Cannacurio #54: Cultivation License Leaderboard


Periodically, we review new licenses added and total license counts by state. These census snapshots show where the new licenses are being created and where the balance of power is from market to market. Our customers use this information for go-to-market strategies as it may inform their sales territories, trade show planning, and marketing spend. The following table is the snapshot of new cultivation licenses added by month last year:

Key Findings 

  • California is characterized by large farms that hold many licenses – in some cases up to 300. The licensure system drives farmers to stack up licenses for their farms.
  • In Oklahoma, a license can be obtained for only $2,500, and there is no limit to how much cannabis you can grow.
  • California is heavily regulated with local ordinances, water, and land regulations as well as a functioning METRC system.  
  • Oklahoma is just getting their track and trace system off the ground after a lengthy lawsuit.
  • Michigan, as usual, comes in third. Oregon is next, but they are likely to announce a license cap shortly.

We also have the drumbeat of news coming out of Oklahoma on how regulators want to crack down on the black market cannabis economy. A recent raid targeted license-holding facilities that were diverting product out of state to California, North Carolina, Missouri, Indiana, and Texas. The raids netted an estimated 100,000 plants and over 2,000 pounds of processed marijuana. Adding to the drama, our last set of data from the state was lighter by 3,000 licenses.

The following table shows the total number of active licenses for year end 2021, January 2022, and February 2022. The most notable change is the massive drop-off of Oklahoma cultivation licenses:


Since Oklahoma started issuing licenses, the leaderboard has always been dominated by either Oklahoma or California. They are the only states with a double digit percentage of licenses.  That will probably not change anytime soon. 

However, we see the burgeoning east coast market slowly getting up and running and expect to see a thriving market between Pennsylvania all the way to Maine. The most interesting development will be how New York hemp growers transition to grow adult-use cannabis with the regulator’s permission. 

Cannabiz Media customers can stay up to date on these and other new licenses through our newsletters, alerts, and reports modules. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive these weekly reports delivered to your inbox. Or you can schedule a demo for more information on how to access the Cannabiz Media License Database yourself to dive further into this data.

About the Author

Ed Keating is a co-founder of Cannabiz Media and oversees the company’s data research and government relations efforts. He has spent his career working with and advising information companies in the compliance space. Ed has managed product, marketing, and sales while overseeing complex multijurisdictional product lines in the securities, corporate, UCC, safety, environmental, and human resource markets.  

At Cannabiz Media, Ed enjoys the challenge of working with regulators across the globe 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.

Cannacurio is a weekly column from Cannabiz Media featuring insights from the most comprehensive license data platform. Catch up on Cannacurio posts and podcasts for the latest updates and intel.

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