WHAT IS THE SAFE CANNABIS SALES ACT OF 2021?
The Safe Cannabis Sales Act of 2021 was introduced by Mayor Muriel Browser of the District of Columbia on February 26, 2021 to legalize and regulate the sale of adult-use cannabis, and reinvest in communities that have been disproportionately harmed by the criminalization of cannabis.
WHAT IS THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE AND CANNABIS ADMINISTRATION (“ABCA”) AND ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE AND CANNABIS BOARD (“BOARD”)?
The ABCA and the Board are responsible for creating categories of cannabis licenses, issuing cannabis licenses, and regulating the retail sale and distribution of cannabis and cannabis products.
WHAT TYPES OF LICENSES ARE AVAILABLE?
(1) Cultivation; (2) Manufacturer; (3) Distributor; (4) Off-Premises Retailer; (5) Microbusiness; (6) On-Premises Retailer; (7) Testing Facility; (8) Cannabis Third Party Social Equity Delivery; (9) Worker; and (10) Manager
WILL THERE BE A LIMIT TO THE NUMBER OF LICENSEES?
The Board will provide at least 30 days' notice before accepting applications regarding the number of licenses available for each class and further information on the licensing process.
WHEN WILL THE LICENSING APPLICATION PERIOD OPEN?
Licensing applications are not being accepted at this time. The Board is required to propose regulations setting forth specific licensing application requirements within 180 days of the effective date of the Act, which if passed by the end of 2021, could allow for the retail sale of cannabis and cannabis products beginning October 1, 2022.
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HOW WILL THE DC CANNABIS LICENSING SCHEME BOLSTER SOCIAL EQUITY?
Cannabis sales tax revenue will be reinvested into programs that benefit individuals and communities that have been historically, disproportionately harmed by the criminalization of cannabis. DC's cannabis licensing scheme supports reentry by allowing returning citizens and DC residents with criminal backgrounds and/or cannabis convictions to obtain a worker's or manager's license to work at cannabis businesses and to own cannabis businesses.
HOW MUCH DOES APPLYING FOR A CANNABIS LICENSE COST?
The initial, non-refundable, application fee for:
- Cultivation, manufacturer, off-premises retailer, testing facility or distributor license - $1,000
- Cannabis third party social equity delivery license - $50
- Microbusiness license - $500
Bear in mind that, ultimately, total costs will depend on numerous factors (type of license you are applying for, whether you buy or lease property, the size and location of real estate, application and licensing fees, professional and legal fees, and others).
HOW CAN APPLICANTS PREPARE NOW FOR THE UPCOMING ADULT-USE CANNABIS LICENSE APPLICATION CYCLE?
The first step in preparing for your cannabis license application is to retain a cannabis business attorney.
Among other things, they will guide you through the steps of securing real estate, obtaining local approvals, developing your security plan, environmental impact plan, and quality control plan.
WHY IS A CANNABIS BUSINESS ATTORNEY IMPORTANT?
The lawyers at Leaf Legal, P.C. provide comprehensive and experienced legal counsel to DC cannabis businesses in all aspects from the ground up to make sure clients are able to safely navigate DC's adult-use cannabis program with an in-depth understanding of all integral elements of licensure and running a compliant business.
By understanding the complexities of DC's licensure procedures, the attorneys at Leaf Legal, P.C. are able to diligently guide clients towards establishing state-compliant cannabis businesses. Leaf Legal, P.C. is fully equipped to assist your legal needs in DC's rapidly expanding licensing and regulatory scheme. Contact the attorneys at Leaf Legal, P.C. to request a consultation.