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Is Oklahoma over its legal marijuana high? Maybe. Here's why, and how one dispensary copes

Has legal pot peaked in "Tokelahoma"? It looks like it.

Between the glut of medical marijuana causing prices to plummet and operations to close, increased laws and rules enforcement, and a moratorium on new state licenses, all numbers are down.

"Now that we're over a year into the moratorium on new commercial licenses, we're seeing a drop in many of our license numbers," said Porsha Riley, public relations manager for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. "Other reasons for the drop in licensing numbers can be attributed to our increased enforcement and compliance efforts, administrative actions, a more rigorous licensing process and license surrenders.

"Another factor is the business landscape; it’s changing, and the market is saturated, as shown in the supply and demand study we commissioned last year."

Here's how this year started compared with the start of 2023, based on active licenses, according to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.

  • Total businesses: 8,522, down 27.4%.

  • Growers: 4,617, down 34.7%.

  • Dispensaries: 2,388, down 13.4%.

  • Processors: 1,341, down 21.2%.

  • Transportation: 115, down 16.7%.

The swoon is best seen in closed-down dispensaries, the retail arm of the business that all patients deal with, almost always in person. They're all over Oklahoma City and its suburbs. The collapse is ongoing. "THERE IS A STORM COMING. NOT EVERYONE WILL SURVIVE," the lobby organization Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Actionannounces at the top of its website.pensaries tell the tale of the once-booming medical cannabis business in Oklahoma; how do survivors survive?Four shuttered dispensaries, at least, surround Likewise Cannabis in Edmond, for example.

How has Likewise owner Corbin Wyatt stayed afloat with four dispensaries? In addition to the one in Edmond at 412 S Broadway Ave., Likewise has dispensaries at 6809 N May Ave. and 1609 N Blackwelder Ave. in OKC, and 115 S Main St. in Stillwater.

Closed dispensaries send patients to dispensaries that are still open, but the number of medical marijuana patients has dropped, too, to 332,223 licensees, down 11% compared with the start of 2023, the authority reported.

Several OKC-area dispensaries declined or ignored requests for comment.

Wyatt, 29, who opened Likewise in 2018, was happy to talk about the business end of medical marijuana. He follows the statistics, of course, but he says he doesn't pay undue attention, as he sees it, to financial gain.

"I think the main thing is we don't focus on profits," he said. "I think a lot of people focus on making money, and money is a byproduct of providing a good service and being a good place to go. So, we focus on those, primarily.

"We focus on having the right products at the right price, and treating people well and being there for them. And then by doing that, it encourages people to continue shopping with us, which, ultimately then, translates to revenue." Wyatt said he's avoided a bust because he didn't hitch his business to the boom. "A lot of people did see this as a get-rich-quick scheme. I think that's the wrong mentality when you're looking at a business like this," he said "You should be looking at this as you're providing a good service to your community. How can I do that the best that you can?

State lawmakers have filed numerous bills to be considered by the second regular session of the 2023-24 Legislature, which convenes on Feb. 5. Here are a few:

read the full article at The Oklahoman


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