Washington Marijuana Manufacturing License

Interested in starting a Cannabis business in Washington?

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

Yes. In line with voter initiative I-502, cannabis manufacturers require marijuana processor licenses to operate in Washington. The state’s voters approved I-502 on November 6, 2012, by a 55.7% to 44.3% majority vote. Per the bill, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board is the state agency that issues and regulates marijuana processor licenses.

As stipulated in I-502, other licenses cover the various aspects of cannabis businesses, such as cultivation, retail sale, and distribution. Washington does not have a license covering processing and other cannabis activities.

Does Washington Require Licensed Cannabis Manufacturers to Have Cultivation Licenses?

No. Licensed cannabis processors are not required to have cultivation licenses. Also, they are restricted from obtaining marijuana retailer licenses. The Revised Code of Washington, Title 69 § 50.328 stipulates that licensed processors are prohibited from having a direct or indirect financial interest in cannabis dispensary businesses in the state. However, the provisions of I-502 authorize processors to purchase wholesale marijuana from producers and other processors.

How Does Washington Classify Marijuana Manufacturing Licenses?

In Washington, only one class of marijuana processor license exists. According to the Washington Administrative Code Title 314 Chapter 55-077, cannabis processor licensees can dry, cure, process, label, and package usable cannabis, cannabis-infused products, and cannabis concentrates. The law does not specify the processing method, type of extraction chemicals, or post-processing procedures. However, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board must approve of the processing methods and extraction chemicals before a facility begins operations. If the processor manufactures edibles, the Washington State Department of Agriculture must approve its processing methods and ingredients.

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

Only one type of cannabis manufacturing license exists, covering every aspect of marijuana processing in Washington.

Does Washington Require a Separate License to Manufacture Edibles?

Yes. According to the Washington Administrative Code 314-55-077, a marijuana processor making edible products must get a marijuana-infused edible endorsement from the Washington State Department of Agriculture. The Washington Administrative Code Chapter 16-131 establishes the rules about acquiring and maintaining marijuana-infused edible endorsements.

The Washington Administrative Code Title 16, Chapter 131-030 stipulates that cannabis processors must comply with food inspection and the food processor laws under:

Marijuana-infused edibles endorsements are valid for one processor facility location. Therefore, licensees operating more than one facility must obtain endorsements for each location. Per the Washington Administrative Code Title 16 Chapter 131-040, cannabis processors can apply for marijuana-infused edibles endorsements under the Revised Code of Washington 69.07.200. Interested persons must submit the following to the Washington Department of Revenue:

According to the Washington Administrative Code 16-131-040, once the Washington Department of Revenue determines that an application is complete, it contacts the applicant and provides forms for them to complete electronically. Afterward, the Department schedules a facility inspection. Before the inspection, the facility must be ready for operation. Nevertheless, perishable ingredients must not be in stock at that time. After the review, the Department notifies the applicant about its decision to deny or grant the marijuana-infused edible endorsement.

In addition, the Washington Administrative Code 16-131-050 stipulates that cannabis processors must obtain the Washington Department of Revenue’s review and approval for each edible product before selling them. This approval is specific to the product’s ingredients (including flavor and color), form (e.g., powder or solid form), and formulation. To get recipe approval for a product, the processor must submit the following to the Department of Revenue:

Generally, all cannabis-infused edibles must comply with the provisions of the Washington Administrative Code Title 16 Chapter 131-070. Some products the Department of Agriculture approves are baked goods, flavored beverages, candies, chocolates, dry mixes, tablets, syrups, and tonics. The acceptable product types are listed in the Washington Administrative Code 16-131-070.

According to the Washington Administrative Code Title 16 Chapter 131-050, the Department of Agriculture may require a new facility inspection if a processor introduces a new product. Also, if the facility changes its processing technique for a formulation, it could be subject to another inspection. Per the Revised Code of Washington Title 69 § 07.200, food processors can renew their endorsements through the Department of Revenue. The endorsement renewal must coincide with the holder’s marijuana processor license renewal.

