Oklahoma medical marijuana supply far exceeds demand, report says

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Supply in Oklahoma’s medical marijuana market is at least 32 times higher than patient demand, helping fuel underground sales nationwide, according to a new study.

The 24-page report from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) quantifies and confirms what industry insiders have suspected for years: The state is inundated with an exponential oversupply of regulated marijuana.

Many of the systemic challenges in the state have been self-inflicted.

Production was largely unchecked for years as Oklahoma’s MMJ market surged amid limited regulatory restrictions and enforcement, creating a proliferation of unlicensed operators in the process.

The report, conducted by Cannabis Public Policy Consulting, queried more than 1,300 cannabis consumers from 68 of 77 counties in the state.

Among the major findings:

  • Supply and demand strongly suggest potential out-of-state diversion of marijuana products.
  • Licensed operators are very likely supporting an illicit market at the point of cultivation and retail sales.
  • The volume of oversupply within the regulated system, coupled with low barriers to entry, suggest unlicensed/illicit cannabis cultivation operations are unlikely to be observed across the state and might be operating in plain sight.

Regulators and lawmakers have taken steps to try to manage oversupply and an estimated 2,000 MMJ licensees who obtained permits fraudulently or are using their licenses to mask illegal sales.

In May, Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law that extending the moratorium on issuing any new medical cannabis business licenses to Aug. 1, 2026.

The two-year moratorium was scheduled to end Aug. 1, 2024.

Law enforcement has also closed down hundreds of illegal grow operations across the state.

Oklahoma is home to 6,563 registered growers, according to the latest OMMA statistics.

That’s a decline of more than 500 from January.

There were roughly 356,000 registered medical patients at the end of May.

The OMMA has proposed several initiatives to rein in oversupply and unlicensed operators, including:

  • Large-scale investigations and enforcement granted through recent legislation and expanded authority of Attorney General Gentner Drummond and Oklahoma’s Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
  • Utilizing technology and more human resources to focus on noncompliance and illicit activities.
  • Boosting regional presence.
  • Implementing new legislative, regulatory and production management policies.

“We will address the oversupply of marijuana, safeguard the integrity of our medical market, and ensure the safety of our patients,” OMMA Executive Director Adria Berry noted in a letter to stakeholders included in a 12-page strategic response.