Oklahoma medical marijuana licenses flood;  how does a dispensary cope

Oklahoma medical marijuana licenses flood; how does a dispensary cope

Has Tokelahoma reached its legal peak? It seems so.

Between an abundance of medical marijuana, increased enforcement of laws and regulations, and a moratorium on new state licenses, all numbers are down, causing prices to drop and operations to close.

“Now that we’re more than a year into the moratorium on new commercial licenses, we’re seeing many of our license numbers go down,” said Porsha Riley, public relations manager for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. “Other reasons for the decline in licenses can be attributed to our increased enforcement and compliance efforts, administrative actions, a more rigorous licensing process and surrender of licenses.

“Another factor is the business landscape; as shown in the supply and demand study we launched last year, it is changing and the market is saturated.”

Here’s how it started this year compared to the start of 2023 based on active licenses, according to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Administration.

  • General establishments: 8,522, down 27.4%.
  • Growers: 4,617, down 34.7%.
  • Dispensaries: 2,388, down 13.4%.
  • Processors: 1,341 people, down 21.2%.
  • Transportation: 115, decreased by 16.7%.

Closed dispensaries tell the tale of Oklahoma’s once-thriving medical cannabis business; How do survivors survive?

The excitement is best seen in the closing dispensaries, almost always in the retail arm of the business, where all the patients are personally engaged. They are located all over Oklahoma City and the surrounding area.

The collapse continues. “A STORM IS COMING. NOT EVERYONE WILL SURVIVE,” Oklahomas for Responsible Cannabis Action, a lobbying organization, proclaims at the top of its website.

At least four indoor dispensaries include Cannabis in Edmond, for example.

Likewise, how did owner Corbin Wyatt stay afloat with four dispensaries? In addition to the dispensary at 412 S Broadway Ave. in Edmond, Likewise OKC has locations at 6809 N May Ave. and 1609 N Blackwelder Ave., and 115 S Main St. in Stillwater.

Money is no object, says the owner of Same Cannabis in Oklahoma

Closed dispensaries are sending patients to dispensaries that are still open, but the number of medical marijuana patients also fell 11% from early 2023 to 332,223 licenses.

Several OKC-area dispensaries declined or declined requests for comment.

Likewise, Wyatt, 29, who opened in 2018, was happy to talk about the business end of medical marijuana. He follows the statistics, of course, but says that he does not give undue attention, as he sees it, to financial gain.

“I think the main thing is that we don’t focus on profit. “I think a lot of people focus on making money, and money is a byproduct of providing good service and being a good place to go. So that’s what we focus on first.

“We focus on having the right products at the right price, treating people well and being there for them. And then by doing that, it encourages people to keep shopping with us, which ultimately translates into revenue.”

Oklahoma dispensary owner says he’s riding the boom but avoiding the bust

Wyatt said he avoided the bust because he didn’t bring his business to this one.

“A lot of people saw it as a get-rich-quick scheme. I think that’s the wrong mentality when you look at a business like this,” he said. good service to your community. How can I do it as well as you can?”

Wyatt said he has similarly grown Cannabis to 50 to 60 employees across all locations, growing payroll to more than $1 million a year and annual gross sales between $3 million and $5 million, but profit margins are “being squeezed by a lot of operators.” they lowered their prices.”

Until last fall, he said he was paying himself $24,000 a year.

The biggest problem for dispensaries, aside from an oversupply of marijuana? State regulation, Wyatt said, will increase this year.

As trade publication MJBizDaily put it, despite industry criticism last year, “Oklahoma won’t back down” when it comes to increased enforcement and compliance.

Oklahoma lawmakers will consider new restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries and other cannabis businesses

State lawmakers have introduced numerous bills for consideration in the second regular session of the 2023-24 Legislature, which convenes on February 5. Here are a few:

Oklahoma dispensary owner, uncertainty in state Legislature threatens medical cannabis

Wyatt said enough is enough from lawmakers and regulators — not legislation and regulation, but chaos, confusion and a lack of communication with the medical marijuana industry.

“Some of the biggest problems are just the shaky direction of our legislators,” he said, “instead of waiting for us to come to them” to address the industry.

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Administration holds public hearings and accepts public comments as part of the rulemaking process. Wyatt said that hearing is not necessarily listening.

“My biggest obstacle — and most people in this industry — is just that anything can happen at any moment,” he said. “We may have new fines, new fees, new requirements.

“I mean one of the new requirements is that every worker in this industry — no matter how much you work in this industry, you can even be a lawyer — now has to get a cannabis credential. It costs money, it costs time.”

Wyatt said the still-young industry is too unorganized and fragmented to speak with a collective voice “encompassing what this industry is and what we need to push for together,” such as the wheat industry or other commodity and trade groups. But he said that he is not ready for that.

Livelihoods are at stake, he said.

“I never want a business to close. I understand that it affects families. It affects people who put their life savings into things. So I never want a business to close,” he said.

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Senior Business Writer Richard Mize has covered housing, construction, commercial real estate and related topics for the newspaper and Oklahoman.com since 1999. Contact him at [email protected]. Sign up for his weekly newsletter, Real Estate with Richard Mize. You can support the work of Richard and his colleagues by purchasing a digital subscription to The Oklahoman. Right now, you can get 6 months of subscriber-only access for $1.

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