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The Blooming Weed Industry Explained In Charts And Maps: Storefronts And Deliveries By The Numbers

Benzinga Cannabis

This is Part 2 of a two-part article series contributed by Thinknum Media. See Part 1 here.

The Distributors

So, where are people getting marijuana, whether it be for medicinal or recreational purposes?

Many who want to get marijuana legally turn to Weedmaps ($WEEDMAPS), a user-generated-content website "where businesses and consumers can search and discover cannabis products" among other services it offers. In layman's terms, it is the Google Maps of weed. It's the legitimate, web version of asking a friend who knows a guy who knows a guy's cousin who might sell marijuana.

Weedmaps tags locations for doctors, dispensaries, and delivery services from around the world on its website. For the sake of breaking down the weed industry in our own backyard, let's take a deeper dive into how many places one could get marijuana by doing a quick search on this website.

According to data scraped from April 17, 2019, the 12,675 location pins placed for services where one could get marijuana are in 41 states as well as Puerto Rico. While this may seem peculiar — only 33 states have legal marijuana laws for either medicinal, recreational, or both purposes — the others are states where CBD is legal for medicinal purposes, such as Texas.

Unsurprisingly, the states with the most services can be broken down by the order of when they legalized medical marijuana. For most of the states with the largest number of marijuana dispensaries, doctors, and delivery services, they have had the infrastructure in place for years or even decades.

State

Legalization Date(s)

Number of Services on Weedmaps

California

1996 (Medical), 2016 (Recreational)

7,557

Colorado

2000 (Medical), 2012 (Recreational)

864

Florida

2016 (Medical)

837

Oklahoma

2018 (Medical)

654

Oregon

1973 (First to decriminalize), 1998 (Medical), 2014 (Recreational)

621

Washington

1998 (Medical), 2012 (Recreational)

422

Michigan

2008 (Medical), 2018 (Recreational)

392

Arizona

2010 (Medical)

319

New York

2014 (Medical)

280

Massachusetts

2012 (Medical), 2016 (Recreational)

251

As seen here, Oklahoma sticks out like a growing weed among the pack, as it only fully-legalized medical cannabis last year. But in looking at how it legalized the drug —licensing began on August 25, 2018, just over two months after a ballot initiative passed — and how it passed a low-THC, high-CBD medical marijuana law back in 2015, it's clear to see how it could have 613 dispensaries and 41 doctors in such little time.

Another big outlier is Florida; it too passed a stricter medical marijuana law prior to 2016, and it is still running into trouble during its rollout for growers and businesses. It doesn't, however, have a shortage of doctors willing to prescribe the drug; 517 Doctors in Florida — more than half of the state's pins on Weedmaps — were listed, compared to 193 delivery services and 127 dispensaries. This also holds true for New York, which has five times the number of doctors than it has delivery services and dispensaries combined.

And, not to be remiss, Florida is home to Liberty Health Sciences' big American root, as the company expanded rapidly within state borders. That all allows it to have a high position among the states with the most medicinal marijuana services.

Breaking it down by specific type of service, weed delivery services outweigh dispensary locations and doctor locations. This is due to a large number of delivery services — 6,125 in total — that are in California.

Of course, due to medical marijuana being legal in more states, doctors, delivery services, and dispensaries that are for medical use only are more common than those for recreational use. When looking at the number of services per capita, Oklahoma sticks out as a state due to its population below the country's median and 654 individual services listed.

Meanwhile, looking at the recreational services per capita map is fairly expected for those who know an inkling about weed in America. Yes, there are thousands of services on the West Coast, a couple hundred in Colorado, and, in New England, a bloom in recreational outlets in Massachusetts and Maine

The Storefronts

We know who is making cannabis products and where they are sold, but what is also interesting is the marijuana industry on a micro scale.

First, marijuana products aren't only smoked. There are now oils, oral sprays, vape pens, pills, patches, edibles (i.e. marijuana-laced foods), and even more ways for someone to take this drug.

Before any legalization whatsoever, marijuana was sold on the streets by drug dealers and was all about "knowing a guy."

But, as any police officer or politician can tell you, street sales may come with a lot of issues. Besides it being, well, illegal, some dealers have reputations. Some may straight up rip people off. Others get in trouble with the law and they just don't show up anymore... Or might have a new "friend" who is watching over business. Or, in the absolute worst cases as seen in national horror stories, a dealer could knowingly or unknowingly sell marijuana laced with other drugs.

It's not every dealer, but in this day and age, the relaxation of marijuana laws and the influx of public companies stepping into the space makes an illegal drug deal that less tantalizing.

While there is very little data out there for the U.S. market — for good reason, due to legality — Canada has plenty of storefronts. Specifically, a few cannabis companies have online storefronts, with Tilray publicly listing where its products are sold in brick-and-mortar dispensaries as well.

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