It’s estimated that Oklahoma marijuana farms are producing 64 times more product than there is (legal) demand for the goods within this state. (In fact, there’s one commercial grow operation here for every 56 people who have a medical marijuana card.)
Where is all that cannabis going? Well, some of it is undoubtedly being diverted to recreational use locally, but that’s only part of the picture. According to the spokesperson for the state Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, “We’ve been told that we are now the number-one supplier of black market marijuana in the country.” Oklahoma-grown cannabis products have been traced to nearly every state in the union.
Why is this happening?
Part of it stems from the fact that – even though attitudes about the use of marijuana have changed drastically – the drug still isn’t legal everywhere. Only 23 states allow the recreational use of the drug for adults. That means more than half the country can’t access the drug legally unless they meet their state’s requirements for a medical marijuana card, and some states are still incredibly restrictive. The underground market in those states for cannabis is huge.
Oklahoma weed can even find a market in states where marijuana is legalized, however. Many of those states have tight regulations for growers, costly license fees and high taxes. That drives the price of cannabis products up so high that people still find it cheaper to buy the drug illegally – and growers here are happy to provide an alternative.
Growers need to take note: Even if an operation is entirely above-board, it could be under intense scrutiny in the coming year or so. The Bureau of Narcotics has already shut down close to 1,000 operations – but another 3,000 may be under scrutiny. Many of these include operations that appear to be legitimate on paper. In the rush to put a stop to the problem, it’s entirely possible that innocent growers with honest businesses will be caught up in investigations and face charges.