cannabis plant flower bud

How Many Social Equity Cannabis Business Licenses Will Be Issued In Delaware?

Last year, Delaware approved adult-use cannabis legalization, including retail sales. Legal recreational cannabis sales are expected to launch in Delaware in the spring of 2025. Lawmakers in Delaware first legalized cannabis for medical use back in 2011.

Part of Delaware’s legalization model involves issuing social equity business licenses. Delaware has the following qualification criteria for social equity business licenses:

  • Social equity applicants must have 51% ownership and control of the business
  • Must have resided for at least five out of the last 15 years in a disproportionately impacted area (map expected this summer)
  • Previously convicted of, or found delinquent of, a cannabis-related offense under Delaware law before April 23, 2023 (with some exceptions)
  • Had a parent, legal guardian, child, spouse or dependent who was convicted of or found delinquent for a marijuana-related offense under Delaware law before April 23, 2023 (with some exceptions)

Out of the 125 adult-use cannabis business licenses to be issued in Delaware, 47 of them will be social equity licenses. The Delaware social equity application fee is offered at the discounted rate of $1,000, and the two-year social equity and microbusiness licenses issued by the Delaware Office of the Marijuana Commissioner are offered at a discounted fee of $4,000.

As of fall 2023, Delaware’s medical cannabis program had roughly 29,000 patients enrolled, and six different companies currently operate 12 licensed medical cannabis dispensaries in the state. In 2023, Delaware’s legal medical cannabis industry sold over $53.8 million worth of medical cannabis products.

“This included smokable flower sales of $28.3M, which represents 2,625,742.04 grams (5,788.8 pounds) at an average price of $10.80 per gram. Smokable flower was the most popular marijuana product type, making up 52.3% of purchases, followed by inhalable products at 29.2%, edible products like gummies and baked goods were 13.6% and topicals and tinctures were 4.9% of sales.” the Delaware Office of the Marijuana Commissioner stated in a 2023 report.

In 2023, Delaware’s medical cannabis patients “spent an average of $3,303 per year on marijuana products” according to the 2023 report.

“When that is compared to the conservative, projected adult use recreational purchase population of 85,000 the estimated annual sales would be $281M with potential tax revenues of $42M.” the report also stated.

The United States adult-use cannabis industry has generated over $20 billion in total tax revenue since the first legal recreational cannabis purchase was made in Colorado on January 1st, 2014 according to a report by the Marijuana Policy Project.

“Through the first quarter of 2024, states have reported a combined total of more than $20 billion in tax revenue from legal, adult-use cannabis sales. In 2023 alone, legalization states generated more than $4 billion in cannabis tax revenue from adult-use sales, which is the most revenue generated by cannabis sales in a single year.” the Marijuana Policy Project stated in a press release.

79% of people living in the United States lived in a county with at least one regulated cannabis dispensary according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. The Pew Research Center also found the following:

  • 74% of people in the U.S. live in a state where recreational or medical cannabis is legal
  • There are nearly 15,000 cannabis dispensaries in the U.S.
  • California has the most overall dispensaries (3,659)
  • Oklahoma has the most dispensaries per capita (36 dispensaries for every 100,000 residents)

Total legal cannabis sales in the United States are expected to reach $31.4 billion in 2024 according to a recent analysis by Whitney Economics. Additionally, leading cannabis jobs platform Vangst, in conjunction with Whitney Economics, estimates that the legal cannabis industry now supports 440,445 full time-equivalent cannabis jobs in the United States.

Whitney Economics also projects the following legal cannabis sales figures in the United States for the coming years:

  • 2024: $31.4 billion (9.1% growth from 2023)
  • 2025: $35.2 billion (12.1% growth from 2024)
  • 2030: $67.2 billion
  • 2035: $87.0 billion

The emerging legal cannabis industry in the United States is projected to add roughly $112 billion to the nation’s economy in 2024 according to an analysis by MJBiz Daily. The projection is part of the company’s 2024 MJBiz Factbook.

“The total U.S. economic impact generated by regulated marijuana sales could top $112.4 billion in 2024, about 12% more than last year,” MJBiz stated in its initial reporting.