Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program was born in 2018 when state residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of State Question 788, the country’s most progressive policy to date. Merely two years into existence, patients and business owners alike report gratifying experiences as Oklahoma’s expanding medical marijuana market stakes its claim in the global cannabis economy.
Oklahoma currently is the largest medical marijuana market in the world on a per capita basis, due to the state’s light regulations and low tax rates.
With no qualifying conditions required for an Oklahoma resident to be authorized to use medical cannabis, anyone over the age of 18 can obtain a valid physician recommendation from an Oklahoma-licensed doctor in good standing — even a podiatrist. Each patient pays a $100 licensing fee and Oklahoma even allows non-resident patients to apply for a 30-day temporary patient license.
As of this writing, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority reports that more than 325,000 active licenses have been issued for patients and caregivers — more than 8% of the state’s total population (the highest number of registered medical marijuana patients per capita in the country). The state also has nearly 10,000 active business licenses, as of July 1, 2020, with 5,970 growers, 2,113 processors, 1,407 processors, 24 transporters, 21 labs and 10 companies licensed for waste disposal.
For medical marijuana operations that are at least 75% owned by an Oklahoma resident, the path to licensing is simple. Unlike other states such as California that recognize dozens of different types of business licenses or subcategories, Oklahoma only recognizes six and places no limit on the number of licenses that can be held by a single entity or individual.
Additionally, ease of entry and startup costs in the Oklahoma medical market are drastically — even ridiculously — lower than other states (compare, for example, Oklahoma’s $2,500 business license fee with California, where business license fees can cost up to $240,000). Moreover, Oklahoma has zero plant limitations and zero limitations on the size of a grow facility or dispensary location.
The only mentionable restriction that comes up in common conversations is that the facility must be at least 1,000 feet from the entrance of a school.
Thanks to medical marijuana businesses being declared essential within a state that has long relied on its currently flailing oil and gas market, the new market is on pace to become a $750-million-a-year industry and has created a second Oklahoma Land Run.
Donald Gies III | Gies Law Firm, PLLC
Donald E. Gies III founded and manages Gies Law Firm, PLLC, primarily focusing on corporate cannabis law, with branches in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma. With extensive cannabis cultivation experience in the San Francisco Bay Area, Donald represents more than 50 Oklahoma medical marijuana businesses across the state with a unique understanding of complex issues touching cannabis law and the industry.