Oklahoma’s medical marijuana landscape has undergone significant developments over the years, providing patients with improved access to cannabis-based treatments.
The progressive journey began in 2015 when Governor Fallin signed HB 2154, known as Katie and Cayman’s Law, allowing physicians to recommend high-CBD cannabis oil with low THC content to minors suffering from severe epilepsy disorders like Dravet Syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut.
In 2016, the state expanded legal protections for patients of all ages and added qualifying conditions such as intractable nausea and vomiting, spasticity due to Multiple Sclerosis or paraplegia, and appetite stimulation for chronic wasting diseases through HB 2835.
March 2017 marked a significant milestone with the resolution of a lawsuit, leading to the inclusion of Question 788 – the Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative – on the June 2018 ballot. Oklahoma voters showed their support by approving the initiative with a 57 percent majority.
Under Question 788, registered patients in Oklahoma can possess up to 3 ounces of medical cannabis flower and 1 ounce of concentrated medical cannabis. Additionally, they are allowed to cultivate up to 6 mature plants along with 6 vegetative plants. This flexibility in possession and cultivation limits offers patients more autonomy in managing their medical conditions.
In 2018, regulations governing the operation of the medical marijuana program were approved, removing the ban on smoking cannabis as a treatment method and eliminating the requirement for all dispensaries to have a pharmacist on staff. Patient eligibility conditions were also revised, providing broader access to medical cannabis.
Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry experienced rapid growth in 2019, as the state did not impose licensing caps on medical retail facilities. By the fourth quarter of 2019, nearly 7,000 licenses had been issued to cannabis businesses, and over 200,000 patients had registered in the program.
To further enhance the medical access program, several reforms were implemented in 2019. These included reduced application fees for low-income patients, an expansion of licensed physicians who can recommend medical cannabis, and the establishment of guidelines for inventory testing, tracking, advertising, packaging, and labeling.
The state also established a Medical Marijuana Authority within the Department of Health, introduced 2-year patient registrations, allowed veterans to participate in the program, and created a medical cannabis research licensing category through HB 2612.
As of January 2022, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) had issued over 400,000 medical marijuana licenses, indicating that nearly 10% of the state’s population held a license. This high level of participation demonstrates the widespread acceptance and demand for medical marijuana as an alternative form of treatment in Oklahoma.