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Red State of Oklahoma Warms Up to the “Red Hot” Economic Value of Cannabis

29 January 2019 / Category: Blog
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Known as a “Red” state because of its overwhelming majority of conservative Republican voters, Oklahoma is moving forward to fully legalize Medical Marijuana and eventually, recreational Marijuana as well.

With the new law passed in the summer of 2018, Medical Marijuana has been basically legalized in Oklahoma. Several conditions apply, as we’ll examine momentarily, but it is still a huge leap forward for Medical Marijuana patients, the businesses that serve them and Oklahoma’s own taxation coffers.

This is exciting news for Oklahoma businesses hoping to capitalize on the blooming national Cannabis market. For decades, Oklahoma has been notorious for having the stiffest, harshest penalties, and most extensive laws written in America against the growing, use, sale and purchase of Cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes.

According to the “Kush Tourism” website, before the new legislation Oklahoma adults were still being prosecuted and convicted for,

*Possessing any amount of Marijuana as a first offence, punishable by one-year incarceration.

*Getting caught possessing any amount of Marijuana as a second offence was considered a felony

  if convicted, and depending on the judge, brought a 2-10-year imprisonment.

*Selling or distributing Marijuana in Oklahoma was considered a felony, as well, and was punishable

  by two years to life imprisonment and up to a $500,000 in fine! The incarceration and fines were

  doubled if Marijuana was sold to a minor or within 2,000 feet of public parks or schools.

With the new Oklahoma Medical Marijuana legislation, its a new ball game. Tom Angell, and Marijuana activist and publisher of the Marijuana Moment announced,

“Voters in Oklahoma approved a ballot measure making the state the 30th in the nation to allow broad access to Medical Marijuana.”

The Oklahoma Policy Institute recorded that,

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority began issuing licenses for patients, caregivers and businesses on Saturday, August 25th (2018). The agency reported more than 1,600 license applications and more than 1.5 million dollars (Retrieved from ABC News: ) in fees collected on that first day.

Tom Angell of The Marijuana Moment commented further that, before the new legislation, “The campaign didn’t appear to have significant funding from major national drug policy reform groups that have helped to pass measures in other states over several past election cycles. It also faced an opposition that poured roughly half a million dollars into television ads seeking to undermine support for medical marijuana.”

Deputy Director Paul Armentano of NORML said in a statement that, “Public support for Medical Marijuana access is non-partisan. Even in a predominantly ‘red’ state like Oklahoma, it is the will of the voters to enact common sense, yet significant Marijuana law reforms.”

Oklahoma is now issuing licenses for medical cannabis cultivation, processing, transportation and dispensing businesses, and a 7% retail tax applied to medical cannabis sales.

Under the new Oklahoma law as drafted, legal MMJ patients will receive state ID cards and be allowed to possess three ounces of Cannabis in public, and store up to eight ounces at home.

Home cultivation of six mature plants and six seedlings is now allowed, as is possession of up to one ounce of Cannabis concentrates and 72 ounces of Marijuana-infused edible products. Card-carrying patients can now also designate a caregiver to purchase or grow medicine for them.

Revenue would first go toward covering implementation and regulation costs, with the remainder of licensing fees going toward delivering substance abuse education as well as drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

This is such a significant step forward: as with other “early” states like California and Colorado, (previously legalizing Medical Marijuana), it has been historically proven that once Medical Marijuana was legalized, Recreational Marijuana legalization was soon to follow.

Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma said last summer of 2018 that she was prepared to call lawmakers into a special legislative session to address provisions which, in her view, will essentially allow, “Recreational Marijuana in the state of Oklahoma.”

Not more than a half year ago, legalization faced vocal opposition from Fallin herself, along with other popular officials like U.S. Sen. James Lankford, who appeared in a television ad urging voters to reject Medical Marijuana. Groups like the Oklahoma State Medical Association, the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association and the Oklahoma District Attorneys Association also campaigned against legalization!

Karen O’Keefe, state policies director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a press release that, “Support for Medical Marijuana is overwhelming, and it spans the political and demographic spectrums.”

Oklahoma with its fledgling MMJ program, similar to more than a dozen other states that don’t have comprehensive Medical Marijuana programs in place yet, already has a law allowing limited access to non-psychoactive cannabis extracts that are used to treat severe seizure disorders and other conditions.

Even though Oklahoma licensed, card carrying residents will be able to grow, buy and sell Medical Marijuana there are still 10 legal restrictions to its use:

1.  As with all other states, while Oklahoma residents still CAN’T get a legal prescription for Medical Marijuana on a federal level, they CAN obtain a legal prescription in their home state from a licensed physician under the new Oklahoma State Marijuana Laws.

Aside from the American paradoxical federal Marijuana over-ride, the remaining restrictions are sensible indeed, and also apply to other psychoactive drugs and alcohol.

Presently, Oklahoman’s…

2. Can’t buy Marijuana from anywhere besides a licensed dispensary.

3. Can’t use Marijuana in the workplace or be impaired on the job.

4. Can’t transport Marijuana across state lines.

5. Can’t smoke Marijuana in most public places or in front of minors.

6. Can’t give Marijuana away.

7. Can’t buy Marijuana with a credit card.

8. Can’t try a Medical Marijuana product while shopping in a licensed dispensary.

9. Can’t drive while impaired on Marijuana and,

10. Can’t possess an excessive amount of Marijuana.

      “Excessive” applies to any amounts over what the state has already permitted, as outlined above.

Bart Schaneman of the Marijuana Business Daily reported that,

“Oklahoma broke the mold with its new Medical Marijuana program: The state has no numerical cap on business licenses, and doctors are free to recommend MMJ for any condition they deem appropriate.

The lack of restrictions is attracting hundreds of would-be MJ business owners since the program launched in late August – a situation that is expected to lead to a fiercely competitive market that could generate up to $250 million in annual sales within a few years.”

If you are set to ride this new amazing tidal wave of prosperity with your new Medical Marijuana or Cannabis business in any American state with the appropriate legislation in place, Cover Cannabis is ready to protect your business interests from coast to coast with solid, experienced Cannabis related business insurance you can rely on.