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Oklahoma’s Medical Marijuana Program Continues to Impress

Flickr @ David Trawin

We’ve devoted extensive coverage to Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program here at The Marijuana Times, and for good reason. Activists and officials managed a quick and relatively hassle-free rollout of the program statewide in a much shorter time-frame than any other state has been able to manage.

It’s been less than 14 months since voters approved State Question 788 on the Oklahoma ballot. At 14 months after the vote, most medical marijuana states wouldn’t have issued a single license yet. And as far as being able to purchase medical cannabis? That would still be many months away.

Yet Oklahoma has a thriving medical program that continues to grow and exceed expectations. With over 6,500 licenses approved and some 1,700 dispensaries in the state, the more than 162,000 qualified patients in Oklahoma are well-served.

But we continue to see stories like this one, where the author attempts to imply that there is some sort of problem with the program’s growth. It is the first in what they say will be a series of articles examining the “side effects” of medical cannabis growth in Oklahoma.

For instance, the author points out that the 6,500 licenses “nearly meets or exceeds the number of churches in this Bible-belt state” and that the 1,700 dispensaries is about half the number of “places you could walk into today and order a glass of beer.” Why these things matter other than being a way to show just how successful the program is, I’m not sure.

It’s hard to spin jobs, economic activity and people having access to the medicine of their choice as bad things. The bottom line is, whether there are 6,500 approved licenses or 26,500, it makes no difference. The market will decide how many of these businesses survive based on the demand for the products they produce.

If there are more pot shops in an area than Starbucks outlets, then that’s life. Be happy that more people can get jobs and medicine and recognize that for some, cannabis is more important than coffee.

Another favorite tactic of those who disapprove of things like marijuana dispensaries also pops up in the above-linked article, with the sentence “[d]ispensaries seem to be positioned on every corner.” No, they don’t. As a fan of cannabis, I would love to see a dispensary or retail shop “on every corner”, but that’s a ridiculous notion. Marijuana is popular, but no single product or substance is that popular.

The “on every corner” fear-mongering strawman is not something that would ever happen under any circumstances, but if those who oppose legalization can make you think they are the only thing standing in the way of that eventuality, you might take them more seriously.

They are that desperate.