How to start a commercial grow operation in Washington

The state of Washington legalized medical cannabis in 1998. In 2012, Washington became one of the first states to legalize the adult recreational use of marijuana, along with Colorado. For medical users, the state’s list of qualifying conditions includes cancer, glaucoma, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, severe or persistent muscle spasms, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more.

Starting a marijuana growing operation in Washington is similar to starting any other licensed business – you are going to need to follow a few rules. Below are some details to get you started.

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    Washington’s marijuana market

    The Washington marijuana program combines the recreation and medical markets, and in 2016, the market size was $1.3 billion. Growing operations supply the marijuana for this plentiful market.

    Washington’s marijuana market
    Washington’s marijuana market – Image powered by Youtube.com

    Owner requirements

    The state lets entrepreneurs open a growing operation in Washington. However, whether you can actually do it still depends on the city/region in which you plan on setting up shop. Washington allows local municipalities to ban or place moratoriums on whether to license growing operations or not. To start your grow operation, there is a $250 non-refundable fee at the time of application.

    A marijuana producer license is not a guarantee that you will be able to open your business. Instead, it is an endorsement of your Business License that has been issued by the Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR) Business Licensing Service. Therefore, if you want to open a marijuana business, start by completing the Business License Application – even if you already have a Business License. Then you will also need to complete the Liquor and Cannabis Board Marijuana Addendum.

    Corporations and limited liability companies (LLC) must register with the Washington Secretary of State’s (SOS) office prior to completing an application with BLS. If you don’t register with the SOS first, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) will not give you a license. Make sure you include your UBI number on all of your applications and filings. Remember, the filing fees are nonrefundable, and everything on the application is public.

    License & Financial requirements

    Cannabis growing operations in the state of Washington may obtain producer licenses based on their business needs. There are three tiers of commercial growing operations. You are limited to no more than three producer licenses

    Marijuana Growing Operation Tier 1

    • Tier 1 allows for growing operations with 2,000 square feet or less of dedicated plant canopy to produce marijuana for sale at wholesale to marijuana processor licensees and to other marijuana producer licensees.
    • $266 Application Fee (Non-Refundable)
    • $1480  Annual Fee for Issuance and Renewal
    License requirements
    License requirements – Image powered by Cannabis.com

    Marijuana Growing Operation Tier 2

    • Tier 2 allows for growing operations with a dedicated plant canopy between 2,000-10,000 square feet to produce marijuana for sale at wholesale to marijuana processor licensees and to other marijuana producer licensees.
    • $266 Application Fee (Non-Refundable)
    • $1480  Annual Fee for Issuance and Renewal

    Marijuana Growing Operation Tier 3

    • Tier 3 allows for growing operations with a dedicated plant canopy between 10,000-30,000 square feet to produce marijuana for sale at wholesale to marijuana processor licensees and to other marijuana producer licensees.
    • $266 Application Fee (Non-Refundable)
    • $1480  Annual Fee for Issuance and Renewal

    Timeframe

    Any business can take some time to get started, but marijuana businesses can take an especially long time. Allow at least a year to acquire the necessary licenses, create your optimal grow operation and hire employees.

    Looking to start a marijuana growing operation in Washington? These consultants help would-be cannabis business owners understand state licensing requirements, complete applications and get their business started

    Links
    Links – Image powered by Gov.mb.ca

    Robert Bergman

    Robert Bergman is an Amsterdam-based marijuana grow expert who has years of experience from small grows to massive operations. His passion for growing lead him to develop his own Gold Leaf strain. Now, Robert is dedicated to sharing his knowledge with the world.... [Read full bio]

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