The state's attorney general strongly advocates for ongoing enforcement measures in the unregulated market.
Oklahoma has been cracking down on illegal cannabis grows since 2021, but the fight against Mexican drug cartels and Chinese crime syndicates continues, according to the state's attorney general.
In a recent column, Gentner Drummond highlighted his efforts to combat illicit activity and criminal organizations associated with Oklahoma's medical cannabis program. He stressed the importance of addressing this threat to public safety, particularly in rural areas.
When Oklahoma first implemented its medical cannabis program, it gained a reputation for being the "wild west of weed" due to its unlimited license structure and low entrance fees. State officials have been working to gain control over this "free-market program."
As of August 2023, over 6,300 licensed growers are catering to approximately 352,000 registered patients, meaning there is roughly one commercial cultivator for every 56 patients, according to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.
The fight against illegal cannabis grows and criminal organizations in Oklahoma is an ongoing battle that requires immediate action.
Oklahoma is surpassing California in the number of cannabis cultivation licenses, despite having a much smaller population. However, Oklahoma's total number of licenses has recently decreased due to various factors, including the overall state of the US cannabis industry and a moratorium on licensing.
An article by Drummond highlights the situation in Oklahoma's cannabis industry. It mentions that the state is producing more marijuana than is being sold legally, leading to enforcement actions by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control. These actions have resulted in the closure of numerous grow operations, the eradication of a significant amount of cannabis, and the arrest of individuals involved.
According to a market assessment commissioned by OMMA officials, Oklahoma's cannabis supply is exceeding demand by at least 32 times. The assessment also suggests that a large number of cannabis plants grown in the state are likely being diverted to out-of-state markets.
The article also discusses the issue of exploitation by Mexican drug cartels and Chinese crime syndicates, which has been facilitated by lax laws, unclear jurisdiction, and changing regulations. In response, Drummond has taken steps to provide legal and logistical support to enforcement partners, such as the OBN and OMMA.
The state has allocated funding for medical cannabis enforcement and created an Organized Crime Task Force within Drummond's office to target these criminal enterprises. The State Fire Marshal is also being enlisted to enforce building codes at cannabis grow facilities.
Drummond's message to drug cartels is clear: Leave now or face the consequences. The attorney general is committed to eliminating these criminal enterprises and will continue to take action.