The state of Oklahoma has proven to be fertile grounds for the thriving cannabis industry. Medical marijuana was legalized June 2018 via a ballot referendum, and in a short time, the Oklahoma marijuana market truly became a Boomers Paradise. Learning from other states as well as diverging from some standard practices in the United States has contributed to this advancement, backed by surprising numbers. While Oklahoma recreational weed isn’t legal quite yet, the medical laws are liberating for most users and businesses. The differences in Oklahoma cannabis laws and practices are outlined here, as well as the resulting numbers from the legalization of medical cannabis.
Marijuana Market in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has registered more than 5.8% of the population for medical marijuana patient cards (332,000 active patient and caregiver licenses), and this number is expected to increase to 10% by 2025. As a point of comparison, Oregon registered 2.5 percent at its peak; Nevada registered 1.2 percent at its height. This is likely attributable to the low cost of the license at $100, with discounting available for Medicare and Medicaid members, as well as a lack of qualifying conditions, and therefore, doctors are unrestricted in their ability to recommend medical marijuana to patients.
An active state licensing department has approved more than 7,000 businesses. A deviation from the norm, the vast majority are single businesses. Per Cannabiz Media, about 6,088 license holders only have one license, while 619 hold multiple licenses. A solid variance between Oklahoma and other states with legalized status is the tax rate. For example, in New Jersey and New York, medical sales tax is 7 percent. In the Sooner State, a 4 percent tax rate, as well as the low cost to obtain a license ($2,500), has opened the door to small business models.
In other states, a license for cannabis cultivation, procession, distribution and selling can total millions of dollars. There were 5,845 licensed growers, 1,323 licensed processors and 2,073 licensed dispensaries in Oklahoma as of Aug. 3. Oklahoma is home to the second most dispensaries per capita, which equals 15.6 dispensaries per 100,000 residents. A new report from Verilife highlights, “It’s interesting to note that while Oklahoma has the most marijuana dispensaries per capita, it has generated the least amount of tax revenue from cannabis out of all the states where marijuana is legal.”
The Oklahoma tax is interpreted as an excise tax, meaning tax is paid upon purchase, and has been collected since October 2018. Coupled with the 4.5 percent in state sales taxes and taxes imposed by counties or municipalities, proceeds between January and June 2020 were $30.25 million and in July alone reached about $5.24 million. This information is per the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA), who released statistics Aug. 5. Those amounts represent a roughly 20 percent and 25 percent increase in revenues from the entire 2019 calendar year, respectively, the OMMA said.
Success Could Lead to Oklahoma Recreational Weed
In 2019, the first full year of Oklahoma cannabis sales, the total number of sales reached $365 million. So far in 2020, roughly $400 million in sales has occurred. Strong sales occurred during the early days of the pandemic as customers stocked up, butthe month of June saw a taper. Also contributing to sales was the declaration of medical marijuana businesses as essential, which allowed dispensaries to provide curbside-pickup services. The sales amount is estimated to increase to $950 million by 2025. By comparison, Pennsylvania is estimating $770 million in 2025.
The state was on track for Oklahoma recreational weed, but it has been delayed by the pandemic. Recently, activists withdrew their legalization petition due to risks associated with gathering signatures. The movement has been paused since March, making the collection of the 177,958 required signatures in time for November ballots highly improbable. Ultimately, changes in Oklahoma cannabis laws to allow recreational use is expected to alter the number of medical cardholders. As in other states, many patients are likely also recreational users who will lapse medical cards with a change in legislation.
Join Us for the Oklahoma Canna Boom
Interested in further exploring the Oklahoma marijuana market and Oklahoma cannabis laws? CannaCon will be in the heart of the Sooner State Sept. 28-29 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.
CannaCon is the nation’s leading business-to-business cannabis conference. Safety precautions for this in-person event include mandatory masks for all, temperature checks upon entry, separate exit and entrances, limited entry capacity to the expo hall, one-way aisles, social distancing requirements in the seminar rooms and expo hall, extended space between exhibitors and hand sanitizing stations throughout.
Use the code OKC30 to save 30% on your ticket purchases for CannaCon South 2020, where the goal is to grow the cannabis industry by educating cannabis business owners on all things related to cannabis and CBD. This trade show features national exhibitors and seminars delivered by industry experts. Interact safely with other professionals, entrepreneurs and connoisseurs, and grow the industry with us!