2020-21 Improvements and Recommendations

The medical cannabis boom in Oklahoma continued even through the COVID pandemic. In the time since our last report, Oklahoma has added 305 new retail locations where patients can access their medicine. Though this only represents an under 15% increase in the total retail establishments, just the new locations added in 2020-2021 add up to more than the most states will even allow to operate.

In February, state legislators passed House Bills 2022 and 2023. HB 2022 expands access for visiting patients by opening the nonresidential temporary licenses to patients from all 50 states and extends the period before they expire from 30 days to two years. Nonresidents applying for these licenses will still have to pay a $100 fee. House Bill 2023 would allow cannabis businesses to transfer their license in the event that there is a change in ownership.

Oklahoma’s sizable patient population saw modest but continued growth in 2020-2021 adding just under 50,000 new patients for an almost 15% increase overall. Oklahoma continues to lead the nation in patient population as a proportion of overall population with almost 1 in every 10 adults in Oklahoma enrolled in the registry.

While Oklahoma has proven its capability to grow the program beyond the means of any other state, there are still gaps to be filled to ensure safe access for patients. First, Oklahoma scored only 42% of the points possible in our Consumer Protection and Product Safety category which means there is significant room for improvement in making products safer for patients. Oklahoma legislators should also ensure that patients are protected from losing their welfare access due to the positive results of a state required drug test to obtain the benefits. Patients should be protected against discriminatory field sobriety tests. Finally, allowing retailers to deliver to patients would also be a welcome improvement for access.