On Monday morning, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority released the total number of license applications they have received since first becoming available in August. As of December 9 there have been 2,525 business applications submitted and 2,275 applications approved. This amounts to over $6.3 million in business application fees alone that have gone to the state.
Locally, the City of Ardmore has brought in $15,500 from business licenses according to Ardmore’s Community Development Director Jessica Scott.
Todd Larkin of Pure Wellness owns one of the businesses, and he said business has been booming.
“We’ve seen a large number of patients come in,” Larkin said, adding that some are not even from the Ardmore area. “We’ve seen people coming in from all across the state because they don’t have a dispensary close by, so it’s been great.”
Currently he said his prices are between $12 to $15 a gram, but he said he expects that price to drop as additional growers enter the market.
“That’s the biggest thing to me, just the cost to the patients,” Larkin said.”It’s hard for people to go in and spend $300 an ounce which is usually a month’s worth of medicine.” Larkin said medical marijuana is currently taxed at 16 percent in the city of Ardmore — the typical nine percent sales tax with an additional seven percent medical marijuana tax going to the state.
Because the industry is so new, there is no tax data available currently, however, Larkin said he expects this will amount to millions by the end of the first year.
In addition to the tax revenue being generated, all of the marijuana sold in Oklahoma is grown in Oklahoma due to federal statutes that prohibit transporting marijuana across state lines.
“We’re seeing this money just rotate around Oklahoma right now,” Larkin said. “It’s not going anywhere else. We’re not buying from Colorado. We’re buying from people in the state.”
Larkin said new growers are beginning to sprout closer to home.
“We’re finally starting to get some growers here in the southern part of the state — Wilson, Lone Grove, Comanche, and we should have some from over in Bryan County opening soon,” Larkin said. “The thing that’s been coolest to me is just being able to buy from local growers.”
Larkin has hired three additional employees since opening up the medical marijuana dispensary in addition to the CBD store he operated previously.
“It’s hard to keep up with two stores really,” Larkin said. “We want to make sure we’re educating patients and following all of the laws, so it’s just about 15 jobs in one.”