How to Get a Cannabis Manufacturing License in Washington

Per the Washington Administrative Code Title 314 Chapter 55-020, marijuana processor licensees must be at least 21 years old. Washington Administrative Code 314-55-077(2)(c) authorizes the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board to establish open periods for marijuana processor applications. A business entity can have up to three processor licenses. To apply, an applicant must pay the application fees prescribed in the Revised Code of Washington, Title 69 § 50.325. Also, they must submit the following documents:

  • Local government approval from the county or city where the proposed facilities will be situated. Per the Washington Administrative Code 314-55-020(16), the facilities must comply with local ordinances, including business licensing requirements, fire codes, building codes, and zoning ordinances. \ Also, according to the Revised Code of Washington 69.50.331(8)(a) and (b), cities and counties prohibit processor facilities within 1,000 feet of elementary and secondary schools, child care centers, recreation facilities, public parks, playgrounds, libraries, or public transit centers. The Liquor and Cannabis Board sends notices about the processor applications to the local authorities of the prospective jurisdictions. Local governments respond with either a denial of the applicant (or the location) or recommendation, approving the application within 20 days
  • Criminality record information. Per the Revised Code of Washington Title 69 § 50.331, the Board submits the applicant’s criminal history data to the Washington State Patrol or the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Identification Division. The agencies search for the applicant’s prior criminal convictions and arrests. The applicant’s fingerprint is a prerequisite for this check. According to the Revised Code of Washington 69.50.331(10), the Board denies an application if the applicant’s criminality check reveals serious illegal activity such as assaults or disorderly conduct threatening public health or safety. According to the Washington Administrative Code 314-55-020(7)(b)], all financiers of the proposed facility will be subject to criminality checks
  • Registration documentation for the proposed business entity (such as sole proprietorship, corporation, nonprofit corporation, partnership, or association)
  • Proof of residence in the state. The Revised Code of Washington 69.50.331(1)(b)(ii) stipulates that marijuana processors doing business as sole proprietors must have legally resided in Washington for at least six months before applying. Also, all board members of the business entities, managers, and agents must meet the six-month residency criteria
  • Operating plan - The Washington Administrative Code 314-55-020(12)(a) stipulates that the facility’s operating plan must include a floor plan illustrating its entire operations.
  • Proof that the applicant is familiar with the state’s cannabis laws
  • A list of the business’s source of funds. Per the Washington Administrative Code 314-55-020 (8), the Liquor and Cannabis Board investigates the business’s fund sources
  • The facility’s employee benefits and compensation data. The Washington Administrative Code 314-55-020(14)(b) stipulates that applicants must state if they have a signed labor peace contract with any labor organization. Also, they must state if they will:
    • Give a living wage of at least 150% of the state’s minimum wage to 85% or more of its hourly workers.
    • Provide a pension plan for at least 85% of its hourly workers
    • Provide health insurance coverage to at least 85% of its workers
    • Give at least five paid sick days to at least 85% of its hourly-paid workers

The applicant’s tax payment summary. Per the Washington Administrative Code 314-55-020(15), the applicant must be current in their tax responsibilities to the Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR) and other government agencies.

Applicants should complete the DOR’s business license application form and mail it along with other documents to:

Business Licensing Service

P.O. Box 9034

Olympia, WA 98507-9034

Per the Washington Administrative Code 314-55-020(10), the Liquor and Cannabis Board may inspect the proposed facility’s business location to ascertain the applicant’s compliance with all the licensing requirements. If the application is satisfactory, the Board will notify the applicant. Successful applicants must pay their license issuance fees before obtaining their processor licenses, valid for one year. As of early 2024, Washington is not accepting applications for cannabis processor licenses.

How Much Does a Cannabis Manufacturing License Cost in Washington?

According to the Revised Code of Washington, Title 69 § 50.325, the cost of obtaining and maintaining a cannabis processor license in Washington is as follows:

  • $250 processor license application fee
  • $1,381 processor license issuance fee
  • $1,381 annual license renewal fee
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Washington Marijuana Manufacturing License