Medical cannabis sales are skyrocketing in Oklahoma, which is a direct result of the broad accessibility afforded to patients and businesses in the state. Even though there were some coordinated efforts from opponents to block advances to the state’s program, sales for last month surpassed $7 million. Few could have predicted this level of success when a ballot initiative legalized medical cannabis in Oklahoma back in June of 2018. Clearly, they are doing something right, as the state’s medical cannabis program is flourishing and showing no signs of slowing down.
This figure of $7 million is a definite increase from that of previous months. In December of 2018, total sales were at around $1 million. In January of this year, Oklahoma dispensaries and retail locations sold $4.3 million worth of cannabis products. At the end of 2018, there were about 30,000 registered patients and 900 licensed dispensaries. Now, the number of card-carrying patients is closer to 54,000. This indicates a rapid development of the medical cannabis market in the state. These high figures are strictly that of total sales of patients buying products at dispensaries, and don’t even include business conducted between cultivators, processors, manufacturers and distributors.
Why are medical cannabis sales numbers so high in Oklahoma? Over the course of the last year or so, state policymakers have taken drastic action to protect patients and help business owners thrive. In January, legislation was passed to protect school students who are medical cannabis patients, allowing them to take their medicine in school just like any other meds. Last month, the state House passed a landmark bill called the Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act. This important legislation does a few crucial things that benefit patients and dispensaries in Oklahoma. First, it prohibits any type of restrictions as to what form of cannabis medicine can be sold to patients. Second, it protects patients, dispensaries and caregivers from discrimination. It also allows non-residents of the state to obtain licenses for dispensaries. This legislation – along with a plethora of approved dispensary licenses – is why there is such rapid growth of the medical cannabis market in the state.
Naturally, along with high sales figures come high tax collections. Oklahoma collects a 7 percent gross receipts tax on all sales of medical cannabis within the state. For February alone, the state raked in over $500,000 in taxes. These sales figures should only continue to increase. The other 30-some states where medical cannabis is legal should take note of Oklahoma’s legislation benefiting patients and business owners, because clearly it’s working well for pretty much everyone.