LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Wednesday marks one year since voters passed State Question 788, which made medical marijuana legal in Oklahoma.
According to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, there are more than 40 licensed dispensaries, 35 growers and 15 processors licensed for business just in Lawton.
When this State Question passed, dispensaries popped up all across Lawton. One dispensary manager said they were worried things would slow down after the initial boom.
“Every month there are more and more patients being added, the sales have been going up since the beginning, buy yeah we were surprised at how quickly patients were being added,” said Ryan Allison.
The City of Lawton released a Financial Report, stating the city has collected more than 50,000 dollars in tax revenue, including 20,000 in April.
Allison said the biggest surprise was the amount of dispensaries opening up their doors.
“There’s definitely a lot more dispensaries here in Lawton than we expected originally, we thought it would be like 10," said Allison.
Another big piece of the industry are the doctors in the area providing the recommendations.
“Growth has just been steady. I’ve seen 1500 patients in the last year. They continue to come, it’s never a shortage. Unfortunately from a business standpoint, that means the markets diluted and there’s maybe one car in front of each one. Well you can’t keep your doors open," said Dr. Michael Kuglitsch, from Lawton Urology.
For the doctor’s offices, they said this process was all new to them as well.
“We were building the car as we are driving it down the highway. OMMA likes to change rules and regulations on us from time to time, so it’s an evolving process, but I’d like to think we have it down to a science,” said Starlette Price, the office manager at DOC.
Dr. Kuglitsch says the biggest change has been the type of cliental looking to get their cards.
“Initially it was a lot of retired military, who had pretty typical symptoms, PTSD, anxiety, depression. Now I’m seeing a lot more of the older patients seeking an alternative to narcotics for their pain,” said Dr. Kuglitsch.
Kuglitsch said when this began, he knew nothing about the industry, and he credits his patients for helping catch him up to speed over the last 12 months.
“Everything I know about marijuana I’ve learned from patients who are using it for various medical purposes now. I view this purely as a scientist, trying to find the right combination, for each patient, to deal with their medical problem," said Dr. Kuglitsch.
Allison said this past year has changed the way many Oklahomans view marijuana in general, and he and Dr. Kuglitsch both said they believe the state will soon be moving on from Medicinal, and pushing for Recreational use.