Is cannabis legal in Oklahoma yet?

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Cannabis in Oklahoma is still a market the rest of the country is keeping closely in their sights. Why? Because for the first time in U.S. history, Oklahoma voters will participate in a special election with only a cannabis measure on the ballot. This type of laser focus is drawing a lot of attention to cannabis laws in Oklahoma. Here is an updated review of the latest news in the Sooner State and where this news is likely heading now, approximately one month before voters in Oklahoma will decide on State Question 820. Their votes will determine the answer to this question: Is weed legal in Oklahoma?

Since State Question 788 was passed in 2018 and legalized medical cannabis in Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority began accepting online patient applications in August of that year, tax revenue has soared. In April 2022, as one example of these benefits, $2 million was allocated to the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs to fund statewide evidence-based substance abuse interventions. State law requires that a portion of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana excise tax revenue be used to fund anti-drug and rehabilitation programs.

Based on per capita consumption, Oklahoma is the largest medical market in the United States. Oklahoma cannabis regulators have no established cap on the number of plants allowed per grower, and no limit to state dispensaries. As a direct result, there are more retail cannabis stores here than Colorado, Oregon and Washington combined. Projected tax revenue, if Oklahoma cannabis laws do change to allow recreational sales, are nearly half a billion dollars in adult-use sales within the first five years. The projected combined tax revenue from both medical and recreational cannabis sales is $821 million between 2024 and 2028.

Oklahoma cannabis is not a complete utopia, however, as the state continues to fine-tune laws. Some upcoming legislative filings address issues with the current tracking system, potency limits, agriculture laws, temporary business licenses and location restrictions. Although none of these items will be on the March ballot, starting the processes would hasten solutions and assist the potentially expanded recreational market.

March 7, 2023 is the date special election voters will be able to approve or reject recreational cannabis legalization through State Question 820, which advocates such as Michelle Tilley, campaign director of the Yes on 820 campaign, said that “Oklahoma could reap almost a half billion dollars in new revenue to invest in our public schools, law enforcement agencies, mental health programs and other priorities. This is a game-changer when it comes to investing in our children’s futures, the safety of our communities and even physical infrastructure like roads and bridges.” She continued, “meanwhile, local economies in every corner of the state will benefit from good-paying jobs and the creation of a new, multi-billion-dollar industry.”

If passed, updated cannabis laws in Oklahoma would impose a 15% excise tax, allow for adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis and permit up to six mature plants and six seedlings for personal use. Further, anyone serving in prison time for activity made legal under the measure could “file a petition for resentencing, reversal of conviction and dismissal of case or modification of judgment and sentence.” Those who have already served sentencing for such a conviction could also petition the courts for expungement.

Other industry-related news to come out of Oklahoma include a federal law that prohibits cannabis users from possessing firearms being deemed unconstitutional by an Oklahoma federal judge. U.S. District Judge Patrick Wyrick, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, dismissed an indictment against a man charged in August with violating said prohibition, citing last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that significantly expanded gun rights. Wyrick said that while the government can protect the public from dangerous people possessing guns, it could not argue that Jared Harrison’s “mere status as a user of marijuana justifies stripping him of his fundamental right to possess a firearm. The mere use of marijuana carries none of the characteristics that the Nation’s history and tradition of firearms regulation supports.”

CannaCon has the most answers for those seeking insight. As the nation’s leading business-to-business cannabis conference, our goal is to grow the cannabis industry by educating cannabis business owners on all things related to cannabis and CBD. Our trade shows occur throughout the United States and feature large exhibition halls with exhibitors from around the country and seminars delivered by industry experts. A great place to explore cannabis in Oklahoma and throughout the nation, CannaCon is the place to be for any current or aspiring entrepreneur in this space. Sign up for an event today!

Originally published March 28, 2022. Updated Feb. 16, 2023.

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