DC to Open Final Application Period for Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

June 11, 2024 by Dan McCue
DC to Open Final Application Period for Medical Cannabis Dispensaries
Cannabis. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia will open what it is calling the “final” application period for medical cannabis license applications on July 1.

In all, 33 retail licenses and two internet licenses will be available to non-social equity applicants, with the application period slated to close Aug. 29.

In 2022, the D.C. Council passed the Medical Cannabis Amendment Act, which established guidelines for the dispensaries and how the licenses for such facilities would be doled out.

The licensing process is overseen by the city’s Alcohol Beverage and Cannabis Administration, which established three different periods for applications to be considered: one for unlicensed operators, the next for social equity applications, and now, for retail applicants.

Under the terms of the act, at least 50% of all the licenses handed out must go to social equity applicants. 

Though more than 250 people submitted social equity applications during the most recent licensing period, which ended in March, less than 40 prospective retailers were approved.

City officials said more that 200 applications from that round still await processing and have not yet been approved or disapproved.

According to the ABCA’s website, applications will be accepted on a first-come basis, whether they are for standard licenses or so-called conditional licenses. 

Conditional licensees currently have a year to open their businesses while standard applicants must be ready to open almost immediately.

Social equity applicants will not be allowed to apply in this period. 

District law prohibits medical cannabis businesses from locating within any residential district or within 300 ft. of a preschool, primary or secondary school, or recreation center. 

An applicant for a retailer license cannot be located within 400 feet of an existing cannabis retailer or a previously submitted retailer application filed timely by another applicant.

A retailer license permits the dispensing of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products to eligible patients and caregivers daily between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Applicants must meet general qualification requirements including being at least 21 years of age. An applicant must also be current on all tax filings and not owe the District more than $100.00. 

Applicants may not hold an interest in a testing laboratory or courier license and an applicant must be with a for-profit corporation incorporated in the District. 

When it comes to internet retailers, they can operate, sell, and deliver medical cannabis and medical cannabis products daily except between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. 

Applicants must meet general qualification requirements including being at least 21 years of age. Theymust be current on all tax filings and not owe the District more than $100.00. 

They are also prohibited from holding an interest in a cultivation center, testing laboratory, or courier license. 

An applicant may not hold a combined number of more than three internet retailer and retailer licenses, and must be either a for-profit or nonprofit corporation incorporated in the District.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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