The number of temporary marijuana licenses issued in California is still growing, but as Cannabiz Media continues to track the numbers from the Cannabiz Media Licenses Database, we’re seeing some changes happening.

At the start of the year, we saw an explosion in the number of marijuana licenses in California with the long-awaited opening of the adult-use cannabis market. While the license growth rate has decreased since then, it certainly hasn’t stopped. Below is a discussion about the changes, and at the end of this article, you can find an infographic with the key data.

Marijuana License Growth in the First Six Months of 2018

In California, the number of temporary marijuana licenses granted to businesses during the first six months of 2018 grew by 402% from 1,272 licenses on January 17th to 6,421 licenses on June 30th. Cultivation licenses saw the most growth by a very wide margin as the details below show:

  • Cultivation licenses: 1001% growth rate (from 349 to 3,844 licenses)
  • Manufacturing licenses: 175% growth rate (from 302 to 830 licenses)
  • Retail/Dispensary licenses: 113% growth rate (from 321 to 683 licenses)
  • Distributor licenses: 263% growth rate (from 176 to 638 licenses)
  • Delivery licenses: 252% growth rate (from 52 to 183 licenses)
  • Microbusiness licenses: 160% growth rate (from 57 to 148 licenses)
  • Testing licenses: 107% growth rate (from 15 to 31 licenses)
  • Event licenses: From 0 on January 17, 2018 to 64 on June 30, 2018

Note that California didn’t start issuing event licenses until May 2018 when the first 35 were issued.

Marijuana License Growth between Q1 and Q2 2018

Overall, we saw the bulk of the California’s marijuana license growth since January 2018 happen during the first quarter of the year. However, there was still an increase in all license types during the second quarter of 2018.

It’s also important to point out that the number of licenses issued during May and June 2018 grew by only 6%. This is partly because rules new released in May allow applicants to complete one license application and obtain a single license to conduct both medicinal and adult-use cannabis activity. Prior to the release of these rules, applicants were required to obtain separate licenses for medicinal and adult-use cannabis activity.

Q1 2018 Growth Rates

Here is the breakdown of marijuana license growth in California during the first quarter of 2018:

  • Cultivation licenses: 782% growth rate (from 349 to 3,077 licenses)
  • Manufacturing licenses: 126% growth rate (from 302 to 682 licenses)
  • Retail/Dispensary licenses: 110% growth rate (from 184 to 675 licenses)
  • Distributor licenses: 248% growth rate (from 321 to 613 licenses)
  • Delivery licenses: 219% growth rate (from 57 to 166 licenses)
  • Microbusiness licenses: 126% growth rate (from 52 to 129 licenses)
  • Testing licenses: 80% growth rate (from 15 to 27 licenses)
  • Event licenses: 0 (event licenses were not issued until the second quarter of 2018)

Q2 2018 Growth Rates

Here is the breakdown of marijuana license growth in California during the second quarter of 2018:

  • Cultivation licenses: 25% growth rate (from 3,077 to 3,844 licenses)
  • Manufacturing licenses: 22% growth rate (from 682 to 830 licenses)
  • Retail/Dispensary licenses: 1% growth rate (from 675 to 683 licenses)
  • Distributor licenses: 4% growth rate (from 613 to 638 licenses)
  • Delivery licenses: 10% growth rate (from 166 to 183 licenses)
  • Microbusiness licenses: 15% growth rate (from 129 to 148 licenses)
  • Testing licenses: 15% growth rate (from 27 to 31 licenses)
  • Event licenses: From 0 on April 1, 2018 to 64 on June 30, 2018

California Marijuana Licenses Compared to the Rest of the United States

As of June 30, 2018, California accounted for 40% of active marijuana licenses nationwide. The breakdown below shows California’s share of marijuana licenses by type:

  • Cultivation licenses: 48% are in California
  • Manufacturing licenses: 29% are in California
  • Retail/Dispensary licenses: 20% are in California
  • Distributor licenses: 75% are in California
  • Delivery licenses: 41% are in California
  • Microbusiness licenses:100% are in California
  • Testing licenses: 22% are in California
  • Event licenses: 100% are in California

The data above shows that for the 15,901 marijuana licenses issued in the United States as of June 30, 2018, more than one out of three of those licenses (6,421) are in California. In addition, 48% of all marijuana cultivation licenses are in California as are 29% of all marijuana manufacturing licenses and 23% of all marijuana retail, dispensary, and delivery licenses.

Take a look at the infographic below to see a visualization of this data from the Cannabiz Media License Database.

california marijuana licenses infographic Q1 Q2 2018

The Future of Marijuana Licenses in California

Be sure to subscribe to the Cannabis Media newsletter so you don’t miss future updates to this data and more information about marijuana licenses in California. And if you’d like to see the Cannabiz Media License Database in action, contact us to schedule a free demo.

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.