Oklahoma, despite being a deep red state with a staunchly conservative political culture and state government, has some of the most liberal cannabis laws in the country.
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It’s not legal recreationally – at least not yet – but it’s easy to get a medical card, and it’s even easier for businesses to get started in the cannabis industry there, thanks to the low barriers of entry.
In the Sooner State, there’s no limit on the number of licenses for dispensaries, growers, or processors, unlike other states like California and Oregon, which are often thought of as more liberal when it comes to marijuana. This leads to a more competitive market, which is better for businesses and consumers!
Additionally, the cost of obtaining a commercial license is drastically lower in Oklahoma than in other states – potentially thousands of dollars cheaper, depending on the license type. With less in terms of fees and application costs, it’s easier for new cannabis businesses to get up and running.
Beyond that, there’s a large supply of good farmland and farm laborers in the state. As of 2021, Oklahoma is home to 9000 cannabis grow farms.
WHAT’S LEGAL AND WHAT’S NOT?
As of this article, marijuana is legal for medical use in Oklahoma but not for recreational use.
Since June 2018, the use of medical marijuana for qualified patients with a physician’s recommendation has been legal. Under the law, patients with a qualifying medical condition can obtain a medical marijuana license from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA), which allows them to legally possess, use, and grow marijuana for medical purposes.
In March 2023, the Oklahoma government launched a ballot measure to legalize marijuana recreational use (State Question 820), which has the potential to generate approximately $1.841 billion in recreational sales and $2.478 billion in medical sales to qualified patients over a five-year period, according to the Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Association.
However, this ballot measure failed, with nearly 62% voting no. Despite this, the future of the marijuana industry in Oklahoma still looks great thanks to the absolutely booming medical industry.
Photo by Ringo Hoffmann
WHAT ARE THE MAIN REQUIREMENTS FOR OPENING A CANNABIS BUSINESS IN OKLAHOMA?
The requirements for opening a cannabis business in Oklahoma depend on the type of business, but generally include the following:
- ● License – In Oklahoma, businesses must obtain a license from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) to operate a cannabis business. The type of license required depends on the type of business, and may include licenses for dispensaries, growers, processors, and transporters.
- ● Application – To obtain a license, businesses must submit an application to the OMMA, which includes detailed information about the business, its owners, and its operations. The application process can be complex, and may require extensive documentation, background checks, and other requirements.
- ● Location – Cannabis businesses in Oklahoma must be located in areas zoned for commercial or industrial use, and must comply with local zoning and land use regulations.
- ● Security – Cannabis businesses in Oklahoma must have appropriate security measures in place, including surveillance systems, alarm systems, and secure storage areas for cannabis products.
- ● Other Regulations – Cannabis businesses in Oklahoma must comply with a range of regulatory requirements, including testing, packaging, and labeling requirements, and must maintain detailed records of their operations to stay compliant with state Metrc system requirements.
● Taxes – Cannabis businesses in Oklahoma are subject to a range of taxes:
- ○ Sales tax of 7% + applicable local sales tax
- ○ Excise tax of 7% on gross receipts of cannabis products
- ○ Corporate income tax of 6% or individual income tax of 0.5-5%
HOW SEED-TO-SALE TRACKING SYSTEMS CAN HELP OKLAHOMA CANNABIS MARKET
Seed-to-sale tracking systems play a crucial role in ensuring Oklahoma’s cannabis market stays thriving by ensuring compliance with legal regulations and reducing the risks associated with illegal market activity.
In Oklahoma, the government partners with an organization called Metrc to handle the state’s seed-to-sale track and trace system for cannabis reporting and transparency. Metrc has systems that help track every stage of the supply chain, from the planting of seeds to the sale of the final product. They can also help businesses to manage inventory, optimize operations, and improve quality control.
By implementing a seed-to-sale tracking system, cannabis businesses ensure that their products are of high quality, safe for consumption, and free from contaminants. These systems can also help businesses to stay in compliance with state regulations, which can reduce the risks associated with non-compliance, such as fines, penalties, and legal action.
Moreover, seed-to-sale tracking systems can help to fight against illegal market activity. By tracking every plant and product, these systems can provide insight into potential diversion of cannabis products into the illegal market. This information can help law enforcement agencies to identify and investigate illegal activity, which can help to reduce the risks associated with the illegal cannabis market, such as the sale of contaminated or unsafe products. A safer market is better for everybody.
Photo by Matteo Paganelli
Oklahoma’s cannabis industry is a phenomenal opportunity for hungry entrepreneurs looking to enter the booming industry. The low cost of entry for a cannabis license and the government support for seed-to-sale tracking systems make it easy to get up and running. With a solid understanding of the state’s cannabis licensing process and the requirements to get started, entrepreneurs can position themselves for success.