Medical marijuana is booming with usage rates in states like Oklahoma having one in 13 adults using the drug.
Only 18 months after the medical marijuana program was enacted in Oklahoma, the state has seen a huge boost in medical marijuana patients and dispensaries.
Meanwhile nationwide, over 30 states have legal medical marijuana programs, creating a booming billion-dollar industry that shows no signs of slowing down.
The popularity is due in part to the ease of getting a medical marijuana card, as there are no pre-existing conditions needed to qualify for the program and the sheer number of dispensaries available to choose from.
There are more than 2,200 licensed dispensaries across the Sooner State, which makes Oklahoma lead the nation in per-capita dispensaries in medical marijuana states, with 56 per 100,000 residents, according to Oklahoma Watch.
Meanwhile, retail sales topped $345 million overall in 2019, with the state tax revenue at $55 million, according to the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
When the program was first enacted in 2018, estimates put that around 80,000 people would sign up for the program, however, with more than 220,000 patient licenses approved so far, Oklahoma is near the top in the nation with the number of participants in the program.
The large number of participants in the program may be partially from the bill that was passed itself, which does not require any pre-existing conditions to qualify for a medical marijuana card.
The ease of getting the card has created a huge market in the state, with some towns having multiple dispensaries on the same block.
Medical marijuana has been in Oklahoma since it was passed by 57 percent to 43 percent in 2018, making it the 30th state in America to legalize a medical marijuana program. The vote passing was different from others so far as the popular vote initiative was done during a primary election rather than a general or presidential election, which usually provides a better opportunity for passing.
With the passing of the medical marijuana program, the state allowed patients to have up to three ounces of marijuana, six mature marijuana plants, six seedling plants, one ounce of concentrated marijuana, 72 ounces of edible marijuana, and eight ounces of marijuana in their residence.
Medical marijuana continues to rise
In 2019, the total sales of cannabis rose to nearly $13 billion dollars and is expected to reach 14.5 in 2020. Out of that total, $6 billion dollars is from the medical marijuana industry alone.
There are over 2 million medical marijuana patients in the 33 states that have some sort of medical program. California has the most with almost a million patients while Michigan has the second most with around 300,000 patients.
Medical cannabis was first legalized in 1996 in California and has since spread to the majority of states by 2016.
Currently, South Dakota and Mississippi have scheduled votes for medical marijuana coming later this year, with South Dakota and possibly over ten other states getting the chance to vote for full recreational legalization.