How to Start a Marijuana Delivery Service in Washington D.C.

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Medical and recreational cannabis are both legal in Washington DC. The cap for dispensaries, delivery services, and other businesses have been reached meaning D.C. is not currently taking applications for new cannabis businesses.

In case the application window does open again, it is still a good idea to be informed of how to open a cannabis delivery business in DC. Read on to find out how to do this.

Legalization in Washington DC

When was cannabis made legal

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Washington DC legalized both medical and recreational cannabis on November 4, 2014, via Initiative 71, which passed by overwhelming majority. There are currently a total of three dispensaries and five cultivation centers operating in DC. They received the first licenses for cultivation and selling cannabis. Since then, new applications have not been accepted.

The Department of Health regulates and monitors the licensing and operations of these businesses.

How many Cannabis Businesses in DC?

Washington DC only accepted applications from 2013-2014. Applications are no longer being accepted at this time. When they were, however, only three dispensaries were allowed to run their businesses in D.C. No new application window has been announced at this time.

What is DC’s Cannabis Market Worth?

How much money is there in the delivery market

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DC regularly sees 100 thousand regular customers at their various dispensaries. According to the Department of Health Regulation and Licensing, there are 5,219 medical cannabis patients in DC. It is estimated that each of those 100 thousand spend, 1,000 annually on cannabis, so the market ends up being worth about 100 million, which is quite a lot for an area the size of DC.

Delivery Owner Requirements

Delivery businesses do not operate by themselves in Washington D.C., so any delivery service you start will have to be as part of a legal dispensary. The licensing process is currently closed, meaning no new applications are being accepted. In the event that the application process does reopen, you should bear in mind that local authorities have the right to veto any cannabis businesses, so check your local laws.

Financial Requirements

Financial requirements for opening and operating a cannabis business in Washington D.C. can be quite exorbitant. The annual registration fee is 10 thousand dollars. The one-time application processing fee costs 5 thousand. An onsite growing operation would cost you another ten grand.

Other fees include annual registration for employees ($75), managers ($150), as well as directors, members, officers, incorporators, or agents ($200). To delivery service requires a transport fee of only 25 dollars.

Licensing Requirements

Those hoping to open a delivery service will first need to apply for a transportation license as well as meet all of the other licensing requirements. Even following these rules, however, it is currently not possible to obtain a license because no new applications are being accepted.

What is My Expected Profit?

Cannabis delivery services in Washington DC are not considered separate businesses. On that consideration, dispensaries can easily make anywhere from 50 thousand a year to millions of dollars.


Obtaining the license and the necessary funds can take quite some time. You can expect the whole process to take a year or more. At this time, Washington DC is not currently accepting new applications, so obviously the process will take even longer.

Consulting Companies

These consulting companies can help you get on the road to starting your own cannabis delivery service in D.C.


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