Oklahoma Boom! The Sooner State Spin On Cannabis

oklahoma cannabis | oklahoma marijuana market | oklahoma recreational weed | cannabis market in oklahoma | oklahoma cannabis laws

When voters rejected Oklahoma recreational weed in 2023, many were surprised. A big part of this surprise was the proof that that precedent does not always guarantee specific outcomes. Although Oklahoma still has a wildly popular, successful medical market with no qualifying conditions, some culling has occurred. One such area is in the number of active cannabis licenses in the state, which has dramatically decreased due to crackdowns on illegal operators. 

Between January 2023 and January 2024, active cultivation licenses are down nearly 35 percent, active dispensary licenses are down 13 percent, active processor licensees are down 21 percent and active transportation licenses are down nearly 17 percent. 

Oklahoma Cracks Down on Illegal Cannabis Operations

Recently, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) shut down an illegal cannabis operation in Oklahoma City, seizing 82,979 plants and 1,955 pounds of processed marijuana. OBN Spokesman Mark Woodward said, “A pound of black market marijuana can go for as much as $4,000 on the East Coast, which is the destination for a large percentage of Oklahoma’s illicit marijuana. That puts a potential street value on today’s seizure at over 300 million dollars.” 

OBN Director Donnie Anderson further noted that “These criminal organizations are moving hundreds of millions of dollars worth of marijuana onto the US black market from these illegal grow operations embedded within Oklahoma’s marijuana industry. We’ve also linked these organizations to human trafficking, money laundering and numerous violent crimes.”

In multiple incidents, the OBN has intercepted large caches of illegal weed packed in trucks heading to eastern locations such as New York and New Jersey. New York is particularly enticing for the illegal cannabis business due to the problematic rollout of legal recreational cannabis, weighed down with extra regulations and a difficult licensing process. Oklahoma’s Bureau of Narcotics is working with its state counterparts in New York and other states, as well as the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, to clamp down on illegal trafficking.

New Regulations on the Oklahoma Cannabis Market

The Oklahoma marijuana market is not immune from regulations, however, as it is now subject to new laws that went into effect on January 1, 2024. 

Senate Bill 1704 requires employees of commercial licensees to receive a credential from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA), which authorizes them to work in the medical marijuana industry. 

House Bill 3929 allows process validation as an acceptable testing practice and makes process validation non-mandatory. The law also provides a list of required standards, policies and procedures for process validation. Further, House Bill 4056 directs certain entities to provide recommendations, standards and operating procedures to the OMMA. It also directs the OMMA to promote rules, requiring licensed medical marijuana testing labs to comply with the rules.

Labeling Rules for Oklahoma Medical Cannabis

Label concerns have also touched Oklahoma cannabis; a recent report by a cannabis lab manager shows the descriptions on cannabis products are allegedly reporting inaccurate THC levels. Jeffery Havard, lab manager at Havard Industries, says THC potency has been an issue around the U.S., with inconsistencies between what labels claim and what customers actually get. He said Oklahoma is no different: “We went to three different dispensaries. We just asked the bud tenders to give us one of each of the most popular strains. So we end up getting 15 samples total and we tested all of those 15 individual samples out for their THC potency.” The results from Havard Industries say all 15 samples were overreported. According to the report, on average, the samples were 78 percent weaker than their labels listed, though some were off by nearly 200 percent. Some samples were obtained under the new Oklahoma “secret shopper” law.

An OMMA spokesperson said they can’t interpret the rules in terms of who is responsible for labeling products, however, they did point to a new quality assurance lab that’s currently being set up, saying: “This issue exemplifies the necessity of OMMA’s quality assurance lab. Our lab will address this issue through advanced testing and testing standards.”

Getting a Foot in the Oklahoma Cannabis Door

For those in the Sooner State looking to increase their knowledge of the industry, Cannabis Training University has announced a newly updated Oklahoma Masters of Cannabis certification program. Updates include detailed modules on the legislation governing cannabis in Oklahoma, guidance on how to start and run a cannabis business here and the knowledge needed to find employment in the cannabis sector.

Connect with Cannabis Connoisseurs at CannaCon!

With the impending tightening of the market and no Oklahoma recreational weed in sight, how will market opportunities look going forward? Keep up to date via CannaCon! On April 5 and 6, 2024, CannaCon will be in Oklahoma. Take advantage of this opportunity to build connections, learn about new innovations and plan for expanding legality and freedom. Don’t miss it; register today!


This article was originally published on Sep. 8, 2020, and was updated on Mar. 12, 2024.


  1. Julie Markin on September 13, 2020 at 1:30 am

    Would like to know how I could help Iowa get on board…

  2. Jan on September 15, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    We cannot wait to come check it all out!

  3. Kenn Khan on September 27, 2020 at 5:37 am

    Good morning,

    This is Kenn from Good Shevron a up in coming grower wholesaler and sales force agency base out of OKC . I’m commenting just to say I’m very excited for this year’s expo! Can’t wait to meet everyone involved in the industry. Thank you for following through with the event in these troublesome times.

    Kenn Khan
    Good Shevron
    Chief Operations Officer

  4. […] over the same month in 2019. States across the country have reported similar sales increases. The Oklahoma cannabis excise tax amounted to $30.25 million between January and June 2020 and $5.24 million in July alone. These […]

  5. Colin on July 12, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    Really happy to see the momentum that the cannabis movement has in Southern states. Excited to see how it all plays out over the next few years.

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