Cannabis License Opportunities in the West For Q4 2023
The Latest in Western Cannabis Business Updates
With all eyes on new East Coast cannabis license opportunities for both medical and adult-use programs, it’s easy to forget the industry’s roots out West. We’ve recently shared cannabis opportunity updates in the Midwest, Northeast, and South so today we are turning our attention West; a land of mountains, redwoods, and plenty of cannabis. Not to mention, plenty of opportunities for that last point.
Arizona Cannabis Updates
2023 has not been the easiest year for multiple states cannabis programs, and this is especially the case for Arizona. Proposition 207, the Smart and Safe Act, was approved of by Arizona voters in 2020, paving the way for adult-use cannabis, and Arizona had the fastest roll out of any state with its adult-use program. How fast exactly? Prop 207 passed on election day, November 7, possession and cultivation of cannabis went into effect on November 30, and the first adult-use sale occurred on January 22, 2021. Talk about a record turnaround time!
However, this year saw a sales dip and individuals and business scramble for social equity licenses before an October deadline. The Bureau of Marijuana Licensing is not offering additional cannabis licenses currently, but there are still ways to find opportunities here. Individuals can look to see if their address for a cannabis operation would qualify for social equity status and we see a future where Arizona will be issuing more licenses, likely next year. So be prepared and be sure to act quickly, as we know Arizona has done in the past!
California Cannabis Updates
The land of Disney, redwoods, and Hollywood may be one of the largest and most mature cannabis states in the country with nearly 1,000 dispensaries. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still opportunities to open up shop in California. Recently, Ventura saw its first dispensary open and Riverside’s City Council approved a ballot measure which would allow for cannabis businesses with a framework for permitting, licensing, enforcement, taxation, and legal operations.
While the state may have a glut of product, there are still plenty of local opportunities to be found in municipalities across the state for dispensaries. Be sure to stay up to date on what is happening in your backyard and who knows! There very well may be a licensing window on the horizon for you.
Colorado Cannabis Updates
Similar to California, Canna Advisors home state of Colorado has no shortage of operating cannabis businesses, but that doesn’t mean things are slowing down. Sales since legalization just cracked $15 billion last month and towns like Dinosaur (you read that right) are poised to expand even further and become state hubs for cannabis.
Spas, hotels, and consumption lounges have begun popping up throughout the state recently and more are likely to emerge in the coming months. Now is a perfect opportunity for exploration and diversification of the industry in the state that started it all.
Nevada Cannabis Updates
Speaking of consumption, in comes Nevada. 15 consumption lounge licenses have been awarded by the state’s Cannabis Compliance Board with six having just been approved at the end of October. Coveted locations just-off the strip may be being gobbled up by massive multi-state operators, but individuals can still look forward to more licensing windows in the future.
With the state actively rolling out more licenses such as these for consumption lounges, we anticipate another application window to be in the pipeline. The good thing is, there will be a 45-day notice for this and individuals and business are encouraged to begin financial modeling and business planning prior to this. Better to be overprepared than underprepared.
Oregon Cannabis Updates
Like other states in the west, Oregon had its ups and downs in 2023. Cannabis operators have seen fewer water violations in the southern part of the state compared to last year, which is great, however the state, like California, has faced oversupply issues. Of the states here, Oregon may be having the toughest time with some calling it a “crisis” and that the state is “a wreck.”
But there is still hope. The next application window for new producer, wholesaler, retailer, and processor licenses will be made available on March 31, 2024. So, if you are interested in entering the market in Oregon, now is the perfect time to begin preparing for this application!
Washington Cannabis Updates
And last but not least, Washington (not to be confused with the other Washington, which also has plenty going on there!). This year the state has passed legislation to protect job seekers from discrimination based on off-duty cannabis use and more municipalities like Pasco have allowed for dispensaries to open up. Recently, over 40 social equity licenses that were forfeited, cancelled, revoked or never issued were announced to be awarded in specific jurisdictions across the state.
While some of the main cannabis license types do not have an application window, individuals can apply for a cannabis transportation and a research license today! So even in a state as mature as Washington, opportunities can still be found for new licenses.
Cannabis Opportunity Still Exists In The West – Take Advantage Now
Arguably the most mature region of the country, there are still plenty of opportunities to branch out and seize on new and exciting updates in some of the most populous and adventurous states in the country. This includes finding local opportunities to community engagement along with business development, financial modeling, and preparing for future licenses, which will be expanding and growing.