Bonnie Caldwell of Seed Cannabis Co. in Tulsa, Oklahoma claims that legalizing recreational cannabis is inevitable in the state. In the event that the state doesn’t, then the federal government will eventually follow suit.
With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that Seed Cannabis Co. has been preparing for the eventual transition from medical to recreational cannabis.
“The medical program in Oklahoma, the percent of our population, is the highest in the country,” Caldwell told FOX25. “We know that people use it, we see them every day they come in here—so, we know people love this product.”
Jed Green with Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action (ORCA) goes as far as to say that recreational cannabis is already here. It doesn’t matter whether it’s legal or not, people are still going to smoke it. In turn, the only question that remains is who’s getting paid to supply the public.
In Oklahoma, recreational cannabis is currently under control of illicit dealers and traffickers. And this is the primary argument ORCA plans to present to the state Supreme Court in a meeting later this week.
If they’re able to successfully move past the phase of public opinion, they plan on proposing a bill for recreational cannabis. While this bill hasn’t been officially written, ORCA has been tossing around a few ideas.
“We are creating a more level playing field for businesses to be able to compete, fundamentally against the illicit market,” Green said. He furthers this by saying that if the industry is able to mass-produce cannabis at a cheaper scale than the illicit market, then the public will be more likely to purchase cannabis legally.
“We’ve just got big gaping regulatory holes that create an environment where illicit markets can thrive,” Green continued. “We want the dollars to go to classrooms, not to cartels.”
Such concerns are only natural as we’ve seen the illicit market continue even in states where recreational cannabis is legal. California is a prime example, where there’s currently more supply than demand. In order to ensure a safe and healthy industry, questions on how to limit illegal activity are inevitable.
Why Has Oklahoma Become a Booming Cannabis State?
If ORCA is able to pass the Supreme Court challenge, they will have 90 days to collect 178,000 signatures for the ballot. With so much enthusiasm in Oklahoma concerning cannabis, this shouldn’t be too much of a difficulty.
Seed Cannabis Company has already seen what positive effect cannabis has had on Oklahoma and believes the people will only want more.
“Heating and air people, transportation businesses, construction businesses. There’s so many businesses that have been touched by this, and we have a really good opportunity here in Oklahoma to keep that good business growth going,” Caldwell said.
Not to mention, Oklahoma has become one of the biggest medical cannabis states currently in the country. The state has more licensed cannabis farms than California despite having one-tenth of the population. Furthermore, there are more retail cannabis stores in Oklahoma than Colorado, Oregon, and Washington combined.
This growth is mainly due to lax rules when it comes to obtaining a medical card—allowing 10 percent of Oklahoma’s four million residents to have one. Not to mention, state officials have a “hands-off” approach when it comes to the industry. This has allowed for a large sum of cannabis entrepreneurs to pour into the state.
While Oklahoma has previously developed a reputation for being tough-on-crime, they’ve seemed to take the opposite approach when it comes to cannabis. For example, there are no limits on how many dispensaries or cannabis farms can operate in the state.
For a fairly conservative state, this is one of the most liberal stances on medical cannabis in the country. And if Oklahoma continues this stance with its recreational market, we can only imagine it will become one of (if not) the biggest legalized cannabis states in the country.