Despite only having been legal for a little over a year, (October 2018), the medical marijuana business in Oklahoma is booming. The demand for and sale of, medical marijuana has far outstripped any projections from the city, Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority and even suppliers had made.
Data released by the Oklahoma Tax Commission has shown that sales of medical marijuana in the state exceeded $258 million in the first ten months of this year. New projections have sales exceeding $350 million by year end, increasing further during 2020.
Despite being late to the party, demand in Oklahoma has surpassed states that had already legalized medical cannabis. States like Illinois, Maryland and Ohio all had a strong start and are showing rapid growth but have been eclipsed by Oklahoma.
As of November 1, licensed users of medical cannabis have surpassed 210,000 with more applications awaiting processing. The initial estimate of applications stood at around 25,000 for 2019. We are likely to see ten times that estimate by year end.
That number, 210,000 is almost 5% of the state’s population. That’s more licensed users per head than any other state in the country.
Some of this growth has been attributed to Oklahoma’s ‘friendly’ free market system that allows for unlimited business licenses, accessible industrial premises, straightforward compliance and regulations and the prevention of zoning restrictions from local authorities which may impact the industry.
Doctors can also recommend medical marijuana for any condition they like.
The combination of this, plus an open willingness to use medical marijuana has resulted in huge growth in the state. As of November 2019, there were license applications from:
- 4,931 medical cannabis growers.
- 1,415 medical cannabis processors.
- 2,168 dispensaries.
It isn’t clear whether all of these licenses have resulted in operating businesses but the number of applications is impressive!
The combination of being business friendly, allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana however they like and the number of businesses popping up to supply this demand means the industry in Oklahoma is going to keep growing from strength to strength. While it will of course reach saturation at some point, it is likely to be a long time yet before we see it!