Oklahoma Is No. 2 State for Cannabis Dispensaries
The U.S. marijuana industry is growing at a rapid pace. Right now, recreational cannabis is legal in 11 states (and D.C.) and medical marijuana is legal in 33 states. Both of those numbers are expected to go up in 2020.
And whether it’s medical marijuana or recreational weed, Americans need to buy it from a dispensary.
Thanks to the growing acceptance of cannabis over the last decade, dispensaries have been opening at a rapid rate in states where pot is legal.
Perhaps surprisingly, the state with the most potential for cannabis dispensary stocks is Oklahoma.
Not only does it have the fastest-growing medical marijuana industry in the U.S., Oklahoma has the second-highest number of weed dispensaries per capita in the country, after Oregon.
Oklahoma, which only legalized medical marijuana in 2018, has roughly 600 dispensaries, or 15.6 per 100,000 residents. (Source: “United States of Weed,” Verilife, January 10, 2020.)
Oklahoma Is No. 1 State for Cities With Most Dispensaries Per Capita
Of the 30 U.S. cities with the most pot dispensaries per capita, nine of them are in Oklahoma. In second place is Oregon, with eight of those cities. (Source: Ibid.)
One of the reasons why Oklahoma has so many dispensaries is the state’s liberal cannabis laws.
First, doctors in Oklahoma can prescribe marijuana for any condition. Second, the amount and forms of marijuana that a licensed patient can possess is very generous.
They can have up to three ounces on their person, up to eight ounces in their home, one ounce of concentrated marijuana, and up to 72 ounces of edibles. (Source: “Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Law,” NORML, last accessed January 31, 2020.)
They can also have up to six mature marijuana plants and up to six seedlings.
Of the four million residents of Oklahoma, more than five percent of them had a medical marijuana license as of November 2019. That percentage is much higher than in other states. (Source: “Chart: Oklahoma medical marijuana sales far exceed expectations,” Marijuana Business Daily, November 19, 2019.)
Also in Oklahoma, it’s pretty easy to open a weed dispensary.
If you live in the state and want to open a dispensary, you essentially just need $2,500 for a dispensary license. With that license, you can sell every form of cannabis, including raw flower, oil, vapes, patches, and topical creams. (Source: “Business Application Information,” Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, last accessed January 31, 2010.)
With the low license fee, lots of small, private companies have been opening cannabis dispensaries.
At the same time, many publicly traded marijuana companies have set up shop in Oklahoma. This includes one company that got 15% of its quarterly revenue from Oklahoma in the period ending September 30, 2019. (Source: “GrowGeneration Reports Record Q3 2019 Revenues and Net Income,” Cision PR Newswire, November 11, 2019.)
Another company has 12 pot dispensaries operating in the state. A handful of other publicly traded marijuana companies are also looking to enter Oklahoma in the coming months. (Source: “Oklahoma Cannabis Market Outpaces That of Most States,” New Cannabis Ventures, January 29, 2020.)
Running a dispensary in Oklahoma is very lucrative. In 2019, the first full year that medical marijuana was legal in the state, retail sales hit $345.0 million, with $55.0 million in tax revenue being funneled into state coffers. (Source: “How Recreational Is Oklahoma’s Medical Marijuana Market?,” Oklahoma Watch, January 19, 2020.)
Recreational Marijuana Coming to Oklahoma?
There is every reason to believe that the incredible momentum in the Oklahoma marijuana industry over the last two years will continue.
One sign of that is State Question 807, a proposed ballot initiative seeking to legalize recreational cannabis. (Source: “State Question 807,” Oklahoma Secretary of State, December 27, 2019.)
The initiative was filed in December 2019 for the November 2020 ballot. If passed, people who are 21 years of age and older could legally purchase recreational marijuana in Oklahoma.
Recreational pot sales in the state would be hit with a 15% excise tax, but medical marijuana would be exempt from that tax.
The initiative is hardly a slam dunk though. According to one poll conducted in August 2019, roughly 60% of Oklahoma voters were opposed to legalizing recreational cannabis. (Source: “SoonerPoll: Oklahoma Remains Strongly Opposed to Recreational Marijuana Legalization,” News 9 Oklahoma City, August 29, 2019.)
A lot can change over the course of a year though.
Despite only being legal since August 2018, medical marijuana sales in Oklahoma have been exceptionally strong.
In just over a year, Oklahoma has emerged as the U.S. state with the second-most dispensaries per capita and the most medical marijuana patients per capita.
Eventually, recreational marijuana will be legal in Oklahoma. The cannabis dispensary stocks with an established footprint in the state will likely be the ones to benefit most when recreational weed becomes legal.