Growers Network Staff

September 6, 2018 5 min read
September 6, 2018
5 min read

Marijuana Licenses in California – Part 5: Growth and Comparisons to Other States

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Ed Keating of Cannabiz Media continues his series about cannabis licenses in California. Today we're looking at retailers, dispensaries, and delivery services.

See Part 1 here!
See Part 2 here!
See Part 3 here!
See Part 4 here!

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This article was originally published on Cannabiz Media. To see the original article, click here.

Growth and Comparisons

For the final portion of Cannabiz Media’s 5-part series about marijuana licenses in California, we review the state’s 2018 licensing growth and how it compares to other states.

A lot has changed in a short time since we’ve written this series of blog posts about marijuana licenses in California. Here are three important highlights:

  1. California issued over 5,000 marijuana licenses during the first quarter of 2018.
  2. That equates to 65 licenses issued per day. If this trend continues, there could be 20,000 California licenses by the end of 2018.
  3. California currently has more active marijuana licenses (5,369) than Colorado (3,206) and Oregon (1,792) combined.

The Cannabiz Media License Database currently shows that California has issued 5,369 licenses, which is more than double the approximately 2,000 licenses that were being tracked in the database at the end of January of 2018 and significantly greater than the 3,518 licenses that were issued when this series first began in March 2018. The chart below puts the growth rate into perspective.

Among the three regulators that have power with regards to cannabis licenses in California, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) – which is responsible for licensing cultivators – has experienced the greatest growth in its issuance of licenses since the beginning of March 2018 at 79% growth. The number of license issued by the Bureau of Cannabis Control (CBCC) – which is responsible for licensing adult-use and medicinal retailers, testing labs, and microbusinesses – increased by 32%, and the number of licenses issued by the Department of Public Health (CDPH) – which is responsible for licensing manufacturers – grew by 17%. The chart below shows this data visually.

The 5,369 currently active marijuana licenses are primarily cultivation licenses (3,099). As you can see in the chart below, there are also 682 active manufacturing licenses in California and 841 active retail, dispensing, and/or delivery licenses.

Of the licenses that have been issued as of the time of this post’s writing (April 2018), the distribution of issued licenses shows that there are more medicinal-use licenses than adult-use licenses in the state. You can see the distribution in the chart below. Please note that the data in the chart below does not include microlicenses. It will be interesting to revisit this data in the future to see how/if the distribution changes.

Related Notes: Want to learn more about microlicenses Check out this helpful article about vertically-integrated microbusinesses.

California Marijuana Licenses Compared to Licenses in Other States

At the time of writing (April 2018), there are 7,182 active marijuana cultivation licenses in our database from the United States, and 43% of them are located in California. Additionally, there are 2,748 active manufacturing licenses and 3,461 retail and dispensing licenses in the United States of which 27% and 23% (respectively) are Californian. You can see the breakdown in the chart below.

It’s important to understand that while the number of marijuana licenses in California is growing rapidly, the state is only issuing temporary licenses right now. Temporary licenses will start to expire at the end of April 2018 (each temporary license is valid only for 120 days from the date of issuance). When a temporary license expires, the license holder can apply for a 90-day extension if they’ve submitted a complete application for a regular license. This is something to watch in the coming months as things could look very different in the future.

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About the Author

Ed Keating is a co-founder of Cannabiz Media and oversees data research and government relations efforts. He has spent his whole career working with and advising information companies in the compliance space.