Oklahoma’s medical marijuana scene is booming
Marijuana news is all over the internet, and for good reason too. With an industry pushing a harmless plant that has been subjected to demonization and fear, it’s time to see it for what it is.
Marijuana seems to be the answer to the money crisis, but it will also help alleviate some of the low-grade marijuana arrests that have prisons full to the brim.
How big and how fast is this?
There is a whole lot of cash flowing into Oklahoma right now. In April alone Oklahomans spent $18 million on medical marijuana, according to the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
More than 129,000 people have applied for their medical marijuana licenses since the Medical Marijuana Authority began issuing them, while more than 5000 have applied for their business licenses.
Adrienne Rollins is Oklahoma’s director of the Medical Marijuana Authority, and after reviewing other state statistics, believed they were likely to get 80,000 patients by the end of the first year. She then stated, “We are on the path to hit 150,000 easily by the end of the first year.”
Oklahoma makes it a bit easier for a patient to obtain a license as there are no specific conditions in order to qualify.
Kalin Bellmard, who is with the Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Association says, “Within the first year, we’ve already surpassed business licenses that Colorado took, I think, 10 years to get.”
While the numbers are climbing and more businesses are opening, the market hasn’t even crested yet.
Oklahoma is an old country state with old time morals, so it’s up to the new generation to spread the knowledge of how cannabis can help.
There are some business owners that are not willing to rent to dispensary owners. Even going as far as putting “no dispensaries” in bold letters on the for lease sign.
Another struggle is finding banks that are willing to help out the dispensaries.
Oklahoma City attorney J. Blake Johnson states, “They have difficulty accessing any banking relationships, either to deposit their revenue or pay their bills.” Banks are worried about the legal implications since it’s still classed as Schedule 1 federally.
HR 1595, also known as the SAFE Banking Act, hopes to change that. It creates protections to service providers and financial institutions like insurance companies, who wish to do business with the marijuana industry.
The Unity Bill
On March 12, 2019, the Governor of Oklahoma created the Medical Marijuana Use and Protection Act. This created a system for implementing dispensary licenses and brings clarity on being a medical marijuana user, while also being an employee.
Balances patient protection and safety concerns
The bill was intended to bring together medical marijuana users, law enforcement, and companies by creating a system to regulate patients and businesses. It also protects the public from those working under the influence of marijuana on “safety-sensitive” jobs.
Limits on discipline in the workplace
It also prevents discrimination from an employer, current or future. As long as the patient has a medical marijuana card, and they don’t fall under the safety-sensitive job title, they are well protected.
However, the employer can still prevent the patient from bringing marijuana onto the premises or using the medicine at work. But, if you fail a U.A. after smoking on the premises or at a safety-sensitive job, that’s grounds for termination.
Medical marijuana has only been legal for a very short time and it seems the state is doing everything in its power to push it through.
The bill is projected to take effect in August 2019.
And why not?
With a billion dollar industry and a state that needs some serious help, it seems the lawmakers of Oklahoma have opened their eyes to the opportunities here.
Oklahoma is the only state in the U.S. where more grow licenses have been granted than processors and dispensaries combined.
Oklahoma’s boomer mentality
Oklahoma has been known to dive into new endeavors over the years.
Glenpool, Oklahoma is home to Black Gold Park, an area that went head first into a resource-based venture. When Oklahoma became a state in 1907, it produced more oil than any other territory in the country.
During the Oklahoma Land Run, cities of 10,000 people were born in a day. The Oklahoma Sooners got the nickname “Boomer Sooners” when the rush to settle the land began, before Oklahoma was a state and was still land that was unassigned.
This modern-day rush is nothing like anything in recent memory. It’s staggering to see how much is to be made in one month of business for a state. It goes to show how the Oklahomans can live up to their famous name.
Liberal aspects of the new law
When trying to obtain a license, all that’s needed is a prescription from a doctor, but unlike other states, there are no special conditions to meet. If a doctor believes you could benefit from cannabis use, they write you a prescription.
The new program is also very generous on what you can purchase and grow. Permit holders can possess up to three ounces on their person, one ounce of concentrated marijuana, six mature plants, six seedlings, 72 ounces of edible marijuana, and – wait for it – up to 8 ounces of ganja in their home!
As one concerned elected official put it, “Snoop Dogg can’t smoke or eat or take much marijuana in a 30 day supply.”
The Tulsa saturation
Owasso, which is a suburb of Tulsa, is home to seven dispensaries, eleven growers and five processors.
Adria Berry, who is vice president of Government Affairs at the State Chamber of Oklahoma, put these numbers into perspective. She concludes that there is one dispensary for every 69 patient licenses, and two growers for every one dispensary.
In this particular location, it means a sink or swim for certain businesses and possibly growers.
Oklahoma ‘free for all’
With all these businesses opening up, it seems like this is a booming business with endless possibilities.
Some caution should be taken when treading here. Unfortunately, it’s still illegal federally and with the influx of people trying to start a business, you should know the ins and outs before jumping in. You don’t want your business to cave on you.
If you’re a smoker with no expectations of starting a business, then it seems like you live in the right spot for very minimal restrictions to enjoy your plant.