Oklahoma investors await marijuana industry regulations
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma residents looking to invest in the state’s upcoming medical marijuana industry are anxiously awaiting the passage of business regulations.
The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has received nearly 1,300 applications for business licenses as of Sept. 5. Those applications include 452 for dispensary, 662 for cultivation and 184 for processing, the Tulsa World reported .
Many would-be business owners and startup companies are trying to get an early foothold in the medical marijuana industry by investing in groundwork and business plans, despite no state standards set in stone yet. The medicinal use of cannabis was approved by Oklahoma voters in June.
“If you’re doing a really good job of starting an industry and a business, it’s almost guaranteed that you’re always going to be ahead of the regulations,” said Ford Austin, who already has a dispensary location lined up for APCO Cure, the medical marijuana company he and two others are starting. “It’s not comfortable, but it’s a reality.”
The authority is reviewing proposed medical marijuana business regulations, but nothing can be finalized without approval from the full Legislature, which isn’t currently in session.
“We are very patient; we know that this won’t happen overnight,” said Melissa Fahringer, one of Austin’s partners. “But we want to be pioneers; we want to be some of the first people to get in on this green rush in Oklahoma.”
Some cannabis advocates have pushed for a special legislative session so lawmakers can work on the issue sooner.
“We need these things to happen right now,” said Chance Gilbert, a representative of the Oklahoma Cannabis Trade Association. “Not after November, not next year, because at that point lawmakers are not held accountable for what they do by the voters.”
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com