OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the Oklahoma medical marijuana industry enters its second full year since legalization, the numbers continue to surpass other states.
Now a new report shows nine Oklahoma cities are in the top 30 for most dispensaries per capita, however state officials say the number is beginning to contract.
“We talk about that a lot,” said Haley Todd, an employee at Straiin. A second location for the dispensary is opening next month, adding to the boom of more than 2,240 dispensaries across the state.
The proliferation is largely in part to the low dispensary license fee, and the fact that legislators decided not to cap how many dispensaries are allowed, according to OMMA Director Travis Kirkpatrick.
“It’s created an environment where if you have the desire and the wherewithal, you can become a licensee,” Kirkpatrick said.
A new study by Verilife shows that not only does Oklahoma have the second most dispensaries per capita, but Norman, Moore, Edmond, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Lawton, Enid, Broken Arrow and Midwest City are among the top 30 cities nationwide for having the most marijuana dispensaries per 50,000 people.
The report also showed that despite the high dispensary numbers, in 2018, Oklahoma’s tax revenue was only about $70,000, drastically less than Colorado’s $266 million.
However, the report fails to mention that in 2018, Oklahoma was only collecting revenue for October, November and December. During that time, the 7 percent excise tax collected was $70,768, and sales taxes collected $171,115.
In 2019, those numbers soared to $24,156,268 in excise taxes, and $30,594,902 in sales taxes, $54,751,171 altogether.
Now that the yearly renewal process for licenses is getting underway, Kirkpatrick said OMMA officials are seeing a bit of contraction in those numbers.
“We track how many renewals there are, people that either are surrendering their license and coming to us on their own,” Kirkpatrick said.
He also pointed out that an approved license doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a functioning dispensary to go with it.
Where the numbers will go this year, the new director said is hard to predict.
“The market is dictating, and, so, we don’t want to be overburdensome in our regulations when sometimes the market can navigate that,” he said.