“There’s culture shock for outsiders,” Mr. Pederson said about moving to a tiny Oklahoma town. He said he plans to stay in the state for at least the next five years.
Momentum is building for an even more forceful crackdown. Senator James Inhofe, a Republican, requested $4 million this year in direct funding from the federal government for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics to combat illegal farms. And a bill introduced in the State Legislature would allow county and city authorities to impose their own caps on licenses.
Lawmakers recently allowed revenues from cannabis licensing to create a full-time enforcement unit, and the state narcotics bureau has hired nearly 20 agents. Another measure now allows the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority to hire more than 70 new employees, mainly to work in compliance and enforcement.
The growth is all the more remarkable given that the state has not legalized recreational use of marijuana. But with fairly lax rules on who can obtain a medical card, about 10 percent of Oklahoma’s nearly four million residents have one, by far the most of any other state.
Ever since the state legalized medical marijuana three years ago, Oklahoma has become one of the easiest places in the United States to launch a weed business. The state now boasts more retail cannabis stores than Colorado, Oregon and Washington combined. In October, it eclipsed California as the state with the largest number of licensed cannabis farms, which now number more than 9,000, despite a population only a tenth of California’s.
“The profit margin is astronomical if you can move your operation to Oklahoma and get away with it,” Mr. Woodward said of Oklahoma growers serving markets elsewhere in violation of state and federal laws.
Signs of the explosive growth are hard to miss. There are now towns with far more dispensaries than food stores. And cannabis operations now outnumber wheat and cotton farms. The industry has also created thousands of jobs in a state that remains among the poorest in the country. Supporters of the industry also argue that the less punitive approach to possession of marijuana and other drugs, along with other sentencing reforms, has eased pressures on the state’s prisons.
Certificate of Compliance
Program Changes for Businesses:
Licensed transporters can legally transport medical marijuana from a licensed grower, licensed processor, licensed dispensary, licensed laboratory to a licensed grower, licensed processor, licensed dispensary, licensed laboratory, or licensed researcher. Licensed transporters must comply with Title 63 O.S. § 420 et seq. and the Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 310:681.
How long does my business license last?
Yes, separate licenses are required for each location. A separate application and non-refundable application fee for each location is required. You also will need to submit a separate application and non-refundable application fee for each license type (processor, grower, dispensary). However, you may use the same background check of owners for multiple license applications as long as the background checks have been completed within 30 days from the date the license was submitted.
In Oklahoma, nearly 10% of residents have a medical marijuana card, and that has sparked a boom in cannabis growers across the state. As Seth Bodin of Harvest Public Media reports, the demand for water and electricity to support that infrastructure is straining some rural utilities.
PLEASANT: Many of these locations will either close up shop or they will scale back significantly if the market wanes.
JOHN HUDAK: There are far too many growers. There are far too many dispensaries in that state for the number of patients.