Next week marks one year since Oklahoma voters passed State Question 788. The measure legalized medical marijuana with overwhelming support.
However, it also set forth a tremendous deadline for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.
“Being the first program in the nation to be able to go implement medical marijuana in 60 days. We are the only state to be able to go do that,” said Director of the OMMA Adrienne Rollins.
Despite the accelerated launch, the agency has seen budding success. It expected to approve 80,000 patient licenses in a year. Instead, the agency reached 138,000 as of Monday, June 17, 2019.
There have also been 879 caregiver, 3,211 grower, 1,548 dispensary and 859 processor licenses approved, totaling a whopping 144,727 altogether.
But there have also been hurdles along the way.
At first, the Oklahoma Board of Health voted smokable medical marijuana could not be sold in Oklahoma dispensaries. Which didn't last long.
The authority has also dealt with packaging issues that looked too "kid-friendly," and other businesses that didn't operate within compliance.
“The new legislation that just passed, that will go into effect in late August. That will really expand our compliance arm,” said Director Rollins.
The OMMA estimated the state's medical marijuana business at about $30 million.
Operating costs this year are near $8 million, according to the agency.
As for what’s next, developments are on the horizon. Much of it will be research based, according to the OMMA, but it will help advance the testing of medical marijuana in the future.
“We are hoping to learn from some of Colorado and Oregon’s mistakes, lab testing. They said, ‘we have learned the hard way on some things,’” Rollins said.
The OMMA had to close its call center to focus on the applications coming in. If you need to reach them, please visit this website http://omma.ok.gov/.