The title of nation’s hottest cannabis market for the previous few years has gone to… Oklahoma City. Despite the fact that the western state may not seem like an obvious choice—it lacks the sheer demand for the product from New York or California, and it has a history of extremely strict drug laws—its medical marijuana market, which was established following a 2018 ballot initiative, started out strong and didn’t slow down until it reached a critical saturation point. With no licensee caps and only $2,500 in fees, almost anyone could open a store. Obtaining a medical recommendation remains straightforward – approximately 10% of adult Oklahomans own a card. One dispensary owner said, “They’ve literally done what no other state has done.”
While CBD oil made from industrial hemp is allowed without a licences, cannabis is prohibited for recreational use in Oklahoma but permitted for medical use with a licensee from the state.
In order to control licences for patients and growers, the state established the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA), which is housed under the state Board of Health. In October 2018, the organization named its first director.
With the backing of Oklahoma State Attorney General Mike Hunter, who claimed that the OBH rules went too far and did not comply with SQ 788, many of the initial regulations issued by the Oklahoma Board of Health (OBH) were repealed on August 1, 2018. On October 26, 2018, Oklahoma City implemented the “simple possession” clause in their city code and also decreased $50 is the maximum fine for possessing marijuana paraphernalia.
Oklahomans who use marijuana have increased significantly since State Question 600 was approved. Over 70,000 medical marijuana patient licences were granted by the state in 2019. Over the years, this number has kept rising.
In Oklahoma, marijuana is used recreationally in addition to for medical purposes. In a survey conducted in 2021, 19% of Oklahomans said they had used marijuana in the previous month.
Researchers studied data from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) to identify the county in Oklahoma where marijuana use is highest. The OMMA keeps track of how many county-issued licences for medicinal marijuana patients are obtained.
Additionally, researchers examined data from the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). The SAMHSA carries out a nationwide study on drug use and health. Data from each state’s prevalence of marijuana use are included in this survey.
Furthermore, researchers discovered that the rate of cannabis use in Pittsburg County is greater than the national average. This implies that compared to other regions of the nation, marijuana use is more prevalent in Pittsburg County.
With 6.2% of medical marijuana licences issued for every 1,000 persons, Pittsburg County has the highest rate in Oklahoma. Pushmataha County (17.4%), Atoka County (38.2%), McCurtain County (10.1%), and Choctaw County (9.4%) are the next counties in order.
The variance in Oklahoma counties’ rates of medicinal marijuana licences per 1,000 population can be attributed to several factors. These causes could consist of:
- Economic considerations: Because persons in these areas may be more prone to use medicinal marijuana to cope with pain, anxiety, or other medical issues, counties with higher rates of poverty may also have higher rates of medical marijuana licences per 1,000 citizens.
- Demographics: Simply because there are more people living in a county with a higher population density, those counties may have a higher rate of medical marijuana licences per 1,000 persons.
- Exposure to medical care: Because citizens in these counties are more likely to be able to see a physician who is willing to suggest medical marijuana, counties with better access to healthcare may have a higher rate of medical marijuana licences per 1,000 persons.
- Perceptions regarding cannabis: The number of medical marijuana licences issued per 1,000 population may be higher in counties where attitudes towards marijuana are more lax.
It is also significant to highlight that the precise causes of marijuana use in Pittsburg County were not examined in the probe we conducted. Cannabis usage may be prevalent in this county for recreational, pain-relieving, or anxiety-reducing purposes.