Cannacurio #74: New License Summary 2023 Q1

Over the last few weeks, we have reviewed the new store, cultivation, and manufacturing licenses issued in Q1 2023. In this post, we will highlight the overall trends and spotlight the changes occurring in Oklahoma as the moratorium finally took effect. We have included April 2023 data for Oklahoma to show the continuing impact.

In looking at the total number of active licenses for the quarter, the count is down by 0.9%. The graph below shows the impact of fewer cultivation licenses being issued and/or not renewing. Manufacturing and stores show slight increases.

Key Findings

  • 1,619 new store, manufacturing, and cultivation licenses were added in Q1.  
  • 27 states added stores, 15 added manufacturing licenses, and only 14 added cultivation licenses.
  • Total active licenses are down 0.9% in the quarter with cultivation down 4.9%; manufacturing up 3%, and dispensary/retail up 4.9%.



602 new cultivation licenses were issued in Q1 2023 by 14 states. 56% of these were in Oklahoma. However, the rate of issuance has dropped drastically. In April 2023, only six new Oklahoma cultivation licenses were issued – accounting for a mere 3.4% of total US cultivation licenses issued during the month.


A similar story plays out with new manufacturing licenses. Oklahoma accounted for 70% of the newly issued manufacturing licenses in Q1, but as with cultivation, the number declined every month. In fact, in April (Q2), the number dropped to just four new licenses.


680 new dispensary/retail licenses were issued in Q1 2023. Oklahoma was responsible for almost half. As with cultivation and manufacturing, the rate of issuance in Oklahoma dropped throughout the quarter. The downward trend continued into April (Q2) when only six Oklahoma dispensary licenses were issued.

Oklahoma – The Moratorium Arrives

Industry watchers have been tracking the impact of the Oklahoma moratorium since it was announced last summer. It was scheduled to go into effect on August 1 and then it was kicked out to August 26. The specifics are that it can run for two years or be ended earlier. It appears that the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) must have been working through a big backlog as September 2022 was one of their biggest months for issuing new licenses. The following graph shows the decline from 561 new licenses in January to just 16 in April.

Putting aside Oklahoma’s licenses below, it is interesting to see that almost half (49%) of all the licenses issued in the rest of the country were for stores. The percentage was only 37% in Oklahoma. Undoubtedly, there are many factors at play – new programs in other states adding stores – but it could also be setting the stage for Oklahoma’s “export” industry, which needs no in-state distribution.


With Oklahoma’s new license issuance a distant memory, we expect to see California and Michigan at the top of the leaderboards. We will also be monitoring Alabama’s new license issuance as well as the progress in New York. Florida has promised new licenses with hefty fees, and Delaware and Maryland will be setting up their adult use programs. We will dig back into all these markets with our Q2 review in July.  


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.

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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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