Medical marijuana is legal in the State of Oklahoma. However, recreational marijuana is still illegal as of December 2022. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) is designated to oversee the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Program. OMMA is in charge of licensing, regulating, and administering the Medical Marijuana Program. It is a unit of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, working to ensure responsible health practices. The state passed a referendum to legalize the medical uses of marijuana in 2018. This referendum is called State Question 788, which included Sections 420 to 426 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes. The new laws in these sections state how medical marijuana is to be regulated in Oklahoma. The laws allow patients having medical marijuana cards to purchase, use or possess marijuana and marijuana products within regulated quantities. Regulated quantities permissible for patients having Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Card are as follows:
Three (3) ounces of marijuana, which could be carried around with them
Six (6) mature marijuana plants
Six (6) immature seedlings
One (1) ounce of concentrated marijuana
Seventy-two (72) ounces of edible marijuana
Eight (8) ounces of marijuana in their residence
A person who does not possess a medical marijuana card but can prove that they have a medical condition that warrants the use of marijuana can also possess marijuana. However, possessing up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana without a medical marijuana card is an offense. Only licensed marijuana retailers are allowed to retail marijuana and marijuana products in Oklahoma, and they can only sell to medical marijuana license holders. A person must be 25 years of age or older before being granted a license to set up a medical marijuana dispensary. Applicants for commercial marijuana grower and medical marijuana processing licenses must be at least 25 years old. A holder of a medical marijuana dispensary license, commercial marijuana growers license, or a medical marijuana processing license will be given a marijuana transportation license. This license allows them to transport marijuana or marijuana products to other licensed marijuana growing, processing, or retailing facilities. All marijuana or marijuana products must be kept in a locked container and labeled "Medical Marijuana or Derivative" before they are transported.
A felon may apply for a medical marijuana card in Oklahoma if they meet up with the requirements. Anyone who wishes to purchase marijuana from a dispensary must go with a valid medical marijuana card. Licensed medical marijuana dispensaries do not accept photocopies and screenshots; they only accept physical copies of valid medical marijuana cards.
Some petitions to legalize adult-use marijuana were submitted, but none of them was approved. Among these petitions is State Question 807, filed in December 2019. It was an initiative that sought to legalize and regulate marijuana for persons above age 21. The petition also sought to impose a 15% excise tax on marijuana sales. State Question 808 was also filed to legalize recreational marijuana in December 2019. However, it did not get the required number of signatures to place it on the ballot as an initiated constitutional amendment in the November 3, 2020 election. Until Oklahoma approves any of the initiatives seeking to legalize recreational marijuana, adult-use marijuana remains illegal in the state.
Voters in Oklahoma legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes on June 26, 2018, but the sale of medical marijuana began about three months later. Patients, caregivers, and medical marijuana businesses were allowed to start applying for licenses within the period. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority reported that medical marijuana generated over $16.678 million from Individual Use Medical Marijuana License revenue in 2020 alone. Revenue generated from Medical Marijuana Commercial License was over $24.713 million. The total revenue from Individual Use Medical Marijuana Licenses and Commercial Licenses for medical marijuana was over $41.391 million.
The number of license applications received by the OMMA as of November 2022 was 391,210, out of which:
378,104 were patients applications
1,669 were caregiver applications
11,437 were business applications
The medical marijuana business application received during the period consists of the following:
2,525 medical marijuana dispensaries
1,571 medical marijuana processors' application
7,167 commercial grower's applications
135 medical marijuana transportation requests
26 laboratories applications
9 medical marijuana waste disposal applications
3 marijuana education applications
1 researcher request
With the continuous increase in the number of licensed medical marijuana patients in Oklahoma, excise and state sales tax revenue is also expected to increase. As outlined in Section 7 of the State Question 788, Oklahoma collects as excise tax, 7% of the gross amount received by dispensaries on the retail sales of medical marijuana. The excise tax is collected along with 4.5% state sales tax.
