Social Equity

Social Equity Definition / Criteria

  • i. Previous Cannabis Conviction:
  • ii. Income:
  • iii. State Residency:
  • iv. Qualifying Neighborhood / Municipal Residency:

In Washington, a “Social Equity Applicant” is:

  1. i) An applicant with at least 51% ownership and control by one or more individuals who have resided for at least 5 of the preceding 10 years in a disproportionately impacted area. 
  2. ii) An applicant who has at least fifty-one percent ownership and control by at least one individual who has been convicted of a cannabis offense or is a family member of such an individual.

In order to be considered for a retail license an applicant must be a social equity applicant and submit a social equity plan along with other marijuana retailer license application requirements to the board. While not a requirement of the social equity program specifically, cannabis licensure applicants must be residents of the state for at least six months.

Social Equity Provisions

In order to be considered for a retail license in Washington, an applicant must be a social equity applicant and submit a social equity plan. Washington State’s social equity provisions include technical assistance grants, priority licensing, regulatory compliance training and financial management training and assistance in seeking financing. Activities eligible for funding under the grant program include, but are not limited to, assistance with the marijuana retailer licensing process, marijuana business education and business plan development, regulatory compliance training, and connecting the social equity applicant with established industry members.

License Priorities and Set Asides

  • License Priorities / Set Asides:

Under 2020 social equity legislation, The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Control Board may only issue new or revoked licenses to social equity applicants. The board may prioritize applicants based on the extent to which the application addresses the components of the social equity plan.

Fee Waivers and Reductions

  • Fee Waivers / Reductions:

Washington does not offer fee reductions. The annual fee for issuance, re-issuance, or renewal for  social equity license holders is the same as for general applicants.

Other Financial Support for Social Equity Applicants and Licensees

In Washington state, a total of $1,100,000 annually shall be paid to the department of commerce to fund the cannabis social equity program. The department receives its money from”The Dedicated Marijuana Fund.”