Oklahoma medical cannabis growers may be producing 64 times more cannabis than needed for the state’s patient population, according to a Cannabis Public Policy Consulting study commissioned by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA). The study used data from the state’s newly implemented seed-to-sale tracking system and surveys of more than 1,300 cannabis patients.
According to the report, “the supply-to-demand ratio of [Oklahoma’s] regulated medical marijuana supply to regulated medical cannabis demand is 64:1.” Given the general assumption that a market’s units of supply should not exceed double its demand, “the medical marijuana program has no less than 32 times more regulated marijuana necessary” — and the oversupply is “very likely adding to an illicit market both at the point of cultivation and the point of retail sale,” the report said.
Oklahoma has among the loosest medical cannabis program in the U.S. and over the last year, lawmakers have passed several bills seeking to reign it in, including requiring $50,000 bonds for cannabis cultivators, imposing a moratorium on new cultivation licenses, and giving OMMA the authority to shut down cannabis farms that damage the environment.
“The volume of oversupply within the regulated system coupled with low barriers to market entry suggest unlicensed/illicit cannabis cultivation operations are unlikely to be observed across the state, and that this illicit market may, in fact, be hiding in plain sight.” — Cannabis Public Policy, “An Empirical Assessment of Oklahoma’s Medical Marijuana Market,” June 2023
The study suggests that 38% of cannabis obtained in Oklahoma comes from the regulated market – either dispensaries or home grows – while 44% is obtained through the unregulated market and 18% is obtained from out-of-state adult-use dispensaries.
The report suggests that Oklahoma continue to extend the moratorium on cannabis cultivation licenses through 2026 and authorize OMMA to seize and destroy cannabis products that are not logged in the seed-to-sale systems, among other steps to address the state’s oversupply issues.
Editor’s note: This article was updated to clarify that Oklahoma’s estimated medical cannabis oversupply is 64 times more than the state’s current demand, not 64 times more than what is needed in terms of patient access.
Get daily cannabis business news updates. Subscribe