But the couple bid goodbye to the weed-friendly West and moved somewhere that might seem like the last place they would end up: Oklahoma.
They’re part of a green rush into the Bible Belt that no one anticipated when Oklahoma voters approved medical marijuana less than two years ago. Since then, a combination of factors — including a remarkably open-ended law and a red state’s aversion to government regulation — has created such ideal conditions for the cannabis industry that entrepreneurs are pouring in from states where legal weed has been established for years.
Though 11 states have fully legalized marijuana for recreational use, Oklahoma’s medical law is the closest thing to it: Anyone with any ailment, real or imagined, who can get a doctor’s approval can get a license to buy. It’s not hard to do. Already, nearly 6 percent of the state’s 4 million residents have obtained prescription cards. And people who want to sell pot can do it as easily as opening a taco stand.
“Oklahoma is really allowing for normal people to get into the cannabis industry, as opposed to other places where you need $20 million upfront,” said Jessica Baker.
The Bakers have a marijuana farm about 40 miles from Oklahoma City, along with a dispensary, a nursery, and a gardening shop in a working-class part of town where virtually every vacant shop and building has been snapped up by weed entrepreneurs in the last year.
Unlike other states, Oklahoma did not limit the number of business licenses for dispensaries, growers, or processors.
In less than two years, Oklahoma has gained more than 2,300 pot stores, or the second most per capita in the United States behind only Oregon, which has had recreational marijuana sales for five