameras used by the establishment
  • Security measures taken by the applicant to prevent individuals from entering the limited access area portion of the licensed premises
  • The applicant's closing procedures after the termination of business each day
  • 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
  • The type of security or alarm system and outdoor lighting to be used by the applicant

Submission Instructions:

Applications are required to be legibly typed, preferably in a 12-point font. The application must be filed in its entirety in hard copy or electronically. If submitting electronically, the submission must combine all the required items in 1 PDF document. To submit an application electronically, make your submission to ABCA.cannabislicensing@dc.gov. To submit your application by mail or in person, submit to:


2000 14th Street NW

Suite 400 South

Washington, DC 20009

Note that applicants applying as a medical cannabis certified business enterprise must submit to ABCA the required Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD)-issued certification documentation with their submitted application.

Also, according to the ABCA regulations, if you fail to address all required documents and plans, the application will be considered non-responsive and not accepted by ABCA. Manufacturer license applications accepted by ABCA are required to undergo a 45-calendar day public comment period. For more information on obtaining a medical cannabis manufacturer license, review the application instructions guide. Applications for medical cannabis manufacturer licenses are only accepted during open application periods.

How Much Does a Cannabis Manufacturing License Cost in Washington DC?

The annual fee for a standard Type 1 manufacturer’s license is $4,000.00. The annual fee for a standard Type 2 manufacturer’s license is $8,000.00. The annual fee for a social equity Type 1 manufacturer's license is $1,000.00, and for a Type 2 manufacturer's license is $2,000.00 for the first three years. Manufacturer applicants must also pay their annual fee for the first year within 60 calendar days of ABC Board approval but before license issuance.

Note that applicants must pay a non-refundable application fee as part of their application submission. The application fee for a standard manufacturer license applicant is $4,000.00. The application fee for a social equity manufacturer applicant is $1,000.00. Application fees are payable using a check, money order, cashier's check, or credit card.

Applicants submitting their applications in person are the applicant type permitted to use credit cards in making their payments. They will be required to present their credit cards to an ABCA representative upon submission. The ABCA also permits applicants to request a payment link to complete their payments electronically. To request a payment link, email ABCA.CannabisLicensing@dc.gov. Note that starter checks, cash, and payment by phone are not accepted. Also, applicants paying via cashier's checks must make the checks payable to the "DC Treasurer."

The applicant is responsible for all costs in the application preparation and submission. ABCA is not responsible for any costs incurred by an applicant in preparing or submitting an application.

Can Medical Cannabis Manufacturer Licensees Hold Other Cannabis Licenses in Washington DC?

Yes. However, according to ABCA regulations, medical cannabis manufacturing licensees are not allowed to hold a courier or testing laboratory license.

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