Alert: LCB Rule Allows Certain Cashless Transactions

April 19, 2022

To:          Retail Cannabis Licensees

Fr:           Liquor and Cannabis Board and Dept. of Financial Institutions

Re:         Cashless Retail Transactions

In the wake of recent robberies at cannabis retail stores, the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) has engaged elected leaders, law enforcement, and state agency partners to discuss how to reduce cash and risk in retail locations. One key agency partner is the Dept. of Financial institutions (DFI), which regulates financial institutions in Washington State.

LCB Rule Allows Certain Cashless Transactions

While retailers want to reduce their reliance on cash transactions, options are limited while cannabis remains a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance and the federal government does not act to allow banking for cannabis transactions. However, there are cashless options available that some retailers are currently using. This message is intended to clarify that certain cashless transactions are allowed.

There is concern in the industry about what kind of financial systems are allowed for retailers. The LCB developed WAC-314-55-117 to clarify what is allowed, but awareness of this rule has been slow to take hold. Essentially, the rule allows retailers to engage in business with third-party vendors to allow for cashless transactions with customers. Transactions may be conducted through an app on the customer’s phone.

DFI Website

In an effort to provide certainty for retailers, DFI has posted to its website lists of depository (banks and credit unions) and “non-depository institutions” that provide these services. DFI will continue to add businesses to this page as they become licensed, or in the case with some, DFI determines a license is not required.

We hope you find this message helpful. If you have follow up questions, please contact the appropriate DFI or LCB contact listed on the DFI Contact page.

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