Chip Baker’s farm in Wellston, Oklahoma. Top left: Plastic coverings are raised to allow air circulation and easier access to the plants. Top right: Alex Knight harvests cannabis plants. Middle image: Chip Baker identifies the cannabis plant that he believes is the best of the entire crop. Baker shares his cannabis cultivation knowledge on a podcast called The Real Dirt. Bottom left: Chris Hayes snips a tie connecting bamboo supports to a plant before harvesting it. Bottom right: The farm uses soil bags Baker designed to efficiently grow and harvest plants.
The approach stands in stark contrast to what’s happened in most of the 34 other states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana in recent years. Other states typically set strict caps on licenses—Louisiana allows just one medical dispensary in each of nine regions in the state—and charge far higher licensing fees. A pot farmer in Arkansas, for example, must pay $100,000 to obtain a license. The end result in many states has been years of expensive litigation and allegations of corruption as applicants wrangle over a limited number of potentially highly lucrative licenses.
How One of the Reddest States Became the Nation’s Hottest Weed Market
WELLSTON, Oklahoma—One day in the early fall of 2018, while scrutinizing the finances of his thriving Colorado garden supply business, Chip Baker noticed a curious development: transportation costs had spiked fivefold. The surge, he quickly determined, was due to huge shipments of cultivation supplies—potting soil, grow lights, dehumidifiers, fertilizer, water filters—to Oklahoma.
What is happening in Oklahoma is almost unprecedented among the 35 states that have legalized marijuana in some form since California voters backed medical marijuana in 1996. Not only has the growth of its market outstripped other more established state programs but it is happening in a state that has long stood out for its opposition to drug use. Oklahoma imprisons more people on a per-capita basis than just about any other state in the country, many of them non-violent drug offenders sentenced to lengthy terms behind bars. But that state-sanctioned punitive streak has been overwhelmed by two other strands of American culture—a live-and-let-live attitude about drug use and an equally powerful preference for laissez-faire capitalism.
But when Oklahoma moved forward with its medical marijuana legalization referendum in 2018, Henderson saw opportunity. He and three business partners—all of whom had ties to the state—began looking for cheap land even before the referendum passed.
For the most part, these changes will not have much effect on the legality of possession and usage for the average Oklahoman. There is some discussion in the House of legalizing recreational marijuana via a state-wide referendum, but the bill that would introduce that referendum, HB 1961, is still being discussed in committee.
Some of those found guilty of crimes related to marijuana charges will lose more than their weed. Oklahoma law allows for any property or vehicles to be seized if they were involved in the charges relating to marijuana. Furthermore, it is possible for those convicted of cannabis-related crimes to have their driver’s license suspended for upwards of three years.
2021 UPDATE of Oklahoma’s Marijuana Laws:
The state of Oklahoma has legalized the use of medical marijuana for those with certain medical conditions. However, there are plenty of questions as to how the medical marijuana program will be implemented. The sad truth is Oklahoma law enforcement has not taken action to simplify the legality surrounding marijuana. The confusion surrounding Oklahoma’s marijuana laws have spurred numerous meetings between state law enforcement and state lawmakers.
The consumption of marijuana is legal in the home but illegal in public places. It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, but Oklahoma residents with a medical marijuana license are allowed to drive with the marijuana in their car (closed and out of reach from the driver) if they do not cross state lines.
Oklahoma’s current marijuana laws are quite different from those in some blue states and our Canadian neighbors to the north. Location matters just as much as the other facts of the situation when determining whether using marijuana is legal. Unfortunately, Oklahomans face comparably harsh penalties for using marijuana in the Sooner State.
BLACKWELL, Okla. (KFOR) – A Blackwell, Okla., medical marijuana grow house was raided after operating with expired licenses.
The owner of the business is facing a long list of felony charges.
Suggest a Correction
A search warrant was issued Thursday on Main Street. That’s where drug agents seized over 100 marijuana plants worth more than $100,000.
“It was a skunk smell that I had no idea what it was,” said a Blackwell resident.
“Upon searching the business, a little bit, we found out that the licenses had expired,” said Blackwell Police Chief Dewayne Wood. “One in June, one in October.”