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Cannabis manufacturing licenses are issued at a slower rate than cultivation or retail licenses. However, they are important assets for companies because the products are often powerful brands. These brands, unlike licensed assets, can cross state lines and will undoubtedly help well-established businesses to thrive and gain market share.
We categorize a license as a manufacturer if it fits the following description: the license is for the processing (manufacturing) of marijuana products, such as edibles or concentrates, but does not include cultivation or sale retail to customers (flowering, product).
States are rarely in harmony when it comes to these licenses. In some jurisdictions, cultivation and manufacturing activities may be combined into a single license, such as in Connecticut and New Mexico. In other jurisdictions, such as Florida and New York, the licensee is required to do all cultivation, manufacturing, and sales with their license. Georgia and Alabama are also taking this oligopolistic route.
We ended 2021 with 5,735 manufacturing licenses, compared to 4,611 a year earlier. So far this year, states have added 241 more licenses in the first two months of the year.
Here is the ranking comparing year-end 2020, year-end 2021 and February 2022. As usual, the ranking is very concentrated with five states accounting for 77% of the licenses.
Some consider manufacturing one of the strengths of the cannabis value chain. You are not subject to the challenges of farming or commoditization nor do you have to deal with the thin margins of the retail space.
Manufacturers have the best opportunity to build a brand, making them an attractive part of the value chain for transplanted alcohol, packaged goods, and pharmaceuticals talent because it sounds familiar. As the MSOs continue to merge, it will be interesting to watch how they manage these assets – subject to any state caps. There are certainly concentrations of these licenses in older states and major markets.
About the Author
Ed Keating is co-founder of Cannabiz Media and oversees the company’s data research and government relations efforts. He has spent his career working with information companies and advising them in the area of compliance. Ed has managed product, marketing and sales while overseeing complex multi-jurisdictional product lines in the securities, corporate, UCC, safety, environmental and human resources markets.
At Cannabiz Media, Ed relishes the challenge of working with regulators around the world as he and his team gather corporate, financial and licensing information to track people, products and businesses in the cannabis economy. .
Ed is a graduate of 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 information about the most comprehensive licensing data platform. Find Cannacurio posts and podcasts for the latest updates and information.
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