According to a study released by Cannabiz Media, Oklahoma has the highest number of medical cannabis dispensary and retail licenses that were issued during 2019. Oklahoma issued 1,510 new medical cannabis dispensary licenses in 2019, higher than any other state. That brings the state’s total to over 2,200 medical cannabis dispensary licenses.
For comparison, California only issued 628 new dispensary and retail licenses during 2019, but the licenses replaced temporary existing licenses. And that’s a problem, as California is home to over 39 million residents and Oklahoma is home to less than 4 million, about ten times the population. As of last September, there was one dispensary for every 2,356 people in Oklahoma versus one for every 67,972 people in California. Michigan, Florida and Oregon ranked third, fourth and fifth for the highest number of new dispensaries in 2019.
Andrew Jackson is the owner at Top Shelf Cannabis located in Oklahoma. “Our barriers to entry were definitely very low compared to other places so I’d say it was very easy for anyone and everyone to open up shop,” Jackson told Fox 25. “I think definitely some are bound to close but it may be cyclical for a while and more shops might just open up right in those spots. So really hard to say where that will go.”
Another recent study indicates that Oklahoma has the second-highest number of dispensaries per capita in the country. Oklahoma is also home to nine of the top 30 cities with medical cannabis dispensaries per capita. That could soon come crashing to a halt, however, with a series of bills in the works that could drastically restrict the state’s medical cannabis program.
Per the language of State Question 788, which legalized medical cannabis in Oklahoma, there is no cap on the number of licenses. Due to the properties of supply and demand, opening a dispensary in the state could become increasingly difficult with stiff competition. In addition, last August, legislators in Oklahoma passed its “Unity Bill” that provides protections for medical cannabis patients. Numerous news sources reported steady growth over the year in Oklahoma’s medical cannabis industry.