Oklahoma is a state that has embraced medical marijuana with open arms. Since the legalization of medical cannabis in 2018, the state has seen a rapid growth of dispensaries and patients. According to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, there are over 380,000 active patient licenses and more than 10,000 business licenses as of October 2023. But which city in Oklahoma has the highest weed purchase rate in the country?
Oklahoma City Leads the Nation in Cannabis Consumption
According to a report by Verilife, a national cannabis dispensary chain, Oklahoma City ranks first in the nation in terms of cannabis consumption per capita. The report, which analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Marijuana Policy Project, and other sources, estimated that the average adult in Oklahoma City consumes 155.9 grams of cannabis per year, which is equivalent to about 5.5 ounces. This is more than double the national average of 76.3 grams per year.
The report also found that Oklahoma City has the lowest cannabis prices among the top 10 cities with the highest consumption rates. The average price of an ounce of high-quality cannabis in Oklahoma City is $341.50, which is lower than the national average of $358.67. This means that Oklahoma City residents spend less money on cannabis than residents of other cities with high consumption rates, such as Denver, Portland, and Seattle.
Why is Oklahoma City So Fond of Weed?
There are several factors that may explain why Oklahoma City has such a high weed purchase rate. One of them is the accessibility and availability of medical marijuana in the state. Oklahoma has one of the most liberal medical marijuana programs in the country, with low barriers to entry and a wide range of qualifying conditions. Anyone who is 18 years or older and has a valid physician recommendation can apply for a medical marijuana card, which costs only $100 and is valid for two years. There are also no limits on the amount of cannabis that patients can possess or grow.
Another factor is the cultural and social acceptance of cannabis in Oklahoma. Despite being a traditionally conservative state, Oklahoma has shown a progressive attitude towards cannabis legalization and reform. In 2018, voters approved State Question 788, which legalized medical marijuana, with 56.8% of the vote. In 2020, a petition to legalize recreational marijuana, known as State Question 807, gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is still strong support for recreational legalization among Oklahomans, with 60% of them in favor of it, according to a poll conducted by SoonerPoll in 2020.
What are the Benefits and Challenges of Oklahoma City’s Cannabis Scene?
Oklahoma City’s high weed purchase rate has both positive and negative implications for the city and the state. On the one hand, the booming cannabis industry has generated significant revenue and economic opportunities for Oklahoma. According to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the state collected more than $127 million in medical marijuana taxes in fiscal year 2021, which ended on June 30.
This money goes to the state’s general fund, which supports various public services and programs, such as education, health care, and infrastructure. The cannabis industry has also created thousands of jobs and stimulated the local economy, especially in rural areas where dispensaries and cultivation facilities are located.
On the other hand, the high weed purchase rate also poses some challenges and risks for Oklahoma City and its residents. One of them is the potential for increased cannabis abuse and addiction, especially among young people and vulnerable populations.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cannabis use can have negative effects on the brain, especially when used during adolescence, such as impairing memory, learning, and attention. Cannabis use can also increase the risk of developing mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and psychosis, especially among people who have a genetic predisposition or a history of trauma. Therefore, it is important to educate the public about the potential harms of cannabis use and to provide adequate prevention and treatment services for those who need them.
Another challenge is the lack of regulation and standardization of the cannabis products sold in the state. Unlike other states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana, Oklahoma does not have a mandatory testing or labeling system for cannabis products. This means that consumers do not have reliable information about the potency, purity, or safety of the cannabis products they buy.
This can lead to accidental overdoses, adverse reactions, or exposure to contaminants, such as pesticides, mold, or heavy metals. Therefore, it is essential to implement a robust and consistent testing and labeling system for cannabis products in the state, to ensure the quality and safety of the products and to protect the health and well-being of the consumers.
Oklahoma City is a city that loves weed. It has the highest weed purchase rate in the country, thanks to its accessible and affordable medical marijuana program, its progressive and tolerant attitude towards cannabis legalization, and its vibrant and diverse cannabis culture. However, this also comes with some challenges and risks, such as the potential for increased cannabis abuse and addiction, and the lack of regulation and standardization of the cannabis products. Therefore, it is important to balance the benefits and drawbacks of Oklahoma City’s cannabis scene, and to promote responsible and informed cannabis use among its residents.