Upcoming Cannabis Business Licensing Opportunities Across the U.S.
By Jerrico Perez
May 22, 2023
Opportunities for growth across the nation are currently abundant for cannabis businesses, and our experienced team is here to help you navigate these increasingly complex and competitive licensing processes. With more winning merit-based applications than any other law firm in the country, our team’s work ethic, dedication, and experience will help elevate your application above the competition and set your business up for long-term success. In addition to the states below, there are currently ongoing application processes in Mississippi, New Jersey, Vermont, New Mexico, and more.
Legalizing adult-use cannabis sales in December 2022, the Missouri Division of Cannabis Regulation will issue 48 adult-use microbusiness licenses in October 2023 via a qualified lottery, with six licenses available in each of Missouri’s eight congressional districts. The application will become available on June 6, 2023, and applications will be accepted from July 27 - August 10.
Connecticut's second round lottery for adult-use licensing is expected to commence in the fall of 2023, once the Department of Consumer Protection incorporates any statutory changes resulting from this year's legislative session.
New York adult-use licensing is expected to open in the fall of 2023 following the adoption of final adult-use regulations. The Office of Cannabis Management will provide 30 days' notice before applications become available.
Maryland will hold a qualified lottery in fall 2023, with the goal of issuing 220 adult-use licenses for cultivators, processors, dispensaries, and incubator spaces by January 1, 2024. The first licensing round is reserved for qualifying social equity applicants. A second round of licensing, to begin on or after May 1, 2024, will issue an additional 335 adult-use licenses, including on-site consumption licenses.
U.S. Virgin Islands
After legalizing adult-use cannabis in December of 2022, the U.S. Virgin Islands will open up a competitive, merit-based licensing process for a limited number of licenses and permits. Rules governing the program and the application process must be published by the end of June 2023, and licenses must be issued no later than 12 months after. Licensing is anticipated to begin at the end of 2023 or early 2024.
Minnesota is poised to become the 23rd state in the U.S. to legalize cannabis for adult use. The bill has been sent to the Governor’s desk, and he has pledged to sign it. We can expect a competitive licensing process to begin in early 2024 for adult-use cannabis, medical cannabis, and hemp business licenses.
Delaware legalized adult-use cannabis in April 2023 and will begin accepting applications for four license types in Spring 2024. These will be highly competitive applications, as there are limited licenses available in each category, a portion of which must be issued to qualifying social equity applicants.
In March 2023, Kentucky became the 38th state to legalize medical cannabis. The state must establish regulations and create an application by July 1, 2024.
In April 2023, 74 hopeful Florida applicants submitted applications for vertically integrated MMTC licenses. If you are still interested in applying, the state may hold another application round for two to six additional licenses later this year, depending on litigation and patient count.
Prospects are strong that a medical marijuana bill will pass this year. The NC Compassionate Care Act was passed by the Senate on March 1, 2023, and is currently with the House Committee. While changes may still be made to the proposed legislation, the current bill would authorize the licensure of 10 vertically integrated medical marijuana suppliers, each of which would be permitted to open eight dispensaries.
On May 17, 2023, nearly a year to the day after the Rhode Island Cannabis Act (“RICA”) passed, Governor Dan McKee announced his appointment to the Cannabis Control Commission. The Rhode Island Senate is now tasked with advising and consenting to these appointments before the Commission can begin the work of implementing Rhode Island’s adult-use program, including the promulgation of adult-use cannabis regulations. Notably, RICA calls for the addition of 24 new retail licenses. Vicente LLP is tracking developments, including the timing of licensing opportunities as well as application requirements.
Vicente Economics and Research Services
It is never too early to start preparing your business plans for upcoming markets! Vicente’s Economics and Research Department is excited to offer detailed consumer analyses, maps of geographic competition and addressable markets, as well as pro forma templates designed for new medical and adult-use licensing opportunities—all customized for your specific business plans. Propel your business with our market-tested financial planning tools by contacting Vicente's director of economics and research, Andrew Livingston.
Vicente LLP closely monitors cannabis licensing opportunities across the country to provide up-to-date information for our clients. If you are interested in new opportunities in cannabis, please contact us.