How One of the Reddest States Became the Nation’s Hottest Weed Market

2 min


By

Paul Demko

How One of the Reddest States Became the Nation’s Hottest Weed Market

“Everyone and their dog has some kind of marijuana license,” says Chip Paul, the libertarian legalization advocate. “You have just a stupid amount of grow licenses and process licenses.”

Advertisements

The number of dispensary licenses has already dipped significantly in recent months: There were more than 2,400 active licenses in May, but that figure has now dropped below 2,000 (although some of that dip is due to change in how the state agency reports its licensing figures), and it’s almost certain to drop further.

Danna Malone knows firsthand the challenges of creating a viable marijuana business in such a saturated market. She opened Ye Olde Apothecary Shoppe in Tulsa on Oct. 1, 2018. She touts her shop as fulfilling the mission of the state’s medical program, offering products with high CBD and low THC content—the latter is what gets people high—that hold little appeal for people who simply want to get stoned.

“We have a lot of elderly patients, people that at the beginning, they were afraid to park their car out here,” Malone says. “But now they’re comfortable.”

Malone—a fireplug of a woman who describes herself as “very conservative” and makes frequent references to packing heat—also works as a paralegal, and wasn’t surprised that Oklahomans strongly backed medical legalization.

“All of those people that get arrested, they have family and friends,” Malone says. “The cost to them is exponential, because it’s a never-ending vicious cycle. Once you get those fines, if you can’t [pay] those fines, they just keep increasing and increasing and increasing.”

Malone laments the increasing presence of out-of-state operators in the Oklahoma market, fearing that mom-and-pop shops like hers won’t be able to compete against their deep pockets. She’s also concerned about the looming implementation of the seed-to-sale tracking system, complaining that little information about it has been provided by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. In fact, Malone says she doesn’t have the slightest clue what she’ll need to do to comply.

Kelly Williams, who was named interim director of the OMMA in August, says the seed-to-sale system is a long-overdue tool to bolster accountability and transparency.

“It allows us a lot more ability to see where the product is coming and going, which is especially important whenever there is a recall or concerns about the safety of a product,” Williams says. “We’re able to trace that upstream and downstream almost instantaneously.”

In September, the OMMA awarded a contract to Metrc, which runs similar tracking programs in 14 other states and Washington, D.C., to implement the system. It’s expected to be up and running by early Spring of next year. Williams says that they’ll be doing outreach in the coming months to ensure that business owners like Malone know exactly what they need to do to comply. “They will get specific training and get credentialed into the Metrc system,” Williams says. “They’ll have a lot better understanding of what that requires of them.”

Advertisements

But Malone isn’t comforted by that assurance. Already, she says, it’s become increasingly difficult to stay afloat financially in the highly competitive marijuana market. Even though the costs of doing business in Oklahoma are significantly lower than in just about any other state marijuana market, she says the state and local fees are impeding the business.

“We’re not making any money, because there’s such a money grab,” Malone laments. “Everybody just wants a piece of the pie.”

Advertisements

Like it? Share with your friends!

73
12 shares, 73 points

What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
9
hate
confused confused
23
confused
fail fail
16
fail
fun fun
14
fun
geeky geeky
11
geeky
love love
4
love
lol lol
7
lol
omg omg
23
omg
win win
16
win

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Poll
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Story
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
List
The Classic Internet Listicles
Countdown
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Meme
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Video
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Audio
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Image
Photo or GIF
Gif
GIF format