D.C. Resumes Cannabis Retail Licensing in August


Washington D.C. is at it again with another round of cannabis retail licensing, and the capital city continues to weave social equity into the very fabric of its cannabis industry. But how does this new round differ from the Manufacturer license applications that were open last May? NDICA breaks down the nuances.

May’s Manufacturer Licensing Round: A Quick Recap

The Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration (ABCA) opened the Manufacturer licensing round in May 2023, offering two types of licenses: Type 1 for manufacturing only and Type 2 for both manufacturing and extraction. The ABCA required a 45-day public comment period for applications and set aside at least 50% of all new Manufacturer licenses for social equity applicants.

What’s New in August: The Key Distinctions

August’s retail licensing round builds on the legacy of May but broadens the scope to include all types of medical cannabis businesses, except for Testing Laboratories. Importantly, social equity still remains front and center, reserving 50% of licenses for qualifying applicants.

Criteria for Social Equity: Refining Eligibility

The eligibility criteria for social equity applicants have been fine-tuned this time around. To qualify, applicants must meet at least two of three specific criteria, such as being a D.C. resident owning at least 50% of the business, and more.

Application Process: Practical Steps to Follow

The application should include a Social Equity Declaration Form, Social Equity Attestation Statement, and supporting documentation to substantiate eligibility. Reduced fees are available for social equity applicants, making the financial aspects more palatable.

How NDICA Can Assist

As part of our ongoing commitment to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the cannabis industry, NDICA can provide guidance to help you navigate these intricate application processes.


August 2023’s round of cannabis retail licensing in D.C. expands on the foundational social equity work initiated in May. The capital city remains a beacon of how to effectively integrate social justice into cannabis legislation, and NDICA is here to make sure you’re a part of this equitable landscape.

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