Officials in Oklahoma on Tuesday said the number of cannabis cultivators in the state is now about 3,200, down from 9,400 in 2021, KSWO reports. The sharp decline comes amid a crackdown by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) and Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) on illegal businesses operating under the guise of the state’s medical cannabis program.
In August, OBN said it had shut down more than 800 unlawful cannabis farms over two years that had used the state’s permissive medical cannabis system to cultivate cannabis for the illicit market; but in Tuesday’s update, OBN said that figure had climbed to more than 1,000. Officials said that the enforcement actions have led to more than 200 arrests and the seizing of more than 700,000 pounds of cannabis.
According to an Oklahoman report, OMMA has completed nearly 7,000 inspections and 4,600 operational status visits since becoming an independent state agency on Nov. 1, 2022. The agency said it has seized nearly five tons of cannabis and embargoed around 3,000 pounds and 71,200 plants. State officials said that the illegal grows were conducted by transnational criminal groups from Mexico, China, and Russia.
OBN spokesman Mark Woodward said during a press conference on Tuesday that while the state was once considered “the Wild West and a safe haven” for illegal cannabis cultivation, “Word has gotten out…that Oklahoma now has some of the most efficient, effective regulatory enforcement practices in the country.”
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