Cannabis Farmers Flocking To Oklahoma In Record Numbers
Oklahoma has been established as the state with the highest number of licensed marijuana farms and Cannabis farmers are flocking to the state in record numbers.
Cannabis entrepreneurs are moving to the state in record numbers as the cost to get started is just $2,500 as compared to $100,000 or more in neighboring Arkansas. Oklahoma currently has no limit on the number of dispensaries that can sell marijuana, the number of cannabis farms, or on how much an individual farm can produce.
Though the state has yet to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, medical marijuana has been legal in the state for three years. The rules regarding who qualifies for a medical use card are fairly lax and have resulted in 10% of Oklahoma’s nearly four million residents having one.
“It might look strange, but this is where the action is,” Logan Pederson, 32, who moved from Seattle to Oklahoma this year to manage the small farm on behalf of Cosmos Cultivation, said. Adding that the change was a “culture shock” however, he intends to stay put for at least five years.
Oklahoma has more retail cannabis stores than Colorado, Oregon, and Washington combined and has surpassed California as the state with the most licensed cannabis farms in October with California having a population around ten times the size of that of Oklahoma.
“A few years ago I thought Oklahoma would have been the last state in the country to get cannabis going,” Tara Tischauer, co-owner of Red Dirt Sungrown, which operates in a town north of Oklahoma City, said. Tischauer’s family business employs 25 people and steadily produces approximately 125 pounds of cannabis a week.
“The profit margin is astronomical if you can move your operation to Oklahoma and get away with it,” Mark Woodward, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, said. He said the lower costs for licensing, labor, and land allow some in the business to produce cannabis for as little as $100 a pound and sell it for between $3,500 to $4,000 a pound in California or New York.
Those in opposition to the industry’s growth in Oklahoma, including legacy ranchers and farmers, have called for a moratorium on new licenses, citing climbing prices for land, illicit farms, and strains on rural water and electricity supplies.
“It smells like weed all the damn time, even right here in our offices,” Republican Haskell County Sheriff Tim Turner said. “We’re one of the reddest states around, but we have the country’s most permissive marijuana laws.”
Activists attempting to secure a referendum on the ballot next year that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Oklahoma.