Oklahoma the sooner state as it is famously nicknamed is popular with industries such as aviation, energy, biotechnology, agriculture, and logistics among others and does averagely well when it comes to its contribution to the nation’s GDP. As an oil-producing state, you would ordinarily expect that the energy sector would be its main focus and it is duly. In recent times the drop in oil prices has seriously affected the Oklahoman economy. However, a new industry is emerging on the horizon and looking to be a mainstay in the next couple of years.
The recent drop and instability in the oil sector have had grave consequences on the economy of Oklahoma resulting in an increase in unemployment as many of these oil firms are folding up either due to high taxes in the state or more favorable working conditions in other oil-producing states. Surprisingly, Oklahoma has been more dependent in recent years than even during the oil boom of the oil industry in the 1980s. This serious overdependence shows that there is a real problem and the government needs to work to diversify the economy and support the growth of new industries.
You expect that the government would work and look to find alternative industries such as technology which they can leverage upon to create the much-needed diversity and create less dependence on oil. But the industry that is surprisingly creating this paradigm shift in the cannabis industry. Yes, you read that right. The cannabis industry in Oklahoma has been doing really well. Medical marijuana was recently legalized in Oklahoma and the industry has barely got three years under its belt but is already doing excellent numbers.
The Oklahoma cannabis industry is one of the most recent in the U.S. cannabis industry and is well on course to break records of other states and the numbers they pulled in their first year are a testament raking in over $300 million. These huge numbers can be ascribed to the availability of a ready market that has been waiting for the legalization of medical marijuana which long overdue according to some quarters and the favorable legislation it enjoyed.
The medical marijuana program ended the year 2018 with about 25,000 patients but by the end of 2019, there were over 210,000 patients and they keep averaging 3,500 applicants weekly. About eight times the size, now that’s growth. A total of about 7% of the whole population is now enrolled. The state also made a whopping $3.5 million in taxes. The state recently issued licenses for 2,168 dispensaries, 1415 processors, and 4931 growers. But not all these are expected to make the final cut and be up and running.
The relatively free cap put on the registration and licensing has made it possible for the medical marijuana industry to draw attention to itself. The question 788 bill has so much flexibility that puts no restriction on the number of dispensaries that can be built. The law has also empowered physicians to recommend medical marijuana as they see fit and not necessarily as a last resort but the best option that can bring relief. Also, municipalities in Oklahoma have been restricted from enforcing zoning barriers against dispensaries that would supposedly restrain the number of dispensaries in a particular area.
The zoning restriction that was prevented by the state would, in the long run, lead to good accessibility to dispensaries. Giving physicians the ability to prescribe marijuana liberally would make it even easier for people to see medical marijuana as a great option and not necessarily the last resort. If the numbers are anything to go by then we can say that Oklahoma joining the party late was a blessing in disguise.
The strategy adopted by the Oklahoma government under the directive of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority made the industry thrive at such a rapid rate doing better than the first-year sales of Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan. Coupled with the fact that Oklahoma also had a fairly large share of individuals suffering from the more prominent qualifying conditions such as chronic pain, epilepsy, and arthritis. Construction workers, senior citizens, and children who are suffering from epilepsy are also among the people who have been waiting for the legalization for them to benefit from it.
Getting a Medical Card
To access the medical marijuana program benefits you would need to apply and if your application is confirmed you will get an Oklahoma medical marijuana card online that would be delivered to your mailing address. To apply for the card, you need to get a physician’s recommendation that would enable your application to be reviewed.
Your personal details would be inputted on the program’s website, followed by the physician’s recommendation, a valid license for validation and you would then proceed to pay the application fee which is usually non-refundable irrespective of the outcome of the application. Though, applications are almost always successful. Even better is the fact that no qualifying condition is needed to be a part of the program, all that is needed is a physician’s recommendation.