Cannacurio #71: Dispensary and Retailer 2023 Q1 Leaderboard

Now that Q1 has wrapped up, we want to share our quarterly round-up of which states issued the most dispensary/retailer licenses. Our 2022 recap showed that 2,750 licenses were issued, and four states accounted for 66% of the newly issued licenses in 2022. The first quarter of 2023 shows Oklahoma responsible for 47% of the 699 new licenses nationwide – despite their license “moratorium”.  

Key Findings

  • The total number of licenses increased 4.9% with 546 net new stores nationwide.
  • 5 states accounted for 75% of these licenses: OK, MI, FL, CA and NM.
  • Oklahoma accounted for 332 (47%) of the newly issued licenses with Michigan in second accounting for 81 (11.6%).

Despite similar total numbers in Q122 and Q123, the trend lines could not be more different. Even if Oklahoma is removed, the trend line for 2023 is still downward. We will experience an uptick as more stores come on line in new and expanding markets.

No post about dispensaries and stores can ignore Oklahoma. The state is still home to the largest collection of stores in the nation. Despite a moratorium in September of 2022, the number of stores has not dropped. Q1 of 2023 shows a downward trend – but we’ve seen this before.


In looking across the 699 new licenses, it is illuminating to see which companies added stores. Based on the Cannabiz Media License Database, here are the 16 companies that added 4 or more licenses in Q12023:

Finally, the table below shows the final Cannabiz Media tally of dispensary/retail licenses for March 31, 2023.


Comparing the above table with the year end numbers from 2022, total store/dispensary licenses are up 4.9%. We’ve already added 146 licenses in Q2 – with New York being the big driver. 

The other trend we are assiduously monitoring is the unlicensed market. We estimate there are thousands of these businesses in states that have signaled they won’t be shut down. The store story is far from over!


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.  

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.

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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