Is Cannabis Legal in Oklahoma?
The Sooner State was the 30th in the country to legalize medical cannabis, with the market opening literally the day after voters approved State Question 788 in 2018.
It is a truly booming market: With 7,000 growers, nearly 3,000 dispensaries and, by some estimates, 10% of the total Oklahoma population licensed as medical marijuana patients, the state raked in $125.4 million in tax revenue from its medical program in the 2022 calendar year alone.
Adult-use cannabis is still illegal in Oklahoma, but that could change as soon as March 2023. After technicalities prevented State Question 820, which would have opened up the adult-use market, from appearing on the 2022 ballot, the state’s Supreme Court ordered that the initiative receive a vote in the next election.
Two-term Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who was reelected in 2022, officially proclaimed a special election will take place on March 7, 2023.
SQ820, if passed, will allow adults 21 years of age and older to purchase (and possess) as much as 1 ounce of cannabis. Personal users would be allowed to grow as many as six seedlings, as well as six mature plants Current Oklahoma medical patients are legally permitted to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis on their person and grow six each of mature plants and seedlings.
Is it Legal to Market Cannabis in Oklahoma?
As much as we’d love to give you a hard “yes” on this one, we have to fall back on the cannabis mantra of “it’s complicated.” Cannabis marketing rules in Oklahoma, though, are much easier to navigate than some other legal, regulated states.
Many of the rules surrounding advertising cannabis in Oklahoma are common sense, and most are centered around harm reduction for consumers, and especially children: Don’t distribute advertising in a way that breaks other Oklahoma laws; don’t be deceptive or misleading in statements or illustrations; don’t promote overconsumption; don’t depict children or others under 18 consuming cannabis; don’t show anything like toys or cartoons that would interest a kid or even indicate a child may be present; don’t do anything at all that seems “especially appealing” to minors.
These medical cannabis-specific rules will likely change slightly should voters approve adult-use cannabis this year—ironically, medical cannabis regulations like those in Oklahoma, California, Colorado and other states often give cannabis companies some leeway in their marketing options that aren’t afforded to adult-use brands.
All of the relevant regulations discussed above can be found here (Page 71).
How to Legally Market Cannabis Brands in Oklahoma
Oklahoma cannabis companies are free to apply marketing strategies to multimedia, including television, radio, webpages and print publications. Cannabis brands are also free to make use of their owned media and content marketing channels such as blogs, websites, white papers and newsletters or opt-in programs like text message lists.
Dispensary Marketing in Oklahoma
Thanks to cheap startup costs, Oklahoma is home to roughly 3,000 medical marijuana dispensaries, according to the state’s own data. Colorado, as a point of reference, has only 396 licensed medical cannabis shops.
And with adult-use likely to be ushered into the Sooner State in mere months, competition is about to get really real. Now is the time for Oklahoma cannabis brands to differentiate themselves from the competition. Like, today.
Licensed medical retail outlets that have been operating for a year or more will be the first businesses eligible to sell recreational marijuana, so hundreds of dispensaries will be battling it out for a new kind of customer. Right around the same time.
More retailers are turning to dispensary marketing to reach new customers and solidify their brand recognition. And in such a saturated market, that’s no piece of Birthday Cake Kush.
In the end, while dispensaries are limited in some of the marketing strategies other brick-and-mortar businesses might deploy, one thing that cannabis brands can take advantage of is event marketing throughout the year. No month is bigger for promotions, however, than April as dispensaries jockey for position ahead of 4/20, one of the biggest days of the year for cannabis marketing and retail.
Cannabis Brand Marketing in Oklahoma
How are Oklahoma cannabis brands distinguishing themselves? With more than 7,000 growers; nearly 3,000 retail shops; and nearly 2,000 other plant-touching businesses like processors, transporters, labs, disposals and educators, the Sooner State is a tough one in which to stand out.
With wholesale cannabis prices at rock bottom, price is one obvious way to draw in new customers, as is focusing on upgrading the notoriously iffy cannabis dispensary customer experience. The bottom line is that you want to build a powerful cannabis brand.
If you're a company attempting to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace, it might also be time to think outside the box: Team up with social-equity businesses, invest in creative marketing, leverage social evidence—that 5-star rating on Google could be worth more than you know.
And work with a team like Grasslands to get your message out. Going hyperlocal—taking pride in your home city or state and knowing your customer base—is one way to gain ground and loyalty. Ironically, perhaps, so is establishing a foothold through a quality reputation out of state. We can help you with that.
Smokiez Edibles, for example, leaned hard into its “Okie” reputation, and now you can find their infused edible products at most dispensaries in the state. But you’ll also find their fruit chews, syrups and tinctures in other regulated states like California, Colorado and Nevada.
Arcadia, meanwhile, did name itself after its hometown and HQ, but is also going for a strong national reputation when it comes to innovation and quality. Its solventless, full-spectrum gummies, candies and cookies has made the company a must-have SKU.
Top 10 Cannabis Brands in Oklahoma
From the Great Salt Plains State Park and Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge to the urban center of Oklahoma City, the art-deco hipster downtown of Tulsa and destinations like the Bob Dylan Center, there is no shortage of places to enjoy a cannabis experience in Oklahoma. Here are the top 10 cannabis brands in the state.