In Oklahoma’s freewheeling MED market, it’s said to be as easy to open a dispensary as a taco stand. The state, according to a recent piece in the New York Times, has more dispensaries than Colorado, Washington and Oregon combined.
- It has more pot farms than California, despite only one-tenth of the population.
- In the MED only market, about 10% of Oklahoma’s four million people has one.
But this lightly checked growth has also led to tensions, between the industry and the state’s social conservatism, as well as struggles over power, water and an increasingly vibrant illegal market.
- Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action, a group trying to get REC on the 2022 ballot, has sued New Approach PAC, another group trying to do the same. New Approach has successfully backed legalization efforts in several states.
- Gov. Kevin Stitt is pushing for reforms aimed at shrinking the illegal market.
- In his State of the State address last week, Stitt said voters were misled by language in the 2018 MED ballot initiative. It has “tied our hands as we regulate the industry,” he said. “This is causing major problems in our communities,”
- State lawmaker Rep. Rusty Cornwall has introduced a bill that would put a moratorium on new licenses.
Bottom Line: Problems in Oklahoma could be a bad look as the industry tries in grow in additional conservative states.