Politics

Inside the Rise — and Surprising Crackdown — of the Country’s Hottest Weed Market

‘I’ve seen the darkish aspect of it’

Some individuals assume unlawful weed has been half of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana market from the second the first dispensaries opened for enterprise in November 2018. There was no manner, they are saying, that licensed cultivators may have produced crops in time for the begin of gross sales, but by some means retailers’ cabinets had been full.

“It was clearly a problem from day one,” mentioned Invoice Moore, who has labored as a pharmacist for practically twenty years, with outlets in Ardmore and Marietta.

Moore was initially cautious of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program, since he’d seen shut up the ravages that medicine have precipitated his purchasers.

“I’ve seen the darkish aspect of it, I assume you’d say, doing what I do,” Moore lamented on a current weekday afternoon. “Seeing individuals are available and cry for his or her Norco or their Xanax or their Oxycodone.”

However Moore shortly got here to understand the potential therapeutic advantages of medical marijuana, whether or not in serving to individuals scale back their dependence on opioids or in treating illnesses like insomnia or nervousness. He opened the NatureMeds dispensary in Ardmore shortly after medical gross sales started in 2018, and then added a second store in close by Ada in 2020.

However competitors is brutal in the dispensary enterprise in Oklahoma. As of Nov. 10, there have been 47 licensed medical marijuana outlets in Ardmore, a city of about 25,000 residents. In Ada, with a inhabitants of roughly 17,000, there have been 18 licensed dispensaries. Statewide, there’s practically one licensed dispensary for each 150 sufferers enrolled in the program.

“Margins are too slim to make any actual cash,” lamented Moore, a baby-faced 48-year-old carrying a inexperienced polo shirt and seated at convention desk inside the NatureMeds dispensary in Ardmore. “We get excited each time one shuts down, however you drive round the nook and one other one’s opened up.”

Certainly, the indicators of Oklahoma’s booming medical marijuana market could be seen throughout this area of the state. Hoop homes dot rural roads. Pot outlets are positioned in seemingly each strip mall. Weed billboards providing pre-roll specials adorn the highways.

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