What’s Going On With Cannabis Industry Licensing In The US?

By Benzinga Staff Writer, The Fresh Toast on

Published in Cannabis Daily

Because of the popularity of legalization, many states with limited sales or unclear laws may be changing in the near future.

By Tia Moskalenko

The United States presents a unique perspective on the legality of cannabis. It is not yet legal on a federal level, and yet each state is permitted to legalize its use and production to whatever level they deem appropriate. This leads to a lot of confusion, grey areas, unequal enforcement of laws, and other problems.

However, there is a faint light visible at the end of the tunnel. Public opinion has been quickly shifting toward the legalization of cannabis and hemp. And while lawmakers tend to be more conservative on the issue, they are ageing out of power.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the licensing and legality of cannabis legislation. We’ll share what is happening state-by-state, what the issues are, and how they are being overcome. Licensing Cannabis in the United States Because there is no comprehensive law regarding the sale of cannabis, licensing procedures vary from state to state. Each state has its own set of laws that allow the production and use of cannabis and hemp products at a differing degree — some have opened the door to recreational THC use, others allow medical. Some allow CBD, but not THC. Some allow one analog of THC, but not another.

Due to this legal complexity, there is no official guide to licensing agencies by state… you just sort of have to research for yourself on an individual basis. However, knowing this information is extremely important for the very reason it’s difficult to find–because of the complexity behind licensing laws.


When purchasing a CBD or THC product from a source, as a consumer, you want to know that what you’re doing is legitimate where you currently are. And if you are trying to create a cannabis business, it’s even more important. What can you grow, and how much? Can it be transported over state lines?

There are licenses that can be acquired for both medical and recreational cannabis, respectively. You need to know just where you plan to produce and sell so you are aware of what laws may pertain to your business. Some states aren’t even offering the opportunity to apply for licenses at the present time. A State-by-State Guide There are fifty states to get through, so we’ll group them carefully by their current legal status. We’ll get a little more in-depth for the states that have more issues plaguing the licensing process. The Fully Legal States In the following states, cannabis is completely legal in all forms for both medical and recreational purposes.

Alaska — apply online for a Marijuana Establishment License

Arizona — Arizona DHS accepts periodic applications. Must be set up as a medical dispensary


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