The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) publishes data for the licensing fees, excise tax, and sales tax accruing to the state over a period. In 2021, the report shows that the state received $66 million as excise tax revenue from medical marijuana sales, while the state sales tax on medical marijuana was $83 million. From January to September 2022, revenue received from excise tax in Oklahoma was $37, while state sales tax amounted to $48 million. From March 2022, the OMMA reported that revenue from medical marijuana patients licensing fees was $ 26 million, while medical marijuana commercial licensing fees garnered over $45 million. By February 2022, Oklahoma had collected over $108 million in excise tax for medical marijuana sales. The Tax Foundation estimates that Oklahoma could generate $27 million within the first year of legalizing recreational marijuana. It estimates that the potential revenue from excise could surpass $67 million within three years of establishing an adult marijuana program.
With Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry booming, there were over 16,0000 cannabis jobs in Oklahoma before 2020. The state added over 6,000 jobs in 2020, putting it as the ninth largest employer in the cannabis industry.
What is the Marijuana Crime Rate in Oklahoma?
The possession and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes are illegal in Oklahoma. However, medical marijuana became legal in June 2018. The sales of medical marijuana commenced in September 2018. Prior to this period, the Oklahoma Drug Threat Assessment of the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) stated that marijuana is readily available in Oklahoma and is commonly abused. Some of this marijuana is cultivated locally, while a larger percentage is trafficked from Mexico. According to the assessment report, the prevalence of marijuana abuse is high among Oklahoma residents above 18 years old. About 57% of adult male arrestees in Oklahoma were found under the influence of marijuana in 2000. Also, more than 40% of the adult population owned up to using marijuana at least once in their lifetime.
On February 11, 2021, the Oklahoma Policy Institute published that the 2018 legislature has contributed to a 23% drop in the prison population. This was in comparison with a prison population peak observed in 2016. Another bill was passed in 2018, the Senate Bill 793, "Uniform Controlled Substances; modifying penalties; sentencing reform." The bill also addressed the rate at which people are convicted for drug crimes. The implementation of State Question 788 and Senate Bill 793 has reduced the rate at which people are being incarcerated for marijuana crimes.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report for marijuana shows that the number of marijuana possession offenses in 2015 was 7,960, while the number of marijuana sales offenses for the same year was 1,110 cases. In 2016, marijuana possession offenses were 9,627, while marijuana sales offenses were 1,305. In 2017, marijuana possession offenses were 9,027, while marijuana sales offenses were 1,125. Marijuana possession offenses started to decline in 2018 when State Question 788 came into law. That year, marijuana possession offenses decreased to 7,806, while marijuana sales offenses remained on the rise.
In 2018, the FBI Crime Data Explorer records that arrests for marijuana-related offenses were 8,934, including 7,753 marijuana possession arrests and 1,181 marijuana sales arrests. By 2019, there were 5,691 arrests for marijuana possession and 808 arrests for the sale of marijuana. By 2020, the reports that arrests for marijuana possession stood at 3,770, while arrests for marijuana sales and manufacturing were 631. For 2021, there were 3,917 marijuana-related arrests, including 3,292 for marijuana possession and 655 for the illegal sale of marijuana. Over the period, the marijuana-related arrest has been on a steady decline. Between 2018 and 2021, there was a 39% decrease in arrests made for the possession and sale of marijuana.
It is also observed that the number of DUI crimes reduced between 2018 and 2019 after State Question 788 and Senate Bill 793 were passed. The number of DUI crimes in 2018 was 9,026, and in 2019, it was 9,123. In 2020, DUI arrests for Oklahoma stood at 8,549, and by 2021 it was 8,526. These figures reflect a significant decline in DUI crimes compared with 2017, when 12,700 DUI crimes were recorded.
The number of marijuana sale offenses in Oklahoma may reduce in the future if the state legalizes recreational marijuana. The legal sales of marijuana by licensed recreational marijuana dispensaries may provide legitimate access to recreational marijuana and reduce the profit margins and other motivations for unlicensed sellers.
