Social Equity Retail License Application Window Opens Mar. 1, 2023

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Jan. 18,  2023

Social Equity Retail License Application Window Opens Mar. 1, 2023

The Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) will open the application window for at least 44 social equity retail cannabis licenses Mar.1, 2023. The 30-day application window closes Mar. 30, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.


The LCB has held in reserve 44 retail licenses that were forfeited, cancelled, revoked or never issued that will be available in jurisdictions across the state. To qualify for the Social Equity program, each applicant must have at least a 51% majority ownership interest, must be a person(s) who has resided in Washington State for six months prior to the application date, and meets at least two of the following qualifications:

  1. The social equity applicant(s) have lived in a disproportionately impacted area (DIA) in Washington State for a minimum of five years between 1980 and 2010. 

  2. The social equity applicant or a family member of the applicant has been arrested or convicted of a cannabis offense.
  3. The social equity applicant's household income in the year prior to submitting the application was less than the median household income within the state of Washington, which is $82,400.

The LCB last week posted maps indicating Disproportionately Impacted Areas. The interactive maps are an essential tool for identifying whether an applicant meets one of the above three criteria to qualify for the program. Disproportionately Impacted Areas were defined by the legislature. They include those census tracts that meet the following criteria:

  • High poverty rate;
  • High rate of participation in income-based federal programs;
  • High rate of unemployment; and
  • High rate of convictions.

Tools for Applicants

The LCB and its partners have provided several tools to help applicants including:

  • Upcoming webinars on Jan. 24 and Jan. 28 to inform and help guide potential applicants through the licensing process and the documentation they will need to apply;

  • In collaboration with MakeGreenGo!, social equity applicants can sign up to participate in free educational program modules. These modules provide an introduction to business concepts such as financing, marketing, taxes and business planning. 
  • The Department of Commerce is developing a roster of mentors and facilitators to support social equity licensees. Mentors will initially provide support services to any early-stage entrepreneurs interested in starting cannabis business enterprises, particularly those who have been historically impacted by high poverty and enforcement of cannabis prohibitions.

LCB Social Equity in Cannabis Website

Potential applicants should begin at the Social Equity section of the LCB website. The site provides a checklist of steps applicants can take now to prepare. As always, the LCB website is the central source of information regarding the Social Equity Program. Please visit the website to learn more about the program, view the DIA maps and access the training provided.