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Know the Law...Before Incorporating Liquor, Cannabis, & Gambling Into Your Event

Posted Jul 17, 2018 01:35 PM
Nonprofits in Washington raise millions each year from fundraisers, auctions, and raffles. But – whoa Nelly! – before you plan your next event, read this helpful toolkit.

Put together by Washington Nonprofits, Wayfind, and the Office of the Secretary of State, in partnership with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, this toolkit and accompanying video explain how to legally integrate marijuana, liquor, and gambling into your fundraising events.

It is important to recognize that lots of fun and creative event and fundraising ideas are – in fact – illegal. Do you know... the implications of doing an event that is open to the public? That you cannot advertise your ticket price as including complimentary drinks? Or
that alcohol can only be a raffle prize at a members-only raffle? Putting out a pitcher of beer?  That is not allowed by state liquor laws.

And even though the state of Washington legalized the sale of recreational marijuana in 2012, incorporating certain cannabis-based products into these activities still comes with legal limitations.

Nonprofits are allowed to host certain types of gambling activities for fundraising purposes. But there are lots of rules.
Read the Washington State Gambling Commission guidelines on what kinds of gambling are allowed and which are not allowed by law.

For example, nonprofits can host a raffle if they’ve been operating for at least 12 months and exist for non-lobbying social purposes. If your organization plans to hold multiple raffles in the same calendar year, you must apply for a raffle license. All gambling must be officially hosted by a 501(c)3.

Gambling laws in WA State may change this month, so please subscribe to
Washington Nonprofits’ Policy Action Alerts and Updates emails to be in-the-know about the latest developments.