Weed Wonks Episode 10 - Oklahoma! With Dwight Clark
Feb 19, 2020
Weed Wonks is a weekly cannabis policy podcast co-hosted by Jordan Wellington and Andrew Livingston. The show goes beyond the headlines to examine the implications and evolution of the complex world of cannabis regulation. Each episode features a special guest with in-depth knowledge of cannabis law and regulations, including regulators, operators, investors, legislators, experts, and lawyers.
Episode 10 features a long-time friend and coworker of the Weed Wonks, Dwight Clark. Dwight, a born and raised Oklahoman with an affinity for cannabis policy, dives deep into the minutia of what made Oklahoma's medical marijuana legalization efforts so unique. Listen Here!
Dwight's Political Background
Dwight Clark, a political analyst and technical writer for Vicente Sederberg LLP, has been surrounded by middle America's political playground since birth. In college, he worked in the Oklahoma state legislature. Working in a conservative legislature was an especially enlightening experience because it taught him how to "look at the issue instead of the politics." After finishing his undergraduate degree, he secured a job with Texas State Senator Jose Mendez. The rest is policy history.
Three Pillars of Conservative Cannabis Legalization in Oklahoma
With a conservative government at the helms, many believed that medical marijuana (MMJ) in Oklahoma was a lost cause before it was even on the ballot. In fact, Oklahoma's government intentionally slated the voting process to occur in the May primaries in hopes of depressing Democratic voter turnout. Despite their efforts, the initiative passed with 56% support. The drama didn't stop there. You can learn more juicy details when you listen to the podcast.
Oklahoma's medical cannabis regulations differed rather drastically from the initiatives previously enacted in other states around the U.S. These components can be summed up as the "three pillars of conservative cannabis legalization in Oklahoma."
- Limited Government Interference
- Embracing the free market approach
- Minimal regulation (the most robust version of OK's MMJ Regulations is 46 pages long)
Oklahoma by the Numbers (as of the Podcast's Airing on October 10, 2019)
- Population: Approximately 4 Million
- Developed Medical Marijuana program in two months
- 4,000+ Cultivation Licenses Issued
- 1,600+ Dispensaries in operation
- 1,000+ Processor Licenses
- Patient Ratio of 4.9% of the population
- Colorado peaked at 2.1%
- For comparison: CO also has 2 million more people, but one-third of the dispensaries and approximately 700 cultivators
- Michigan has never gone over 3%
- Montana peaked at 3.5%
- Colorado peaked at 2.1%
- 30-40,000 Cannabis Employees (Andrew's conservative estimate)
- 7% cannabis tax on top of sales tax - one of the highest in the US
- Oklahoma County received +$9.5MM in taxes for their first year
- $15MM in taxes statewide
- $35MM in license application fees for the state
- 68 of 77 Counties have legalized medical cannabis
What does this mean for Oklahomans who need a medical marijuana card?
In order to legally consume medical cannabis, Oklahomans need a medical marijuana card. The good news is that there is no cap on the amount of MMJ cards the State is able to issue and there are no predetermined qualifying conditions. This leaves the decision on whether a patient should receive MMJ in the hands of the licensed professionals, AKA doctors. By putting trust in the patient and medical provider, as opposed to letting the government decide which ailments are grounds for acceptable MMJ use, Oklahoma has become one of the fastest-growing cannabis markets in the world... and they haven't even legalized adult-use cannabis yet!
Weed Wonks is produced by Shea Gunther and part of the family of MJ Today Media podcasts. The podcast is designed to be entertaining and informative but does not provide legal advice. If you have any comments or questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.