The marijuana industry grew exponentially during 2018, with the total number of active marijuana licenses for cultivation, processing, distribution, and testing growing by 82% from 9,522 licenses on January 1, 2018 to 17,350 licenses as of December 10, 2018.
With the launch of California’s adult-use cannabis market and Oklahoma’s issuance of more than 2,000 licenses in just a few months, the number of marijuana licenses in those two states alone jumped from zero in January 2018 to more than 7,300 licenses in December.
Marijuana License Growth in 2018
Distributor licenses saw the most growth followed by cultivator licenses and delivery licenses:
- Distributor: 205% growth
- Cultivator: 114% growth
- Delivery: 110% growth
- Manufacturer: 46% growth
- Dispensary/Retailer: 45% growth
- Testing: 38% growth
Number of Marijuana Licenses in January 2018
In January of 2018, the majority of active marijuana licenses in the United States were held by cultivators, followed by dispensaries/retailers and manufacturers as follows:
- Distributor: 270 licenses
- Cultivator: 4,106 licenses
- Delivery: 250 licenses
- Manufacturer: 1,986 licenses
- Dispensary/Retailer: 2,794 licenses
- Testing: 116 licenses
- Microbusiness: 0 licenses
Number of Marijuana Licenses in December 2018
Fast forward to December 2018, and cultivators still held the most marijuana licenses across the country followed by dispensaries/retailers and manufacturers:
- Distributor: 824 licenses
- Cultivator: 8,781 licenses
- Delivery: 524 licenses
- Manufacturer: 2,899 licenses
- Dispensary/Retailer: 4,042 licenses
- Testing: 160 licenses
- Microbusiness: 120 licenses
What’s Coming in 2019?
With more states launching medical and recreational marijuana programs, news from Florida that Governor-elect Ron Desantis might change regulations to remove medical marijuana license caps, and rumblings that lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are becoming more open to descheduling cannabis, you can expect the growth in marijuana licenses to continue for the foreseeable future. Cannabiz Media will be tracking it all in the Cannabiz Media License Database.
Ed Keating is a co-founder of Cannabiz Media and oversees our data research and government relations efforts. He has spent his whole career working with and advising information companies in the compliance space. Ed has overseen complex multijurisdictional product lines in the securities, corporate, UCC, safety, environmental and human resource markets and focuses on workflow products. Ed has spent the last twenty five years in the information industry. During that time he has worked for both startup and established information companies where he has led marketing, product management and sales organizations. These companies include Wolters Kluwer/Commerce Clearing House, CT Corporation, EDGAR Online and Business & Legal Reports. At Cannabiz Media Ed enjoys the challenge of working with regulators across the country as he and his team gather corporate, financial, and license information to track the people, products and businesses in the cannabis economy. Ed graduated from Hamilton College and received his MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. He has been active with the Software & Information Industry Association for his whole career and managed the Content Division for six years. He’s was recently a Trustee at the Country School in Madison CT and a Little League Coach for seven years.