New micros outpaced standard cannabis licences in 2023, while revocations of both increased

| David Brown

Canadian cannabis production licence revocations and expirations picked up steam in 2023 as some producers threw in the towel, but they were still slightly outpaced by new licence holders entering the arena. 

There were 154 new licences issued in 2023, and 133 licences revoked at the request of the licence holders or allowed to expire by the licence holder. There were also two licences suspended.

Of those new production licences, micros outpaced standard licences, with 93 new micros, 57 new standard, and four new cannabis nursery licences. 

New cannabis licences in Canada, 2023

Of the revocations, 60 were standard licences, 41 were micros, and six were nurseries. Of the 26 licence expiries, 13 were standard, and 13 were micros. Both suspended licences are/were standard licence holders. One was later revoked at the request of the licence holder, while the other remains suspended. 

New, revoked/expired, and suspended Canadian cannabis licences, 2023

Ontario is home to the most commercial cannabis production licences with 30%, followed closely by BC (25%), and Quebec (21%). Combined, these three provinces represent more than 75% of all licences in Canada. The Yukon is the only of Canada’s three Territories with a federal cannabis production licence, Arctic Pharm.

PEI has the most producers on a per-capita basis, with one for every 22,000 people, followed by BC with one producer for every 24,000, and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia with one for every 32,000 residents.

Newfoundland had the least number of producers on a per-capita basis, with one for every 77,000 residents followed by Manitoba with one for every 64,000 residents, and Ontario with one for every 55,000 residents. With 951 federal licences and a population of nearly 40.5 million people, Canada has approximately one licence for every 43,000 residents.

As of December 31, 2023, there were 951 federal cannabis production licences in Canada. Of those, 481 are standard licence holders, 407 are micros, another 25 are cannabis nurseries, and 38 are authorized for medical sales only. (Note: Health Canada’s list currently includes nearly 50 revoked, expired, and suspended licences, bringing the total number of licence holders on their list to over 1,000)

  • Cultivation – 75
  • Processing – 117
  • Cultivation/Processing – 289
  • Micro-Cultivation – 238
  • Micro-Processing – 45
  • Micro-Cultivation/Micro-Processing – 124
  • Nursery – 25
  • Medical Sales Only – 38

According to Health Canada’s figures, since October 17, 2018,  there have been 240 licences revoked at the request of the licence holder, three revoked by Health Canada, and 39 allowed to expire by the licence holder, for a total of 282 inactivated licences (and one currently suspended).

Featured image of Jazz Cabbage, a micro cannabis cultivator and processor in Nova Scotia

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