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Notice: Open Application Period for Standard and Internet Retailer Licenses


Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Notice of an Open Application Period for Standard Retailer and Internet Retailer Licenses

The Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Board (Board) hereby gives notice of an open application period for standard Retailer and Internet Retailer licenses, and sets forth the process for the submission of applications to the Board.

Specifically, Title 22-C of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR) requires the Board, at the start of each open application period, to publish a Notice in the D.C. Register setting forth the process for the submission of available applications. The notice shall provide the address for submission and the process for obtaining application materials from the Board. This information shall also be provided on the Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration’s (ABCA) website.

DC Law 24-0332, the Medical Cannabis Amendment Act of 2022 (Act), effective March 22, 2023, requires in relevant part that at least 50% of the new Retailer and Internet Retailer licenses made available by the Board be set aside for social equity applicants, as defined in the Act. As of Wednesday, May 22, 2024, the Board has accepted and reviewed thirty-three (33) Retailer and two (2) Internet Retailer applications from social equity applicants filed during previous open application periods above the statutory 50% threshold. Accordingly, the Board is making thirty-three (33) Retailer and two (2) Internet Retailer licenses available to standard applicants during this open application period.

Retailer and Internet Retailer licenses will be made available to standard applicants during the open application period on a first-come basis based upon the order that the applications are received by the Board. No more than thirty-three (33) Retailer and two (2) Internet Retailer licenses will be approved by the Board for standard applicants during the open application period. The Board is not accepting applications from social equity applicants during this open application period.

Standard applicants that do not currently have a physical location to operate a Retailer or Internet Retailer license are permitted to file a one-year conditional license application during the open application period, subject to the requirements of the Act and Title 22-C.

Applications

The Board provides the following information regarding the application process for the open application period:

  1. The first day for standard applicants to file a Retailer or Internet Retailer license application with the Board shall be 9:00 a.m. EST on Monday, July 1, 2024. The last day for standard applicants to file a Retailer or Internet Retailer license application with the Board is 4:00 p.m., on Thursday, August 29, 2024. As noted above, applications filed during the open application period will be considered on a first come basis with thirty-three (33) Retailer and two (2) Internet Retailer licenses being made available to standard applicants beginning on July 1, 2024. The Board reserves the right to close the application period earlier than August 29, 2024, depending upon the volume of applications received by the Board from standard applicants during the open application period.

  2. Applications shall be submitted during the open application period in hard copy to the ABCA Medical Cannabis Program, 2000 14th Street, NW, Suite 400 South, Washington, DC 20009, or uploaded electronically as instructed on the application. It is your responsibility to submit in a manner to ensure confirmation of delivery with a date and time stamp.

  3. Application forms and instructions are currently available on ABCA's website. If you have trouble accessing the application, please contact [email protected]. A list of the applicable application fees to be submitted with the application is currently available on ABCA's website. All application fees are nonrefundable.

  4. Each applicant is strongly encouraged to read the regulations contained in Title 22-C of the DCMR carefully before submitting an application. You will not be allowed to change the location on your application, excluding conditional license applicants, after the applicable open application period has ended.

  5. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY: Prior to filing your application please note the following:

    • A location for a Retailer or Internet Retailer cannot be located within any residential district or within 300 feet of a preschool, primary or secondary school, or a recreation center.

    • An applicant for a Retailer license cannot be located within 400 feet of an existing Retailer or a previously submitted Retailer application filed by another applicant during an open application period.

    • In the event that two or more applications filed during an open application period are for locations within 400 feet of each other, ABCA shall proceed forward with the application that is first in time. If that application is subsequently denied, ABCA shall proceed forward with the application that is second in time, third in time, et cetera, until an application is approved.

    • An applicant for a Retailer license may not already hold or have an ownership interest in both a cultivation center and a Retailer.

    • An applicant for an Internet Retailer license may not already hold or have an ownership interest in a cultivation center.

    • An applicant for a Retailer or Internet Retailer license may not already hold or have an ownership interest in a combined number of three Retailer and Internet Retailer licenses.

    • An applicant for a Retailer or Internet Retailer license is not permitted to hold or have an ownership interest in a courier or testing laboratory license.

    • An application for a Retailer or Internet Retailer license that is accepted by the Board that has a proposed location will be required to undergo a 45-day public comment period with notice given to any affected Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANC’s) located within 600 feet of where the applicant’s establishment is or will be located.

For Questions

Applicants must e-mail all written questions or requests for clarification regarding this announcement or the application process to [email protected] with “MC Application Question” in the subject line. Questions and responses will be posted on ABCA’s website. Questions will not be answered on an individual basis. Furthermore, ABCA may decide not to answer a question and the agency is not obligated to answer all questions. Applicants should also monitor ABCA’s website for questions or responses and other information about the program. Phone inquiries will not be accepted.

Federal Law

Finally, all applicants should be advised that federal law makes cannabis a controlled substance and has placed cannabis in Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act. Growing, distributing, and possessing cannabis in any capacity, other than as a part of a federally authorized research program, is a violation of federal laws. The District of Columbia’s law authorizing the District’s medical cannabis program will not excuse any person from any violation of the federal laws governing cannabis or authorize any licensee to violate federal laws. Therefore, participation in the program is at your own risk.