A medical marijuana card in Oklahoma is an identification card issued by the state, certifying that a patient is authorized to possess, purchase or cultivate marijuana for medical purposes. A typical medical marijuana card in Oklahoma will contain:
The name of the patient
The patient's identity card number
The date of birth of the patient
The passport photo of the patient
The date of issuance of the medical marijuana card
The expiry date of the medical marijuana card
According to State Question 788, there are no specific qualifying conditions that automatically authorize patients to obtain medical marijuana cards in Oklahoma. However, if a physician evaluates a patient and feels that they could benefit from medical marijuana, the physician may issue them a written certification that will be used to apply for an MMJ card. Health conditions that may warrant treatment with marijuana include:
Anorexia and bulimia
Cachexia and wasting syndrome
Epilepsy and other seizure disorders
Neuropathic pain disorders
Crohn's disease etc
Applications for medical marijuana cards are made through the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA). Documents required to be submitted when applying for an MMJ card include:
The physician's recommendation
Proof of Residency in Oklahoma
A full-face, clear, colored passport
$100 application fee (patients on Medicaid, Medicare, or disabled veteran are charged a reduced fee of $20)
The Oklahoma Board of Certified Physicians must sign the application for a medical marijuana card. Applicants can reach the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority through their online application portal. Patients who have difficulty in applying for an MMJ card can apply through a designated caregiver. All applicants for MMJ cards must be 18 years of age or older. A minor who has an approved medical condition or a person with a disability is required to have a caregiver. The applicant will be notified within 14 days, after which they will know whether the application was successful. Successful applicants will receive emails containing their cards and all necessary paperwork. MMJ cards in Oklahoma can be renewed after a validity period of two years.
Patients with Medical Marijuana Cards are allowed to possess regulated quantities of marijuana and to cultivate:
Up to six (6) mature marijuana plants
Up to six (6) immature seedlings
A sudden campaign against marijuana began after the Mexican Revolution of 1910. The campaign against marijuana in the U.S. was linked with prejudice against the Mexican migrants who largely consumed recreational marijuana. The anti-drug campaigners across the country linked the campaign with massive unemployment during the period of the Great Depression. The campaign became popular, and by 1931, 29 states of the U.S. had banned marijuana. Oklahoma banned marijuana in 1933, and from then, users, sellers, and growers of marijuana were prosecuted.
In April 2015, Governor Mary Fallin signed HB 2154, a bill sponsored by Echols and Crain. The bill permitted the sales of Cannabidiol (CBD) oil with less than 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the state. Later that year, a movement identified as Green the Vote began a new petition drive to place the legalization of medical marijuana on the ballot in 2016. Green the Vote gathered the required signature to put the petition (State Question 788) on the ballot. However, there was an allegation that the verbiage of the initiative had been changed in a misleading way by Attorney General Scott Pruitt. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ordered that the original language be restored after Oklahoma for Health sued over the ballot rewrite. The legal dispute warranted a delay in the vote for the initiative till 2018. On January 4, 2018, the Governor fixed a ballot date for June 26, 2018, as a referendum. There was a 57% vote in support of the petition, making Oklahoma the 30th state in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana. The registration of medical marijuana patients and marijuana businesses began in August 2018. The marijuana license regulatory body, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA), was created under the state Board of Health, and its first director was appointed in October 2018.
There have been other petitions by the Green the Vote on medical marijuana, like State Question 796 and State Question 797. These petitions did not meet the required number of signatures to put them on the ballot in August 2018. Also, State Question 807 and State Question 808 were filed in December 2019. They sought to add new articles to the constitution to legalize recreational marijuana but they are yet to be placed on the ballot.
Senate Bill 793, co-authored by Cleveland, Sharp, Jech, and Pittman, was signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin in September 2018 and became effective on October 26th, 2018. The bill reduces the penalty for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, including marijuana. It puts the maximum sentence at seven years, removing the life sentence.
House Bill 2612, initiated by Jon Echols and Greg McCortney, came into law in 2019. The bill establishes the medical marijuana regulations in Oklahoma by creating the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) as a division under the state’s Department of Health. It also establishes the Oklahoma medical marijuana and patient protection act and extends the patient's registration validity to two years. The bill allows veterans to participate in the state's medical marijuana program.
House Bill 2646 came into law in 2021. The bill, sponsored by Jon Echols, Dean Davis, Zack Taylor, and Cody Rogers, details the duties of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority and introduces a 60-day license for medical marijuana patients unable to get the two-year physician's recommendation.
Governor Kevin Stitt has declared a special election for March 2023, where Oklahoman voters will decide on Question Number 820, Initiative Petition 434. The measure, if voted for, would create the state's recreational marijuana program. It would permit persons 21 and older to legally purchase or possess one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six cannabis plants. It also specifies a 15% excise tax for adult use of marijuana collectible by the Oklahoma Tax Commission. The measure prohibits certain marijuana-related activities and ascribes penalties for violation.
Cultivation of marijuana in the United States, the early 17th century.